The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”) is a regional bank with coverage from central Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean. It is owned by 64 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank. The EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses. It also works with publicly owned companies. The EBRD invests only in projects that could not otherwise attract financing on similar terms.
The Project Complaint Mechanism (“PCM”) is the EBRD’s accountability mechanism to assess and review complaints about EBRD-financed projects. It provides individual(s) and local groups that may be directly or adversely affected by the EBRD-financed projects, as well as civil society organizations, a means of raising complaints or grievances with the EBRD, independently from banking operations.
Who can access it?
- One or more individual(s) located in an Impacted Area, or who has or have an economic interest, including social and cultural interests, in an Impacted Area, may submit a Complaint seeking a Problem-solving Initiative.
- One or more individual(s) or Organisation(s) may submit a Complaint seeking a Compliance Review.
How does it work?
The complaint should be submitted to the PCM Officer. If the project at issue in the complaint is subject to parallel co-financing by other institutions, the PCM Officer will notify the accountability mechanism(s) of such institution(s) and will communicate and cooperate with them to avoid duplication of efforts or any disruption or disturbance to common parties.
The PCM Officer coordinates all PCM processes The PCM Officer, together with an independent expert, makes an eligibility assessment of registered complaints. The Eligibility Assessors determine whether the Complaint is eligible for a Problem-solving Initiative, a Compliance Review, for both, or for neither. If a complaint is found eligible, the Eligibility Assessment Report will also include the terms of reference for the Problem-Solving Initiative and/or the Compliance Review.
This function has the objective of restoring a dialogue between the complainant and the client to resolve the issue(s) underlying a complaint without attributing blame or fault. Complainants need to have made prior good faith efforts to address the issues, including with the EBRD and/or the client.
If the President approves the eligibility assessors’ recommendation to undertake a problem-solving initiative, this process will be started and facilitated by the PCM Officer and/or a PCM Expert. The panel of PCM Experts specializes in areas such as the environment, social development and law reform and operate externally to the Bank. The process will run until the relevant parties reach an agreement or when, in the opinion of the problem-solving expert, no further progress towards dispute resolution is possible.
This function seeks to determine whether or not the EBRD has complied with relevant EBRD policy in respect of an approved project and, if this is not the case, to recommend remedial changes. In this process, the PCM Officer will appoint a PCM Expert, who was not the eligibility assessor, to conduct the review. The expert will examine key documents and consult with the relevant parties. He/she may also carry out a site visit and employ other methods.
If the expert concludes that the EBRD was in compliance with the relevant policy, the PCM Officer will submit a report to the relevant parties and the President or the Board and close the complaint. If non-compliance is concluded, the expert will issue a draft report with recommendations to 1) address the findings of non-compliance at the level of EBRD systems or procedures to avoid a recurrence of such or similar occurrences; and/or 2) address the findings of non-compliance in the scope or implementation of the project taking into account prior commitments by the EBRD or the client in relation to the project; and 3) monitor and report on the implementation of any recommended changes.
In case of non-compliance, the Compliance Review Report is forwarded to the Bank Management for them to draft a Management Action Plan. This plan will address whether the recommendations contained in the expert’s report are appropriate and, if so, will address how to implement the recommendations. The final Compliance Review Report will take into consideration the EBRD’s Management Action Plan as well as comments from the relevant parties and the Board or the President.
The PCM Officer will monitor the implementation of any agreements reached during a problem-solving initiative. He/she will also monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the compliance review report according to the Management Action Plan. For both, the PCM Officer is responsible for drafting monitoring reports, at least bi-annually or until he/she determines that all implementation issues are concluded.