This conference examined issues, challenges and opportunities in the context of an ongoing review of World Bank lending safeguards and Inspection Panel reforms, an effort to frame a post-2015 global development agenda, and a new planned development fund led by the BRICS countries.

2014 Conference Program:

Welcome Remarks


Professor Andrew Schoenholtz, Director of the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute

Panel I: The Substance of Lending Safeguards


The World Bank is currently in the process of revising its lending safeguards. But how should human rights law and principles be incorporated into the Bank’s major activity—lending? The first panel will focus on the substantive content of current lending safeguards, how certain rights are specifically implicated by the lending practices of multilateral development banks and how they might be taken into account in revised World Bank safeguards. The panel will discuss one or more area of rights and feature the experiences of those directly affected by lending.

Nadejda Atayeva, President of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia Leonardo Crippa, Senior Attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center
Jessica Evans, Senior Researcher/Advocate on International Financial Institutions at Human Rights Watch
Dr. Bharat Patel, General Secretary of Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS)

Ian Kysel (Moderator), Dash/Muse Fellow with the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute

Keynote Address 


William Treanor (Introduction), Executive Vice President of Georgetown University and Dean of the Law Center
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Founder and Executive Director of Tebtebba, the Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education

Panel II: Independent and Robust Oversight Mechanisms


The second panel will focus on oversight mechanisms, including the World Bank Inspection Panel, which many view as under threat by potential reforms. This panel will focus on what is required to make accountability mechanisms effective (including procedural requirements, like staffing and independence, and substantive requirements, like remedial powers and clear safeguards). The panel will also discuss how oversight works (or does not work) at other bilateral and multilateral donor agencies and World Bank Group entities, including by looking at recent examples, such as the findings of the International Financial Corporation’s Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman in the Dinant case.

Richard Bissell, Executive Director of the National Academy of Sciences Division on Policy and Global Affairs
Kristen Genovese, Researcher with the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
Meg Taylor, Vice President at the International Financial Corporation and the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman at the International Financial Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Professor Edith Brown Weiss (Moderator), of Georgetown University Law Center and former Chairperson of the World Bank Inspection Panel.

Panel III: What Shapes How Multilateral Development Banks Promote Human Rights?


The final panel will focus on key external factors that can advance or inhibit the role of human rights in the work of multilateral development banks such as the World Bank. Topics may include the proposed new BRICS development fund, UN efforts to mainstream human rights, and the actions of individual donor governments, such as efforts by the United States Congress to condition assistance and by Nordic Countries to target assistance. The panel will also discuss the role of affected individuals and civil society in shaping the development agenda of multilateral development banks.

Caio Borges, Attorney in the Business and Human Rights Program at Conectas Direitos Humanos
Mac Darrow, Chief of the Millennium Development Goals Section of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
Siobhán McInerney-Lankford, Senior Counsel with the World Bank LEGAM (appearing in her personal capacity)

Professor Alvaro Santos (Moderator), Georgetown University Law Center