Civil society meets in Mexico to discuss independent accountability mechanisms
By Alexandre Andrade Sampaio, Programs and Policy Coordinator, IAP
In June 2016, representatives of International Accountability Project (IAP) and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) participated in a Workshop on Accountability Mechanisms and Civil Society, which was organized by Fundar, Centro de Análisis e Inverstigación, Centro de Colaboración Cívica (CCC), the Grupo Regional sobre Financiamiento e Infraestructura (GREFI), and by Independent Accountability Mechanisms. More than 80 representatives of civil society organizations coming from 8 countries (Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, USA, Luxemburg and Peru) participated in the seminar in Mexico City.
The main focus of the event was to provide CSOs with information on accountability mechanisms of development banks, their policies, the advantages and disadvantages of their utilization; and to open a space for dialogue between the mechanisms and local organizations and communities potentially affected by projects financed by the banks.
Carla García Zendejas (CIEL) presented information on the Early Warning System. Carla described how the EWS identifies projects that are likely to adversely affect human and environmental rights of communities. As its name indicates, the Early Warning System has the objective of informing those who could be affected by projects in a timely manner so they can consider the advantages and disadvantages of the enterprise. The EWS also offers support and technical suggestions on how to react in order to influence the decision process.
The EWS utilizes accessible language to analyze project documents that are often very technical. The EWS staff also keeps in constant contact with those interested in their analyses and can offer support to communities in the form of informational workshops in order to dialogue about possible managing and participation methods on the projects identified by the system.
For the EWS to work as idealized, it is necessary to have the collaboration of organizations and communities that could be affected and/or that are close to project locations. At the conclusion of our presentation, several organizations demonstrated interest in the activities of the EWS, also indicating how they could amplify the reach and effectiveness of the system. We will keep in touch with them and we hope that these will become long-term alliances.
IAP and CIEL would like to thank the organizations that participated in the Mexico workshop, which not only fulfilled its main objectives, but also contributed to the establishment of future partnerships to broaden the scope of the Early Warning System.