France: French Development Agency (AFD) | Environmental and Social Complaints Mechanism

  • Overview

    The French Development Agency (AFD) is France’s public development bank. Headquartered in Paris, the agency’s mission is to improve everyday life through financing and technical assistance for projects in developing countries and French overseas provinces.

    All AFD development projects are required to comply with AFD’s Environmental and Social Risk Management policy. Additionally, data regarding each project is compiled and reported in keeping with the AFD Corporate Social Responsibility approach and the AFD Transparency and Dialogue policy (available in French).

    French Development Agency (AFD)

    Created: 1998

    Headquarters: Paris, France

    Mission: Committing financing and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries and in the French overseas provinces.

    The Accountability Office: The Environmental and Social Complaint Mechanism (Mechanism)

    Functions: Compliance Review, Dispute Resolution

    Visit the Mechanism’s website

    The Accountability Office

    The AFD Environmental and Social Complaints Mechanism (Mechanism) is an independent accountability office that handles complaints regarding projects financed by the AFD. The Mechanism is under the supervision of the AFD’s Ethics Advisor and allows natural or legal persons affected by AFD projects to submit complaints for review.

    The Mechanism has two functions:

    • Dispute Resolution – this function is aimed at restoring dialogue between parties to find a solution to the problem(s) that led to the complaint.
    • Compliance Audit – this function is aimed at determining whether the AFD has complied with its environmental and social procedures with regard to a project.

    Submit a complaint to the Mechanism if:

    • You are an individual, group, or representative (natural or legal persons)
    • Your complaint relates to the environmental and social aspects of the project, which must be located outside of France
    • You have exhausted all the possibilities for dialogue and have introduced, without success, out-of-court redress procedures

    Complaints must be submitted in French, English, or one of the official languages of the countries in which AFD operates. More information about the complaint requirements and process can be found on the Mechanism’s website.


  • Our Advocacy

    Accountability Counsel is coordinating with partners around the globe to ensure that the recently created AFD Environmental and Social Complaint Mechanism operates according to international best practices and is an effective avenue for addressing complaints related to the AFD’s activities.

    The mechanism was established in 2017. Encouraged by this development at the AFD, Accountability Counsel and our partners sent a welcome letter, in English and French, to the Mechanism Secretariat. In this letter, we highlighted the vital role of the Mechanism in ensuring that the mission and standards of the AFD are upheld so that positive development outcomes are achieved. Our letter also shared Glass Half Full? The State of Accountability in Development Finance, which was co-authored by Accountability Counsel and 10 partners, as a useful reference to aid the Mechanism and the AFD in developing a strong accountability system that effectively delivers accountability and remedy for harmed communities.

    We look forward to ongoing engagement with the Mechanism. We will continue to work with partners to ensure that the Mechanism is an effective avenue for remedy for communities negatively impacted by AFD projects.

  • Documents

    Institutional Documents

    Environmental and Social Complaints Mechanism: Rules of Procedure


    Documents by Release Date

    Mar 2018 – Accountability Counsel, and other civil society organizations, submitted a joint letter (Available in English and French) to the Environmental and Social Complaints Mechanism Secretariat, welcoming the establishment of the mechanism and its vital role in protecting communities and upholding the AFD’s mission.