About the CAO : Who We Are

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

As the independent recourse mechanism for IFC and MIGA, CAO helps address the concerns of communities who believe they are affected by IFC/MIGA projects with the aim of improving social and environmental outcomes on the ground. 

CAO's mandate

The Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) is the independent recourse mechanism for projects supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)--the private sector lending arms of the World Bank Group. CAO was established in 1999 and reports directly to the President of the World Bank Group.

CAO works to:

  • Address the concerns of individuals or communities affected by IFC/MIGA projects
  • Enhance the social and environmental outcomes of IFC/MIGA projects; and
  • Foster greater public accountability of IFC and MIGA

The Office of the CAO is based in Washington, DC. 

CAO Operational Guidelines

CAO's Operational Guidelines explain how CAO carries out its work in response to complaints and requests for audit related to IFC/MIGA supported projects. Specifically, the Operational Guidelines aim to provide a predictable process to guide complainants and other stakeholders through CAO's complaint-handling process. The guidelines are available in the seven official languages of the World Bank Group (see below).

Operational Guidelines Review and Update 2012

During 2012, the CAO is updating its Operational Guidelines in response to recommendations from recent external reviews of CAO’s effectiveness by the World Bank Group Board and an independent review team. The draft Operational Guidelines are open for a 60-day public comment period from June 25 to August 24, 2012. Click here for more details.

The 2007 CAO Operational Guidelines are available below:

Operational Guidelines - English                                       (Arabic) المبادئ التوجيهية التشغيلية -- العربية 

Directive opérationelles - Français

Diretrizes operacionais - Portugues

Directrices operacionales - Español

Оперативное руководство - русский (Russian)

业务准则 - 中国 (Chinese)

CAO's Terms of Reference

CAO's mandate is articulated in itsTerms of Reference (TOR), which were endorsed by the President of the World Bank Group in 1999.