19 July 2017

Where in the World is Accountability Counsel?

To best advocate for people harmed by internationally financed projects, we engage with stakeholders at all stages of the development process. This ranges from on-the-ground strategy sessions with communities that are impacted by projects, to advocacy meetings with development finance institutions, and everywhere in between. We travel the globe to ensure that these institutions respect the human and environmental rights of the communities affected by their investments and that their independent accountability mechanisms facilitate meaningful solutions for these communities.

In recent weeks our team traveled all over Europe, doing trainings with the independent experts at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Project Complaints Mechanism, consulting with the European Investment Bank in Brussels, presenting on our work with ActionAid at a gathering in Italy, and collaborating with other civil society groups at the Organization for Economic Cooperation forum in Paris.

One particularly important forum for advocacy is a DFI’s Annual Meeting. Every year, thousands of government officials, journalists, participants from civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector gather from across the world to attend DFI annual meetings.


Here’s where we’ve been so far this year:

World Bank Group Spring Meetings – Washington, D.C., United States
April 21-23, 2017

World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Our Policy and Global communities teams represented Accountability Counsel at the World Bank Group’s Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. Along with several of our key partners in the accountability sphere, Accountability Counsel co-hosted a session on strengthening the role of IAMs in Latin America. The session focused on the role that accountability mechanisms can play in addressing harms from development projects, as well as the challenges that communities can face when filing complaints to these mechanisms in their search for solutions.







Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting – Yokohama, Japan
May 4-7, 2017

Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting

Accountability Counsel’s South Asia Director, Anirudha Nagar, attended the ADB’s Annual Meeting, held in Yokohama, Japan and outlined needed reforms to the ADB’s Accountability Mechanism (AM), including improvements to the mechanism’s independence and effectiveness.

This year marked the ADB’s 50th Annual Meeting. As the ADB was celebrating 50 years of investments, our partners at NGO Forum on ADB, an Asian-led network of CSOs, highlighted shortcomings in the Bank’s activities over the past half-century, including significant accountability gaps. Their advocacy at the Annual Meeting was part of a larger, ongoing campaign calling for an end to the ADB’s immunity from legal suit in light of these gaps.



European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Annual Meeting and Business Forum – Nicosia, Cyprus
May 9-11, 2017

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Annual Meeting and Business Forum

The EBRD’s Annual Meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus provided a platform to continue our advocacy on reforms to the EBRD’s Project Complaint Mechanism (PCM). Kindra Mohr, AC’s Policy Director, participated in a civil society town hall meeting with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti, in which Chakrabarti expressed his commitment to seeing reforms to improve the PCM’s effectiveness and independence. At the town hall meeting and other engagements, Kindra advocated for needed PCM reforms to ensure that the PCM is able to effectively evaluate complaints concerning harms caused by EBRD investments.




African Development Bank Annual Meetings – Ahmedabad, India
May 22-27, 2017

African Development Bank Annual Meetings

Anirudha also represented AC at this year’s AfDB Annual Meetings, which were held in Ahmedabad, India under the theme of “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.” Unfortunately, the Annual Meetings this year lacked a designated civil society forum, which has been a feature of previous AfDB Annual Meetings and has provided an opportunity for dialogue among CSOs, AfDB staff and leadership, and other stakeholders. Instead, this year’s Annual Meetings included a 2-hour Civil Society Organization (CSO) panel.

At the CSO panel, Anirudha highlighted that the AfDB’s Independent Review Mechanism’s (IRM) relatively low caseload could indicate that communities lack necessary information about the availability of the mechanism and how it functions. He encouraged the AfDB to increase its outreach and engagement with civil society to foster access to the mechanism by communities.

Our engagement and advocacy at Annual Meetings is a key part of our strategy to ensure financiers and their accountability offices prioritize real remedy for affected communities and to this end, remove any obstacles for achieving accountability. We build off of the conversations and sessions at Annual Meetings throughout the year, working with all stakeholders to make justice more likely for affected communities around the world. We look forward to continuing this constructive engagement at the upcoming International Accountability Mechanisms Network (IAMnet) annual meeting in August and the World Bank Group Annual Meetings in October.