The Inspection Panel was established by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in 1993 as the first independent accountability mechanism at an international financial institution.
In September 2020, the Board updated the resolution that created the Panel and added to its functions. At the same time, the Board approved a resolution establishing the World Bank Accountability Mechanism (AM) to house the Panel to carry out compliance reviews and a new Dispute Resolution Service, which will give complainants another way to have their concerns addressed.
Panel members and the Panel chair will continue to report to the Board and be independent of management. They will coordinate with but not be subject to the supervision of the AM Secretary.
The Panel’s mandate covers projects financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Development Association of the World Bank Group, in addition to Trust Funds managed by the World Bank.
Any two or more affected people, referred to as “Requesters,” may submit a complaint, formally known as a “Request for Inspection”, to the Panel. Through its process, the Panel assesses whether the Bank has complied with its internal policies and procedures designed to safeguard people and the environment. It also assesses whether any noncompliance has contributed, or may contribute in the future, to the harm described in the complaint.
Over the years, the Panel has addressed many different types of harm or potential harm to people or the environment in response to Requests for Inspection. Some cases have involved harm to people’s livelihoods or environmental degradation resulting from infrastructure projects. The Panel has also considered projects involving forced relocation (for example, due to the building of a dam, road, pipeline, landfill, or power plant); projects affecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples (such as customary land rights, sites of cultural significance, or livelihoods); and projects affecting the environment, cultural sites, and natural habitats (for example, from air and water pollution, stress on water sources, adverse impact on wetlands, deforestation, or loss of biodiversity).
Panel cases have also addressed allegations of gender-based violence in projects and the right of affected communities to meaningful consultation and participation in the planning and implementation of projects, including their access to information.
The Panel’s mandate does not extend to issues relating to procurement of goods or services, corruption, or issues that the Panel has already addressed in a previous case, unless new evidence or new circumstances are presented.