About the CAO : Who We Are

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

As the independent accountability mechanism for IFC and MIGA, CAO helps address the concerns of communities who believe they are affected by IFC and 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 accountability mechanism for projects supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)--the private sector 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 CAO Office is based in Washington, DC. 


The Vice President, Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) is appointed by the President of the World Bank Group following an independent selection process led by civil society, industry and academia. CAO staff are recruited by the CAO Vice President.

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. Click here for more details.

CAO's Terms of Reference

CAO's mandate is articulated in the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Vice President, Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, which were endorsed by the President of the World Bank Group in 1998 and updated in 2013.


CAO's Structure

CAO comprises three complementary functions—dispute resolution, compliance and advisory—which report to the CAO Vice President. CAO's structure is outlined in this organizational chart.