Policies & Guidelines


CAO is the independent accountability mechanism for IFC and MIGA. Our purpose, mandate, core principles, and functions are articulated in the CAO Policy.

Policies & Guidelines

CAO Policy

The CAO Policy reinforces CAO’s independence from IFC and MIGA Management and strengthens the role of the IFC and MIGA Boards in the CAO process. Like the World Bank’s Accountability Mechanism, comprising the Inspection Panel and Dispute Resolution Service, CAO reports to the Boards under the Policy.

The CAO Policy, effective July 2021, builds on CAO’s Operational Guidelines and two decades of experience, and incorporates recommendations from the External Review to enhance CAO's effectiveness. The Policy was developed by a joint CAO, IFC and MIGA Working Group and involved extensive public consultations online and in-person to solicit input and feedback from CAO complainants, civil society organizations, IFC/MIGA clients, development finance institutions (DFIs), independent accountability mechanisms, and other stakeholders.

Download our new policy in 8 languages

Transitional Arrangements for CAO Cases

Responding to Concerns of Threats and Incidents of Reprisals

Our "Approach in Responding to Concerns of Threats and Instances of Reprisals in CAO Operations" addresses common concerns raised by human rights organizations. Our Approach focuses on our operations and sets out guidance for staff and consultants on how to address situations involving threats and incidents of reprisals targeting individuals engaged, or seeking to engage, in a CAO process.

CAO Procedure: Conflict of Interest for the Recruitment and Mobility of Staff

CAO has developed a Conflict of Interest (COI) procedure to inform staff recruitment and mobility. The procedure reflects governance commitments articulated in the CAO Policy and was developed in consultation with the World Bank Group’s Ethics and Internal Justice Services, Human Resources Department, and Legal Department. It outlines expectations and steps to assist CAO staff in identifying real or perceived conflicts of interest risks and developing appropriate mitigation measures. It is applicable to all CAO staff and consultants.

Operational Guidelines

CAO's Operational Guidelines were replaced by CAO's Policy in July 2021. CAO's 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2013 Operational Guidelines are available below.

Download our Guidelines

Terms of Reference

CAO's original Terms of Reference (TOR) were issued by the World Bank Group in 1998. An update was issued in 2013.

Mailchimp Survey


We Value Your Feedback

Thank you for visiting CAO’s new website. Help us improve your experience by taking our short survey.

Give Feedback No thanks