The Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM) is the EBRD's accountability mechanism that has been established to assess and review complaints about Bank-financed projects. It provides individual(s) and local groups that may be directly or adversely affected by an EBRD project, as well as civil society organisations, a means of raising complaints or grievances with the Bank, independently from banking operations.
Civil Society workshop with Independent Accountability Mechanisms of IFIs
Istanbul, Turkey, 12-13 May 2015
EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism, along with the World Bank Group’s Inspection Panel and Compliance/Advisor/Ombudsman, the EIB’s Complaints Mechanism, and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank’s complaints mechanism hosted a regional outreach event on Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) where over thirty representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) participated from Turkey, Albania, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan and the United States. The two-day workshop was aimed at sharing information about IAMs; exchanging views with CSOs about their experiences and listening to concerns as well as ideas about promoting accountability and redressing harm by submitting complaints.
The first day opened with an introduction and history of the mechanisms, followed by an overview of their commonalities and differences, and continued with a presentation from each IAM on specific complaints and cases. CSOs shared their experiences with some of the IAMs, in particular the challenges and opportunities of submitting complaints. The second day was mostly dedicated to learning in detail, through mini-clinics, about each mechanism’s procedures and case record. CSO representatives took advantage of this opportunity to ask focused questions on procedural and substantive issues to individual members of the five IAMs who organised the event. The workshop closed with an interactive exercise for CSOs and IAMs to come together in understanding the challenges to communities raising concerns and accessing justice around development projects and what the mechanisms can do to help. Additionally, the workshop hosted a speaker, Mr. Fikret Toksöz, Program Coordinator of the Good Governance Program at the Turkish Economics and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), who talked about accountability and grievance redress options available in the Turkish system.
Two issues emerged as prominent in the course of two days, namely transparency and access to information about projects financed by the IFIs and, therefore, how mechanisms can help civil society close the information gap. Much of the discussion also revolved around the mandate of the IAMs, their opportunities to help redress harm to project affected people, but also the limitations of their mandate and how to achieve results within those boundaries. Project specific issues were also discussed in relation to complaints received by the IAMs (e.g. labour rights, thermal and hydro energy projects, and LGBT and discrimination issues).
The workshop provided a valuable opportunity for the IAMs to share information about their work, and also to listen to the views and concerns of civil society. It also allowed the mechanisms to reach out to organisations who were not familiar with the existence of these forums and the opportunity to raise their concerns with international financial institutions and make their voice heard.