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Glossary

Term Category Definition
Active Complaint Stage An active complaint is a complaint that is currently undergoing the IAM process. Active complaints do not include complaints in monitoring or complaints that have been closed.
Advisory services IFI Support Type Non-lending activities, such as advice or technical assistance, that help clients advance specific objectives or sectors. Examples may include feasibility studies or other early-stage project research, expert consultants to support legal reform, capacity building for clients, and workshops and training programs.
Agribusiness Sector Project relates to the agricultural industry, including smallholder operations. Examples may include support for production, distribution, capacity building, and access to credit.
Biodiversity Issue Complaint raises concerns about impacts on plant or animal species in the natural environment.
Chemicals Sector Project relates to the development or production of chemical compounds, including construction and operation of production facilities.
Civil Society Organization Organizations Civil society organizations (CSOs) are groups that represent the collective pursuit of shared interests and values. CSOs may be international, national, or local and include community-based organizations, village associations, cooperatives, professional associations, labor unions, and environmental and human rights groups.
Client Project The client of an international financial institution (IFI) is the entity provided with funds to manage and/or implement an IFI project. Clients may be public or private entities.
Closed Complaint Stage A complaint is closed when the relevant IAM is no longer addressing the complaint. Complaints in monitoring are not considered closed. Closed complaints are categorized as "Closed With Outputs," "Closed Without Outputs," or "Closed With Outputs Outside Process."
Closed With Outputs Complaint Stage A complaint is closed with outputs when the IAM process completes at least one substantive phase with a tangible output. For compliance review, a tangible output is a publicly disclosed compliance report. For dispute resolution, a tangible output is a settlement. Where sufficient information about dispute resolution settlements is available, those concerning only procedural matters or minor interim issues are not categorized as outputs.
Closed With Outputs Outside Process Complaint Stage A complaint is closed with outputs outside process when it produced a tangible output outside of the formal IAM process.
Closed Without Outputs Complaint Stage A complaint is closed without outputs when it did not achieve any tangible outputs. This includes unregistered and ineligible complaints, as well as eligible complaints that failed to produce tangible outputs.
Community capacity and development Sector Project relates to programs targeted at training, capacity-building, and/or enabling public participation for specific groups within the community.
Community health and safety Issue Complaint raises concerns related to public health and safety including incidents of or an increase in accidents, release of hazardous materials, and spread of diseases. Concerns related to retaliation and/or violence are not included.
Complainant Complaint The complainant is the individual(s) and/or entity who filed the complaint. Complainants are usually those directly affected by the project, but may also be representatives of directly affected people, CSOs, IAM or IFI leadership, or IFI clients.
Complaint Complaint A complaint is a submission to an IAM that raises concerns about actual or potential harm related to an IFI-supported project.
Complaint Process Complaint The complaint process is the IAM's process for addressing complaints. The complaint process generally includes the following stages: registration, eligibility, dispute resolution and/or compliance review, and monitoring. The specific process and terminology varies by IAM.
Compliance Review (CR) Complaint Stage Compliance Review (CR) is an investigation by an IAM into whether the IFI followed relevant social and environmental safeguard policies in its administration of the project that is the subject of the complaint. Compliance review is completed when the IAM publishes a compliance report with findings regarding the IFI's compliance with relevant policies.
Conservation and environmental protection Sector Project relates to preservation or management of the natural environment, legal frameworks regarding environmental protection or pollution, and carbon sequestration or other climate change mitigation activities.
Consultation and disclosure Issue Complaint raises concerns regarding inadequate or absent consultation about or disclosure of project information, including project impacts and/or mitigation plans.
Corruption/fraud Issue Complaint raises concerns about corruption and/or fraud related to the project. Most IAMs cannot address corruption or fraud concerns.
Cultural heritage Issue Complaint raises concerns about impacts on any type of tagible or intangible cultural heritage, including significant sites, unique environmental features, cultural knowledge, and traditional lifestyles.
Displacement (physical and/or economic) Issue Complaint raises concerns about physical relocation, loss of shelter, and/or loss of assets that relate to income or livelihood.
Dispute Resolution Complaint Stage Dispute Resolution (DR) is a voluntary dialogue process facilitated by the IAM in which the parties seek mutually agreeable solutions to the concerns raised in the complaint. Parties to the dialogue include the complainants and the IFI client, project implementer, and/or IFI. Dispute resolution is completed if the parties reach a substantive settlement.
Due diligence Issue Complaint raises concerns about inadequate or absent prior investigation of project impacts.
Education Sector Project relates to schooling at all levels, public or private, including support for policy reform, educational infrastructure, teachers, and broader acess to education.
Eligibility Complaint Stage Eligibility is the stage of the IAM process in which the IAM determines whether a complaint meets all of the criteria to advance to a substantive phase of the complaint process. Specific eligibility criteria vary by IAM.
Energy Sector Project relates to energy access, legal frameworks regarding the energy sector, and development and operation of energy infrastructure, including power generation and electric and gas distribution and storage. Projects specifically related to the extraction of oil and gas are not included.
Environmental Issue Complaint raises concerns regarding environmental impacts that do not refer specifically to water, pollution, or biodiversity.
Equity IFI Support Type Direct investment in companies by buying shares of a company.
Extractives (oil, gas, mining) Sector Project relates to the extractive industries, including oil, gas, and mining. Examples may include mines, drilling operations, pipelines, and the associated legal frameworks.
Filing Complaint Stage Filing is the date that the IAM received the complaint.
