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Mediation

When progress can’t wait, mediate

Jeff Delmon's picture
Photo by Flickr user uberof202

In public private partnerships (PPPs), it’s easy to forget that third “P,” but it’s this concept of a partnership that ensures the health and sustainability of the public-private relationship. Conflict can undermine the PPP relationship, or be used to strengthen it – and that’s why mediation is an important option for PPPs.

Mediation is simply a facilitated negotiation.  It is a very flexible format for resolving differences in international infrastructure projects, as each mediator can structure the process in the manner most appropriate to the situation.  Resolution achieved by mediation is not limited to remedies provided by law, allowing for bespoke settlements that satisfy both parties.

Does it help to complain?

Jan Mattsson's picture

Masai in KenyaIt is a year since I blogged about my early impressions of the Inspection Panel and specifically a complaint from a Maasai community that was resettled to accommodate a geothermal plant in Kenya.

Since then I have heard variants of the question: Do accountability mechanisms make a difference?  In this case, I believe the Inspection Panel has made a positive contribution. But the ultimate test of the effectiveness of the Bank process, of which the Panel is only one part, must be the redress of any harm caused. Signs are encouraging, and we shall see.

We submitted our investigation report in early July. The Board meeting in October resulted in a clear direction for the future (see press release). This was followed by the Panel’s debriefing of the community and other stakeholders in Kenya. 

As we analyzed the facts it became clear the Bank had failed to bring to bear its rich experience with resettlement and the full force of its safeguard policies. This had negative repercussions for many of the project-affected people, especially the poor and vulnerable.

In a nutshell, the requirement to engage resettlement expertise was not met, consultations were hampered by the absence of Maa language and by sidelining the traditional Maasai authority structure, and there was no effective monitoring against a comprehensive socio-economic baseline. We also highlighted many positive aspects, including the climate-neutral generation of electricity and the investment in new infrastructure for schools and dwellings in the resettlement area.