The Panel process begins when it receives a Request for Inspection from a party of two or more Requesters, claiming that the Bank has violated its policies and procedures. Most of the Requests submitted have concerned some of the Bank’s safeguard policies, such as the policies on environmental assessment, involuntary resettlement, or indigenous people.
Once the Panel has received and registered a Request for Inspection, the Eligibility Phase of the Inspection Process commences. Beginning on the day of registration the World Bank’s Management has 21 business days to provide the Panel with evidence that it complied or intends to comply with the relevant policies and procedures. After receiving Managements response the Panel has 21 business days to determine the eligibility of the Request.
Once it determines that the eligibility criteria have been met, and after having reviewed the Request, the Management Response to the Request, and additional related facts it may have observed during a field visit, the Panel may make a recommendation to investigate, not to investigate, or, as in some previous cases, to postpone its recommendation to a later date allowing for Management and the Requesters to resolve their differences. In such cases, the Panel has promoted problem solving between Management and the Requesters to help concerns receive an earlier and accepted resolution.
An investigation is not automatic, and can only be authorized by the Board of Executive Directors. If the Board approves an investigation, the next step is the substantive phase of the inspection process when the Panel evaluates the merits of the Request. In the investigation phase, the Panel is focused on fact finding and verification. It visits the borrowing country and meets with the Requesters and other affected people, as well as with a broad array of people from whom it can learn in detail about the issues, concerns, the project’s status, and potential harmful effects. The investigation phase may take a few months, or more in complex cases.
Once the investigation phase is complete, the Panel submits its Investigation Report to the Board of Executive Directors of the Bank copying Bank Management. Bank Management then has six weeks to submit to the Board its Report and Recommendation in response to the Panel’s findings. The Board meets to consider both the Panel’s Investigation Report and Management’s recommendations, and
decides whether to approve the Management’s recommendations which are intended to bring the Project into compliance in accordance with Bank policies and procedures. The Board may, at this stage, ask the Panel to verify whether Management conducted appropriate consultations with the Requesters and affected people prior to approving Management’s recommendations for remedial measures.
The Inspectioin Panel Process