Financial Intermediary IFI Support Type Loan or equity investment in a company in the financial industry, including banks, private equity funds, and insurance firms, for the purpose of on-lending.
Forestry Sector Project relates to forests, including preservation and management of natural forests, and operation of forest plantations.
Gender-based violence Issue Complaint raises concerns about incidents of or an increase in abusive behavior perpetrated because of a person's gender, or against people of a particular gender. This can include overt physical abuse, psychological abuse, deprivation of resources needed for physical or psychological wellbeing, and treatment of people as commodities.
Gender-related Issue Complaint raises concerns regarding impacts on individuals because of their gender identity that do not relate specifically to gender-based violence.
Grant IFI Support Type Financial award that does not have to be repaid.
Healthcare Sector Project relates to healthcare infrastructure and services, including healthcare policy and access.
Human rights Issue Complaint frames concerns using the language of human rights violations.
Independent Accountability Mechanism (IAM) Accountability An independent accountability mechanism (IAM) is a citizen-driven complaint office of an IFI that operates independently of the IFI project teams. IAMs receive and respond to complaints regarding social and environmental concerns related to IFI-supported projects. Most IAMs offer two functions for addressing complaints: dispute resolution and compliance review.
Indigenous peoples Issue Complaint raises concerns about impacts on indigenous or traditional communities.
Infrastructure Sector Project relates to construction or improvement of large structures, facilities, or public works projects. Examples include roads and other transportation projects, sanitation and water treatment facilities, power plants, and industrial facilities.
International Financial Institution (IFI) Bank International financial institutions (IFIs) are publicly financed banks and other agencies that operate internationally and often have a development mandate. IFIs include multilateral development banks and national development banks and export credit agencies. IFIs provide support for projects through a variety of financial instruments, including loans, grants, insurance guarantees, equity investments, and technical assistance.
Labor Issue Complaint raises concerns about violations of appropriate labor standards related to the project, including issues regarding compensation, workplace conditions, retaliation, and child or forced labor.
Land reform Sector Project relates to development of or changes to legal frameworks regarding land tenure.
Livelihoods Issue Complaint raises concerns about impacts on the means by which people make a living, including wage-based income, trade and bartering, agriculture, fishing, foraging, and other natural-resource based means.
Loans IFI Support Type Lending activities to governments or private sector clients, sometimes below market-rate.
Manufacturing Sector Project relates to large scale production of goods, including production capacity and infrastructure.
Monitoring Complaint Stage Monitoring involves documenting the implementation of settlements reached in dispute resolution, or steps taken by the IFI to correct noncompliance findings in a compliance report. Specific monitoring practices vary by IAM.
No IFI Involvement IFI Support Type Complaint was filed about a project that did not receive support from the relevant IFI.
Other Issue Complaint raises concerns about impacts that do not fit in one of the other categories. Complaints about which there is no publicly available information regarding the issues raised are also included.
Other IFI Support Type IFI provided support that does not fit in one of the other categories. Projects about which there is no publicly available information regarding the type of IFI support are also included.
Other Sector Project relates to an industry that does not fit in one of the other sectors. Projects about which there is no publicly available information regarding the industry are also included.
Personnel Issue Complaint raises concerns about human resource issues related to the IFI. Most IAMs cannot address personnel concerns.
Pollution Issue Complaint raises concerns about releases of pollutants related to the project, including hazardous or non-hazardous chemicals, minerals, metals, pathogens, odors, noise, vibration, radiation, light, and heat.
Procurement Issue Complaint raises concerns about the process for obtaining goods or services related to the project. Most IAMs cannot address procurement concerns.
Project Project A project refers to an activity supported by an IFI often for the purpose of furthering economic development. The scope of IFI projects is broad, and may include building infrastructure, reforming laws and institutions, strengthening the financial sector, developing private corporations, or investing in public goods such as conservation or education. A single project may be supported by multiple IFIs.
Property damage Issue Complaint raises concerns about specific harm to property, including buildings, land, or property value. Concerns related to physical or economic displacement, pollution, or community health and safety are not included.
Registration Complaint Stage Registration is the initial stage of the IAM process, in which the IAM determines whether the complaint meets basic threshold criteria for moving forward. Registration criteria vary by IAM, and is not undertaken by all IAMs.
Regulatory Development Sector Project relates specifically to development or reform of legal frameworks, including laws and regulations.
Retaliation (actual or feared) Issue Complaint raises concerns about incidents or risk of harm against those who have raised concerns about the project perpetrated by the project company, government, public or private security forces, or other individuals acting on behalf of project proponents. Retaliation may include discrimination, slander, threats, denial of services, unfounded judicial proceedings, and termination of employment. Concerns regarding specific incidents of violence are not included.
Risk Guarantee IFI Support Type Insurance provided to mitigate key non-commercial risks, which may relate to the viability of the project or assist project investors to access funding.
Status Complaint Status refers to a complaint's state in the IAM process. A complaint's status can be Active, Monitoring, Closed With Outputs, Closed With Outputs Outside Process, or Closed Without Outputs.
Supporting Groups Organizations Supporting groups are civil society organizations (CSOs) that provide assistance to complainants. This may include research, reviewing complaints, advising complainants as they move through the IAM process, and/or assisting with advocacy at the relevant IFI. Supporting groups are generally not directly named in a complaint or are named in a supporting role only.
Violence against the community Issue Complaint raises concerns about incidents of violence against community members or activists perpetrated by the project company, government, public or private security forces, or other individuals acting on behalf of project proponents.
Water Issue Complaint raises concerns about access to or availability of water. Concerns related to water pollution are not included.