A Guide to Designing and Implementing Grievance Mechanisms for Development Projects

Grievance mechanisms are increasingly important for development projects where ongoing risks or adverse impacts are anticipated. Yet it is often challenging for companies to design and implement successful grievance mechanisms that suit the project context. Recognizing this challenge, the Office of the Compliance/Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) offers this guide to help groups develop project-level grievance resolution mechanisms. This guide also emphasizes the importance of communication and coordination among companies, communities, and other stakeholders directly affected by large development projects. 

Against the backdrop of IFC and MIGA (part of the World Bank Group) Performance Standards, this guide consolidates knowledge and lessons regarding grievance resolution from various sources, including on-theground experiences of the CAO, findings from studies on grievance resolution in the workplace and in environmental conflict resolution, and from practical experience in establishing peace accords and procedures in postconflict disputes over land and property. The methodology also included an extensive review of existing information on grievance mechanisms from the field of conflict resolution and interviews with industry personnel, academics, NGOs, international financial institutions, consultants, and others with experience of grievance mechanisms. 

As grievance resolution mechanisms are increasingly adopted, companies and communities must learn how to design and implement these systems cooperatively and more effectively for their potential to be realized. This guide will equip people interested in initiating a grievance resolution program with the practical steps and tools they need to be successful in efforts to address community concerns and promote improved relationships, fair remedies, and just procedures.

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