Arne Hoel, World Bank

World Bank Group Spring Meetings - CAO Event

Maximizing the Benefits of Independent Dispute Resolution: Spring Meetings Civil Society Policy Forum

The panel discussion focused on the underlying principles, methodologies, benefits, and challenges of independent dispute resolution, Washington, D.C., April 2019.

April 15, 2019 - CAO co-hosted a policy dialogue session during the 2019 World Bank Spring Meetings on “Maximizing the Benefits of Independent Dispute Resolution to Address Community Grievances”. The session, which was co-hosted with Accountability Counsel on April 10, 2019, was one of the thematic events scheduled during the Civil Society Policy Forum. Bringing together a diverse panel of dispute resolution experts and practitioners from civil society, private sector, and IFC, the session focused on the underlying principles, methodologies, benefits, and challenges of independent dispute resolution in addressing the environmental and social concerns of project-affected communities. It opened with a short film about a CAO case in Uganda that illustrated positive outcomes from a dispute resolution process convened by CAO to address a complex and multi-layered complaint related to land displacement in the forestry sector.

The session was moderated by Scott Adams, Senior Dispute Resolution Specialist at CAO, with panelists Lani Inveraty, Senior Communities Associate at Accountability Counsel; Luba Bogachevska, External Relations Manager at Goodvalley Company in Ukraine; and Debra Sequeira, Head, Policy Team in the Environment, Social and Governance Department at IFC. Using examples from cases in Mongolia and Ukraine, the panelists discussed capacity building, representation of communities, strategy, and other elements that play a role in the effectiveness of dispute resolution processes. They noted the benefit of an independent process in helping address conflict among parties; preventing and remediating project impacts; and strengthening development outcomes. Panelists also explained that, given inherent challenges, not all dispute resolution processes are successful and the importance of learning from experience and approaches that work.

The session brought together civil society, CAO, the private sector, and the International Finance Corporation to share their perspectives on actual cases and dispute resolution methodologies, Washington, D.C., April 2019.

The panel presentations were followed by a general discussion about issues including whether IFC plays a role in a dispute resolution process as participant or observer; how CAO works to ensure that a community is technically prepared and informed so they can participate in a dispute resolution process; who represents the community when its members are numerous or divided about the mediation process; the role of NGOs; and how CAO ensures that a dispute resolution process is truly independent, including the role of mediators.

For more information about CAO’s dispute resolution work, see: