Ensuring accountability in international development
One of the key components of effective development is effective conflict resolution. Unresolved conflicts with local communities can result in higher costs, delays or even abandonment of projects. Last month, OPIC Director of Accountability, Dr. Keith Kozloff sat on a panel on Independent Accountability at the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID) to discuss the ways accountability can support sustainable development.
Kozloff (pictured, center) said that giving local communities a voice in local development can help transform otherwise adversarial relationships with developers and can also improve the way financial institutions implement their social and environmental policies. Kozloff was joined on the panel by Isabel Lavadenz Pacciere (left), Inter-American Development Bank’s Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism Office’s Project Ombudsperson; and Peter Lallas, The World Bank Group’s Inspection Panel Office Executive Secretary.
Over the past two decades there has been increasing public and board pressure for international financial institutions to be accountable for appropriately applying and implementing the suite of environmental and social policies relevant to the projects that they finance.
To address these issues, independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) have now been established in 10 multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions. Although they differ in their mandates and operational details, all of them are geared to addressing conflicts that can arise around development projects.
OPIC’s Office of Accountability (OA) offers problem-solving services to communities and clients when conflicts arise around the environmental and social impacts of OPIC-supported private sector projects, and affected communities can also request that the OA review whether OPIC complied with relevant policies and procedures in bringing forward the project.