Demanding Independence at the World Bank Inspection Panel


In December 2017, BIC Europe joined 25 other organisations in writing to Jim Kim, President of the World Bank about the vital independence of the bank’s complaint mechanism, the Inspection Panel.

The letter focused on the recent recruitment process for a new Panel member, noting that “The World Bank Inspection Panel plays a critical role as the Bank’s independent accountability mechanism to ensure that when communities are harmed or potentially harmed by Bank-funded projects there is a place for them to seek redress. To properly perform its work and be recognized as legitimate, it is vital that the Inspection Panel be independent”.

Having a recruitment process that involved external stakeholders was an essential element of that independence, the letter went on, citing many examples of other international financial institutions where this was common practice, including the bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.

In contrast, the recent recruitment of a new member to the Inspection Panel involved bank management and executive directors, and no external stakeholders. There is added urgency to the letter at this time, as a new Chair of the Inspection Panel will be recruited in late 2018 when Mr. Castro de la Mata’s term ends.

The letter requests that not only should external stakeholders have a role in the new Char recruitment, but that bank management be excluded, since “including Bank Management in the selection of Inspection Panel members creates a real or perceived conflict of interest.”