On November 22 the World Bank Board of Directors approved a Management Action Plan intended to address the Inspection Panel’s investigation of the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project (TSDP), which has been of long-term concern for BIC’s child rights program. Commitments in the Action Plan include strengthening the capacity of local governments in Uganda to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, supporting survivors of abuse in seeking legal redress and health services, and reviewing safeguards implementation in all relevant projects in Uganda.
This project was intended to upgrade and rehabilitate the Kamwenge-Fort Portal road, but resulted in serious harm to children and communities living near the road, including many cases of child sexual abuse and teen pregnancies caused by road workers. In 2014, BIC’s child rights program worked with the Ugandan Organization Joy for Children to support affected communities living near the road in filing a complaint with the Inspection Panel. The Inspection Panel’s report found that World Bank oversight and supervision of the project was lacking on several fronts, and that the Bank had failed to comply with its own policies and procedures.
It is our obligation to properly supervise all investment projects to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are protected in our work. As a result of this case, we are now undertaking systemic institutional changes in how we respond to violations of our safeguard policies.
- World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
In addition to approving the Action Plan, the Board of Directors and Management also met to discuss lessons learned from the Uganda TSDP, and their implications for systemic issues such as environmental and social provisions for tendering, bidding and contract awarding, oversight and staffing for safeguards, and response to community complaints.