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Mandate and Procedures

The World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM) was created by a Resolution approved by the Board of Executive Directors on September 8, 2020. 

The Resolution sets forth the role and functions of the AM, which comprises two constituent parts: the Inspection Panel, created in 1993 as the World Bank’s original independent accountability mechanism to carry out compliance reviews, and the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), which facilitates a voluntary and independent dispute resolution option for communities and borrowers in the context of complaints to the Panel.

The AM is headed by the Accountability Mechanism Secretary who reports to the Board of Executive Directors. The Accountability Mechanism Secretary is responsible for establishing and managing the AM’s work program, budget and staffing and also oversees the DRS. 

The AM and DRS became operational in July and October 2021, respectively.

At the same time that it established the new Accountability Mechanism, the Board also approved an updated Panel Resolution that adds functions to the Panel and consolidated text from the 1993 Resolution that created the Panel and two Clarifications to that Resolution approved by the Board in 1993 and 1996.

In approving the new Panel Resolution, Executive Directors reaffirmed the importance of the Panel’s function, its independence and integrity. Panel Members continue to report to the Board and remain independent of management. They coordinate with but are not subject to the supervision of the AM Secretary.

In response to complaints from affected people, formally known as Requests for Inspection, the Panel has the power to carry out independent investigations of Bank-financed projects to determine whether the Bank is in compliance with its operational policies and procedures, and to make related findings of harm.

The AM and Inspection Panel resolutions formalized decisions made by the Board in October 2018 and March 2020 during its three-year review of the Panel’s toolkit that began after the Bank approved its new Environmental and Social Framework.

The Board agreed to allow communities more time – up to 15 months after the closure of new projects – to file complaints and they gave the Panel the authority, with Board approval, to verify the implementation of Management Action Plans (MAPs) in some cases.

The Board also permitted the sharing of the Panel’s Investigation Report with complainants before it is considered by the Board to allow them to be more meaningfully involved in consultations on the development of the MAPs, and authorized the Panel to provide advisory services in the form of lessons from its cases to support institutional learning.