15 January 2019

Celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of the EIB Complaints Mechanism

Yesterday, Accountability Counsel attended the European Investment Bank (EIB) Complaints Mechanism 10 Year Anniversary event at the EIB Headquarters in Luxembourg. The EIB Complaints Mechanism was first established in 2008 and is one of the many accountability offices that exists today. The Complaints Mechanism functions as an accountability office that allows individuals or communities who are affected by EIB Group-related activities to submit a complaint and receive remedy as appropriate.

To commemorate the 10 Year Anniversary of its Complaints Mechanism, the EIB hosted a day-long event comprising a series of panel discussions that explored the value of accountability in international finance and how Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) like the Complaints Mechanism can overcome challenges amid a changing financial landscape throughout the years to come. EIB President Werner Hoyer, Secretary-General of the European Ombudsman Cesira D’Aniello, and Head of the Complaints Mechanism Sonja Derkum inaugurated the event, which was attended by key representatives from IAMs as well as other international stakeholders.

In addition to working with local lawyers to support a complaint brought by communities in the Lamjung district of Nepal, Accountability Counsel has participated extensively in the Complaints Mechanism policy review that concluded in November 2018. Along with its civil society partners, Accountability Counsel submitted recommendations on the first draft of the new Complaints Mechanism policy, noting which adjustments were necessary to ensure an independent, equitable, transparent, accessible, and effective process for communities impacted by EIB operations. Following the release of a second draft, Accountability Counsel and its coalition partners continued to press for crucial revisions. Further changes were made to the policy before the EIB Board of Directors approved the final version. We are encouraged that the new policy includes some provisions that improve the Board’s oversight role, and we hope to see further enhancements to the Complaint Mechanism’s independence and the EIB’s governance structure in the future.

As the Complaints Mechanism celebrates this important milestone, Accountability Counsel underscores the message from the gathering yesterday on the critical role that the Mechanism plays not only for the institution, but also for communities both inside and outside the European Union. As the new policy is implemented, Accountability Counsel will continue to advocate for a fair complaint process that responds to community voices, provides accountability and remedy, and leads to better investment outcomes for people on the ground.