More than 20 organisations from countries all over the world demand that the second phase of the ICIM review allows a sufficient amount of time (no less than 60 days) to submit comments and suggestions to the preliminary version of the revised policy, as well as face-to-face meetings and/or videoconferences in the region that ensure an informed public participation, and a widespread and decentralised announcement that ensures effective involvement of all communities and individuals with an interest in the mechanism.
Last Monday, 7th June 2014, an assortment of more than 20 organisations from all over the world, including FUNDEPS, sent a letter to the President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, and the executive directors of the institution. The aim was to express the worry felt by civil society about the future of the complaints mechanism of the bank, known as the ICIM (Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism), which is currently being reviewed.
The ICIM, which replaced the failed and inefficient Independent Investigation Mechanism (IIM) in 2010, is the mechanism of evaluation for the financial operations of the IDB. Therefore, it intends to respond to the concerns of individuals or communities affected by projects financed by the bank. This shows the importance of this mechanism inside the institutional framework of the IDB.
While the creation of the ICIM was well received by civil society and showed a clear step forward vis-à-vis the transparency and accountability of the bank, there still exist real challenges to overcome before it can be considered a truly effective resource working for the affected communities. With that in mind, the review process of the ICIM that the bank decided to carry out in mid-2013 will, after a number of delays, start its second phase of public consultations in the next few weeks. This will be an ideal opportunity to strengthen the mechanism and deliver a much more effective system.
However, it has been reported that the bank is considering a consultation period of only 30 days for this second phase. Thereby limiting the reception of comments to online-only and without considering the arrangements of face-to-face meetings or videoconferences. Worryingly, this approach will discourage any informed and effective public participation. This prospect is even more worrying when one considers how important participation is for the recipients of this very mechanism: those affected or potentially affected by the bank’s projects, many of whom lack access to the internet or electronic media.
Consequently, the organisations signing the letter highlight the necessity of the administration and the Executive Director of the bank to promote an effective and participatory public consultation process for the second phase of review that allows:
· An adequate amount of time, no less than 60 days, to provide comments and suggestions to the preliminary version of the revised policy.
· Face-to-face meetings and/or videoconferences in the region to ensure an informed participation.
· A widespread and decentralised announcement that ensures a large turnout of all the communities and individuals that have a stake in the working of the mechanism, including those that have used the system in the past.
FUNDEPS will participate in this second phase of the consultation, with the aim to strengthen the ICIM and bring about a positive change in its operation.
Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator of the Global Governance Programme