Africa Investments 

The Third Review of the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

The Resolution of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, which established the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), as amended in 2015, calls for the Boards of Directors of the AfDB to review the performance of the IRM every four years. The review draws on the lessons learnt by the IRM from handling requests and from the experience of similar Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) with a view to improving the functions of the IRM.

The first and the second reviews of the IRM performance were undertaken in 2009 and 2014, respectively. The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the third review were approved by the Boards in February 2019 and started in December 2019.

According to the TOR, the review’s objectives are as follows:

  • To thoroughly assess the extent to which the IRM has been an effective recourse mechanism for people affected by Bank Group-financed operations, and a useful accountability instrument for the AfDB. This analysis also considers the effectiveness of the Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (BCRM) in administering the IRM and handling cases through problem-solving exercises, and compliance review; and
  • To propose recommendations for the revision of the present IRM Enabling Resolution and its Operating Rules and Procedures to clarify ambiguities and to review the roles and functions of the BCRM and the IRM Roster of Experts in order to enhance their support of the Boards’ overall responsibilities.

The review is being conducted on behalf of the Boards of the AfDB by Savanas E Enseadas, the Review Team (RT), which was selected following a competitive bidding process.

Savanas E Enseadas is an independent consultancy firm specializing in development strategy and business solutions with its headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal. The firm’s experts have over 25 years of experience in Africa in the fields of sustainable development and inclusive growth, as well as knowledge of and experience with accountability mechanisms.

Using a combination of primary and secondary documentation, desk review and interviews from a variety of stakeholders and sources, the Review Team has conducted and completed the first two phases of the review based on the TOR.

The Review Team submitted its draft report in June 2020 to the Acting Director of the BCRM, the Senior Management of the Bank and the Boards’ Committee on Operations and Development Effectiveness (CODE) for their review and comments. The ensuing Revised Draft Report on the Third Review of the IRM was submitted to the Acting Director of BCRM in July 2020.

The Boards of Directors of the AfDB, and the BCRM/IRM have not yet adopted, approved, or endorsed any part of the Revised Draft Report or its recommendations. Consultations about the Revised Draft Report and its recommendations remain ongoing.

Neither the Bank, the Boards of Directors nor the IRM are bound by the recommendations in the Revised Draft Report.

No part of the Revised Draft Report may be used, copied, or reproduced for any purpose, including in any administrative or judicial proceeding, without prior written consent.

In line with the Boards’ approved TOR, the Revised Draft Report is to be posted on the Bank’s website for a period of forty-five (45) calendar days to enable external stakeholders and interested parties to make comments on the Report. As a result, the Boards of Directors will publish the Revised Draft Report of the Third Review of the Independent Review Mechanism  and invites all interested parties to submit their comments and observations by no later than  02 November 2020.

All the information to be collected during this first public consultation period will be considered by the Review Team and incorporated, as appropriate, into the Revised Draft Report.

After the first phase of public consultation, the Revised Draft Report will be posted on the Bank’s website for a second period of forty-five (45) calendar days for public review and comments.

Please note that the proposed amendments to the IRM Operating Rules and Procedures referenced in the Draft Report are works in progress and will be posted on the Bank’s website together with the Revised Draft Report during the second phase of public consultations. In the meantime, we invite stakeholders wishing to comment specifically on the IRM’s Operating Rules of Procedures to use the existing 2015 Rules (attached)  as a reference and guide.  Based on the comments received during this second phase of public consultation, the Review Team will prepare another revised draft report, which will be discussed by the CODE.

Comments can be provided via this Comments Page and will be treated as confidential.

By consenting to provide comments, parties acknowledge and accept the foregoing.


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