The Panel consists of three members who were appointed by the Executive Directors in April, 1994 on the basis of their knowledge and experience of development and their ability to deal thoroughly and fairly with complaints. (Panel Member biographies are available.)
After the first appointments, which will be staggered, each member will serve one term of five years. Members will be nominated by the Bank's President and appointed by the Executive Directors. The President also appointed an Executive Secretary for the Secretariat of the Panel in consultation with the Executive Directors. The first chairperson of the Panel is Mr. Ernst-G|nther Brvder. Every year the Panel members will select a chairperson from among themselves.
The Panel's Role and Procedures
The Panel's functions and authority are dictated by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("IBRD") and International Development Association ("IDA") Resolutions that established the Panel and the Operating Procedures which were adopted and approved by the Panel in August 1994. A brief summary of the Panel's procedures follows:
The party requesting an investigation must be a group of people such as an organization, association or society. The group must be affected by the project which it wants investigated and be in the territory of the borrowing government. In special cases, an individual Executive Director also may ask the Panel to conduct an investigation and, of course, the Board can instruct the Panel to conduct an investigation.
The party with a complaint has to show that its rights or interests have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected directly by an action or omission of the Bank in violation of the Bank's policies and procedures. The alleged failure can relate to the design, appraisal and/or implementation of the project including where the Bank is alleged not to have pursued a borrower's obligation under a loan agreement.
But before the case is heard, the Panel must be persuaded that the issue has been brought to the attention of the management and that the Bank has not followed or is not taking adequate steps to follow Bank policies and procedures; and that the alleged violation by the Bank is of a serious character.
The Panel may investigate either loans made by IBRD or credits by IDA. An affected party's request for inspection must be made in writing.
The request should set out the relevant facts, including information about the harm suffered or threatened by the Bank's alleged action or omission, the nature of the alleged action or omission, what has been done to bring the issue to the attention of the Bank's management, and the management's response.
After receiving a request for inspection, the Panel's chairperson promptly informs the Board and the Bank's President of the complaint. The management then has 21 days in which to give the Panel evidence that it has complied with the relevant Bank policies or procedures, or that it intends to do so.
The Panel in turn has another 21 days in which to decide whether to recommend to the Executive Directors that an investigation be carried out. The Panel has to consult the Executive Director representing the country in which the project is located before making a recommendation on whether to investigate. The affected party has to be told of the Executive Directors' decision within two weeks of it being made.
If the Executive Directors decide that a request should be investigated, the Panel chairperson appoints one or more members to have primary responsibility for conducting the investigation. After taking the nature of the investigation into account, the Panel lays down how long the investigation should take.
In carrying out their investigation, Panel members have full access to all pertinent Bank records and staff and can consult the Director General, Operations Evaluation Department (OED) and the Bank's Internal Auditor. (OED examines and reports on the outcome of projects financed by the Bank after their completion.) The Executive Director concerned must also be consulted during an investigation. No inspection in a country's territory can be undertaken without its prior consent.
On completing the investigation, the Panel delivers its report to the Executive Directors and the President of the Bank. Within six weeks of receiving the Panel's findings, the Bank's management gives the Executive Directors a report setting out how it proposes to respond to the findings. The Bank must inform the affected party of the results of the investigation and of the action taken, if any, within two weeks of the Executive Directors' consideration of the matter.
The Bank and the Panel shall make publicly available the request for an inspection, the Panel's recommendation on the request, and the Executive Directors' decision on whether to proceed. These documents become publicly available after the Executive Directors have considered a request for inspection. The Bank also makes publicly available the Panel's report on its investigation and the management's response to it. In addition, the Panel's annual report to the Board is to be published by the Bank.
The Panel members are:
Mr. Ernst-G|nther Brvder Mr. Richard E. Bissell Mr. Alvaro Umaqa Quesada The Executive Secretary of the Panel is: Mr. Eduardo G. Abbott Other members of the Panel's Secretariat are: Ms. Antonia M. Macedo Miss Cleone Hoover Ms. Pamela Fraser