Arne Hoel, World Bank

CAO Outreach

CAO Convenes Civil Society Dialogue in Senegal

Civil society participants during the Senegal video conference, Dakar, Senegal, March 2018 (Photo: Aly Sagne).

CAO organized an outreach meeting via videoconference with Senegalese civil society organizations (CSOs) at the IFC office in Dakar on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The meeting is part of CAO’s broader outreach effort in the Africa region, and followed similar dialogues in Ghana and South Africa, which took place in December 2017 and February 2018, respectively. The event was co-organized with two leading Senegalese CSOs, Lumière Synergie pour le Développement (LSD) and Enda Lead Afrique Francophone. The objective was to provide information regarding the World Bank Group’s two environmental and social accountability mechanisms – CAO and the Inspection Panel - and to listen to civil society views and concerns about World Bank Group operations in Senegal.  The meeting included a briefing on IFC’s environmental and social policy framework led by a principal IFC specialist.

A total of 23 civil society leaders attended the meeting, representing a wide range of organizations, including NGOs, labor unions and faith-based organizations who work on issues related to rural development, gender, and human rights, among others. Aly Sagne, Executive Director of LSD, noted that “CSO participants were pleased to have been invited and felt the session provided valuable information on CAO’s accountability work”. Staff from CAO and the Inspection Panel made presentations outlining the work of each mechanism, including specific case examples from the Africa region, followed by a question and answer session. Participants raised several issues including how isolated communities can contact the mechanisms more easily; the role that companies and governments play in dispute resolution and investigation processes; and how the mechanisms ensure their independence to provide impartial and fair redress to project-affected communities.

Staff from IFC’s Senegal country office provided logistical support and participated in the video conference. Commenting on the event, Larissa Luy, IFC’s Principal Environmental and Social Specialist, said that “Interaction with CSOs is a priority for IFC and this CAO-organized workshop provided us with a platform to strengthen awareness of the IFC Performance Standards and how these apply to private sector investments in Senegal.”

CAO’s Vice President, Osvaldo Gratacós, also noted that “Outreach is an important part of our work to ensure that local communities and the civil society organizations that support them, as well as IFC’s clients, are aware of CAO’s services. It is also important that these groups hear from IFC firsthand about their development strategy, portfolio, and environmental and social standards, and thus we hope to involve the IFC in similar conversations with civil society in the future.”

CAO’s next outreach meeting is scheduled for May with civil society organizations in Nigeria. More information about CAO’s work is available at

Civil society representatives connecting from the IFC office in Dakar, Senegal participate in the video conference with CAO and Inspection Panel staff, March 2018 (Photo: Aly Sagne).

CAO and Inspection Panel staff respond to questions during the Senegal Video Conference, Washington, D.C., March 2018 (Photo: CAO). 

CAO and Inspection Panel staff during the Senegal Video Conference, Washington, D.C., March 2018 (Photo: CAO).