Saturday, May 16, 2009

Inter-American Development Bank Requests Comments on Impacts to Affected Communities Including Indigenous Communities

IDB invites feedback on new project impact mechanism for communities
Comments and suggestions will be received June 1—September 31

The Inter-American Development Bank today unveiled its new proposed Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM)—the process through which affected communities can voice concerns about an IDB project.

The ICIM is a draft proposal, which is open to public consultation for civil society groups and other actors to express their suggestions and provide feedback. The idea is to enhance and speed up the investigation process of external allegations.

This new independent accountability mechanism upgrades the current Independent Investigation Mechanism (IIM), which has been in place since 1994. The new ICIM focuses on three critical areas of the Bank: environmental and associated safeguard policies; women in development; and information disclosure policies. It adds a consultation phase to address community concerns through alternative dispute resolution methods.

In addition, the new ICIM provides the investigative panel with training to improve the information given to the IDB Board of Executive Directors and facilitates its oversight. It also promotes more disclosure and transparency, simplifies processes and works in line with other peer institutions’ mechanisms.

Ana-Mita Betancourt, coordinator of the IDB Independent Investigation Mechanism, highlighted that the public consultation process “will allow us to build a better Mechanism by considering diverse views”.

The public consultation is a two-step process. During the first informative stage, May 6–31, the IDB encourages civil society organizations to preview the proposal of the new mechanism. “This informative stage is crucial for the IDB to guarantee that—prior to the mechanism’s formal public consultation—civil society understands thoroughly this new proposal and the key role it plays in the entire mechanism,” said Karla Chaman, IDB civil society officer.

In the following three-month public consultation stage, starting June 1, the Bank will receive feedback from civil society organizations in the United States, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

The mandate for an independent mechanism comes from the IDB's Board of Governors, made up of top Central Bank and finance ministry officials from the 48 member countries. The Governors directed that a tool be established to promote the Bank’s accountability, transparency and effectiveness. This proposal will further that mandate and provide a new framework to address the concerns of communities throughout the region.

More information
Ana-Mita Betancourt
Coordinator, IIM

Karla Chaman
IDB civil society officer

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