OPIC Welcomes Dr. William Kennedy as Director, Office of Accountability
February 22, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today announced Dr. William Kennedy as the new Director for the agency’s Office of Accountability. Dr. Kennedy brings to the office over three decades of international experience upholding social and environmental accountability in developing and emerging markets.
“I’m pleased that Bill Kennedy will be taking on this crucial role to help ensure OPIC’s development mission remains transparent, effective, and responsive to the communities impacted by OPIC-supported projects,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The positive development impacts and high standards for environmental and social performance are part of what make OPIC projects successful, and under Bill Kennedy’s leadership the Office of Accountability will underscore OPIC’s responsibility to uphold these high standards.”
Dr. Kennedy’s most recent work helped reinforce environmental and social standards of the World Bank and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, and he has previously served as the Executive Director of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and as Head of the Environmental Policy and Strategy Unit at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. His practical experience applying environmental and social impact best practices spans development projects across Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and emerging Europe. He also has extensive experience setting and evaluating such standards, having served on the Board of the International Association for Impact Assessment and as an adjunct professor on issues of international environmental governance and environmental assessment.
In his new role, Dr. Kennedy will help resolve concerns raised with respect to the environmental, social, labor and human rights impacts of OPIC-supported projects. In seeking these resolutions, the Office of Accountability attempts to reach agreements that meet the interests of the involved parties. Dr. Kennedy’s work will be achieved through independent investigations and reporting on OPIC’s policy compliance and by maintaining strong dialogues with local communities associated with OPIC-supported projects.
The Office of Accountability is an office within OPIC that operates independently of agency operations, and was established to address concerns, complaints or conflicts about environmental or social issues that may arise around OPIC-supported projects. The Office provides project-affected communities, project sponsors, and project workers an opportunity to have such concerns independently reviewed and addressed.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.