Developing Standards of Transparency, Participation and Accountability
Chapter 4: Human rights critique of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank’s inspection policy
In 1993, the World Bank created the Inspection Panel (the Panel) to provide an independent forum for private citizens who believed that their interests had been, or could have been, directly harmed by a project financed by the Bank. The establishment of this mechanism was seen as a seminal event by people both inside and outside the Bank. Sabine Schlemmer-Schulte of the World Bank states that the Bank’s creation of the Panel to assess its work was an unprecedented step by an inter- national organisation and that it “proves how seriously the Bank takes its commitment to abide by its own standards”. Further, she states that the Panel contributes to the promotion of human rights because: “As an independent watch-dog mechanism driven by affected people’s initiatives, the Panel has been able to enhance the efficiency of Bank operations, thereby enhancing these operations’ contribution to the achievement of human rights.” However, weaknesses and limitations of the system have been recognised. For instance, it is reported that affected persons and NGOs believe that they are not getting what they are entitled to under the Resolution which established the Inspection Panel.6 The time for admiring the establishment of the Panel has passed and what is now needed is critical evaluation of the system if further improvement is to be achieved. ADB followed the World Bank by establishing an inspection mechanism in 1995. However, this system proved too complicated and was not used until the Samut Prakarn project case in 2001.
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