• The Grievance Redress Service (GRS) is a critical part of the World Bank’s overall accountability framework, helping address environmental and social issues in Bank-financed projects and building trust with affected communities.
• Through dialogue, the GRS facilitates the management and resolution of cases, supporting World Bank teams and client countries in reaching sustainable solutions to complex problems facing project-affected peoples in a timely and effective manner.
• The GRS plays a key role in identifying trends and systemic issues across sectors and regions, fostering institutional learning, and serves as a tool for early identification of potential issues that may arise at the project-level.
The Grievance Redress Service (GRS), a vital part of the World Bank’s accountability framework, provides a direct platform for individuals and communities to submit complaints if they believe that a Bank-financed project has or is likely to have adverse effects on them, their community, or their environment. Amid multiple, overlapping global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity, conflict, and climate change, the GRS is stepping up its efforts to ensure proactive and prompt responses to complaints and maximize the development impact of World Bank-supported operations in client countries.
The newly published Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report of the GRS presents a comprehensive overview of its work and results delivered from July 2021 to June 2022. The report includes major statistics, key themes and emerging trends, select country cases, and communication and outreach activities. It also offers insight into the effectiveness of the GRS as an accountability mechanism with the ability to identify early, assess, and resolve environmental and social issues in World Bank-supported projects.
The GRS has seen a steady increase in the number of complaints filed since its inception, reflecting the growing awareness of the service among project stakeholders and World Bank staff. In fiscal year 2022, it received 383 complaints across more than 70 countries, marking an uptick of 28.1% compared with fiscal year 2021 (299 complaints). This trend is expected to continue as more individuals and organizations become aware of the GRS’ mandate and the range of solutions it provides. “Since its inception in 2015, the GRS has been strengthening the Bank’s commitment to accountability and enhancing our credibility as a trusted development partner,” said Ed Mountfield, Vice President, Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS), World Bank. “We are listening to the concerns of project-affected people and stakeholders, and working with client countries to address those concerns.”
The GRS has also seen an increase in the number of cases that require more nuanced and tailored approaches. In addition to the 113 admissible complaints received in fiscal year 2022, another 113 cases were carried over from previous fiscal years. This is due in part to the complexity of many development-related issues. “During fiscal year 2022, the GRS resolved 136 cases, addressing the concerns of project-affected peoples,” said John Kellenberg, Manager for the Grievance Redress Service. “This is a testament to the World Bank’s commitment to promote inclusive and sustainable solutions to environmental and social problems facing individuals and local communities in developing countries.”
The GRS Annual Report is a valuable resource as it outlines its operations and achievements over the course of fiscal year 2022 and illustrates how it strengthened capacity and adapted to challenging environments to make sure that all complainants can access the Grievance Redress Service and cases are handled swiftly and efficiently—always ensuring affected communities and people are at the center of the solution process.
To learn more about the GRS Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report, click here.