The Dispute Resolution and Prevention (DRP) team at the World Bank assists task teams to predict, prevent and resolve potential disputes on Bank-supported projects. The office offers staff advice, training, research, tools and access to regional dispute resolution professionals. By connecting task teams to the resources and expertise they need, DRP aims to help manage risk, strengthen relationships and deliver results.
From the smallest informal complaint to outright conflict, the Dispute Resolution & Prevention team helps World Bank staff manage disputes on their projects. While formal mechanisms such as the World Bank’s Inspection Panel and local or national courts are always ready to deal with conflict, we know that beneficiary feedback, dialogue, facilitation and mediation can be powerful tools for faster, more cost-effective dispute resolution. Using a “predict, prevent, resolve” framework, DRP supports teams to:
- Anticipate potential operational disputes and design appropriate processes to avert them
- Address citizen complaints before they escalate through the use of national ombudsmen, grievance redress mechanisms and beneficiary feedback systems
- Employ regional dispute resolution experts, mediators and institutions if cases escalate to the point of conflict
To deliver these objectives, the Dispute Resolution & Prevention team focuses on the following four areas:
- Skills training and capacity building for teams working on "high-risk/high-reward" projects or programs
- Tools and processes to increase the predictability and timeliness of responses to complaints
- Research and case studies on dispute resolution across the World Bank to support quality improvement and best practices
- Establishment of a global network of regional dispute resolution experts, institutions and experiences
We recognize a small number of widely-supported design principles to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of our dispute resolution approach:
- Voluntary to the user - a value-added proposition rather than a 'requirement'
- Proportionally scaled to the level of risk or impact
- Appropriate in the culture and context that they will operate
- Accessible to intended beneficiaries
- Predictable, transparent and accountable
- Effective in offering appropriate protections to users
- Opportunity for institutional learning and performance improvement.