Arne Hoel, World Bank

CAO Outreach

CAO Holds Video Conference Outreach with Haitian Civil Society Organizations

Civil society participants during the Haiti outreach, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 2019.

CAO participated in an outreach meeting with Haitian civil society organizations (CSOs) on April 23, 2019 as part of its continuing dissemination efforts worldwide. The event was organized by CAO, together with the World Bank’s Inspection Panel and the Inter-American Development Bank’s MICI – as well as with the local assistance of Action Aid Haiti. Over 20 NGO and community leaders from throughout Haiti participated in the two-hour session held at the World Bank Office in Port-au-Prince. Staff from CAO, the Inspection Panel, and MICI made a joint presentation from Washington via video conference outlining the accountability role and the compliance and dispute resolution work carried out by each mechanism. They also shared lessons from specific country complaints cases in Latin America and Africa which was followed by a general discussion.

Participants raised several issues including: how isolated communities and/or those with lower levels of education could file complaints; role of the Haitian government in the mechanisms’ processes; possible outcomes of the mechanisms’ intervention; and how the mechanisms ensure their independence to provide redress to complainants. At the meeting conclusion participants expressed their satisfaction with having the opportunity to learn about the work of the three IAMs and share their perspectives and concerns about accountability issues in Haiti. Yolette Etienne, Executive Secretary of Action Aid Haiti stated that: “Action Aid appreciated the collaboration around this outreach event and the civil society participants felt that they not only learned a great deal about the World Bank’s accountability mechanisms, information they can now use, but expressed satisfaction with the serious and respectful exchange of views with IPN and CAO staff members.”

CSO participants also had the opportunity to meet with the World Bank Country Director in Haiti, Anabela Abreu, to discuss the country portfolio and how the Bank’s environmental and social standards are being applied. This outreach event in Haiti proceeded half a dozen similar video conferences with CSOs in other developing countries in keeping with CAO’s mission of promoting accountability and improved development outcomes at the IFC. CAO Vice President, Osvaldo Gratacos, noted that “The CAO feels that it’s important for community groups and civil society organizations to understand the accountability work that we do so they can feel confident of benefiting from the investments IFC makes in their communities. We are grateful to partnering CSOs and World Bank Group country offices for their assistance in these outreach efforts”.