African Development Bank Group

Independent Review Mechanism for people adversely impacted by a project financed by the Bank Group


The African Development Bank Group (“Bank Group”) is a multilateral development finance institution with the objective to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction.

The Independent Review Mechanism (“IRM”) of the Bank Group has been established to enable people adversely affected by a Bank Group-financed project to request the Bank Group to comply with its own policies and procedures.

Who can access it? 

The following can submit a request for compliance review or mediation:

  • Any group of two or more people in the country or countries where the Bank Group-financed project is located who believe that as a result of the Bank Group’s violation of its policies and/or procedures, their rights or interests have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected in a direct and material way;
  • Organizations, associations, societies or other groupings of individuals adversely affected by a Bank Group-financed project;
  • A duly appointed local representative acting on explicit instructions as the agent of adversely affected people. Foreign representatives may act as agents in cases where no adequate or appropriate representation is available in the country or countries where the project is located;
  • The Boards of Directors of the Bank Group.

How does it work?

The role of the IRM is to perform both compliance review and problem-solving functions. The compliance review and/or problem solving procedures start when the Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (“CRMU”) receives a request for such procedures. The CRMU makes a preliminary review of the complaint and determines whether problem-solving or compliance review is more appropriate, with consideration of the requestor(s) preference.

Compliance review

Through its compliance review function, the IRM focuses on issues of non-compliance by an institution within the Bank Group with any of its operational policies and procedures in respect of the design, implementation or supervision of such project (in the case of Bank Group-financed sovereign guaranteed projects), and on social and environmental compliance (in the case of private sector and/or non-sovereign guaranteed Bank Group-financed projects).

The Director of the CRMU and the IRM Experts will determine the eligibility of the request for compliance review, with final authorization by the Board of Directors of the Bank and Fund (“Boards”) or the President of the Bank Group (“President”). The Compliance Review Panels, consisting of IRM Experts shall conduct the reviews. Activities undertaken by the Compliance Review Panels may include: soliciting additional information from the requestor or other interested party, site visits, and retaining additional expertise for assistance.

After investigations are completed, the Compliance Review Panel shall submit a report to the Boards or the President, including its findings and recommendations for any remedial change in the scope or implementation of the Bank Group-financed project, any remedial change to systems or procedures of the Bank to avoid a recurrence of similar non-compliance, and any further steps to be undertaken to monitor the implementation of the abovementioned remedial action plans. The Boards or the President shall make the final decision.


The problem-solving function can be used to assist in trying to resolve the underlying issues through independent fact-finding, mediation, conciliation, and dialogue facilitation, without seeking to attribute blame or fault to any such party. A problem-solving exercise may be conducted regardless of whether a compliance review is or will be conducted. A problem-solving exercise could be converted to compliance review where the CRMU Director deems it necessary, at the conclusion of exercise.

The exercise will involve all relevant parties, the requestors, management’s representatives, project promoters, and other interested persons in the complained about project. The solution need to be agreed upon by all parties involved before being submitted to the Boards or the President in the form of a report. The Boards or the President shall decide whether or not to accept the recommended remedial actions.


Outcome takes the form of recommendations or agreements made by the CRMU or Review Panels and approved by either the Boards or the President, following the completion of a problem-solving or compliance review exercise.


The CRMU will monitor the implementation of the action plans agreed during the problem-solving exercise. The outcome, if unsuccessful after three months, will be reported to the Boards, the President, Bank’s management, the requestor and other interested parties.


Webpage of the IRM on the Bank Group’s website

Operating Rules and Procedures of the IRM of the Bank Group (16 June 2010)

Mission and Objectives of the Bank Group


Last edited: 
April, 2013

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