Early Warning System Launched to Alert Communities to Investments that may Affect their Rights

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2013

Media Contact:

Amanda Kistler, Center for International Environmental Law, akistler@ciel.org, 202.742.5832

Washington, D.C.. Today, the Center for International Environmental Law and International Accountability Project launched the beta version of a new online tool that alerts communities to projects funded by multilateral development banks (MDBs) that could affect their rights. This Early Warning System is hosted on the website “Bank on Rights” featuring a searchable map that will allow communities to access key information about the projects that could affect them.

“Bank on Rights serves a dual function. It will provide communities with the information they need about projects as early as possible so that they can advocate for themselves and prevent human rights abuses,” says Emily Joiner, Policy Program Coordinator at International Accountability Project. “The website also provides the tools for communities to submit a complaint and connect with national and international groups for support.”

The goal of MDBs is to alleviate poverty; however, without sufficient guarantee of respect for human rights, some MDB-financed projects leave the very people the Banks aim to benefit even worse off. In Guatemala, more than 400 people were massacred in the 1980s to make way for the Chixoy Hydroelectric dam that received funding from both the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. More recently, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation funded the Dinant palm oil project in Bajo Aguan, Honduras, where over 80 supporters of peasant movements have been killed in the past three years.

“Twenty years ago, CIEL was instrumental in creating the Inspection Panel, the first-of-its kind accountability mechanism at the World Bank,” says Kristen Genovese, Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law. “The Early Warning System takes it to the next level and provides a tool for communities and civil society to hold MDBs and their member states accountable to international human rights law.”

Bank on Rights provides a birds-eye view of MDB funding patterns. Visitors can search for MDB-funded projects by location, sector, or rights implicated. The site also allows users to sign up for alerts, which will automatically deliver an email when a new project of concern has been proposed for MDB funding. The initiative comes as the World Bank conducts a review of its environmental and social policies, in which many organizations have called on the Bank to ensure that it respects human rights in all of its lending activities.

The website can be accessed here: www.bankonhumanrights.org.


Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is committed to strengthening and using international law and institutions to protect the environment, promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy research, analysis, education, training and capacity building.

International Accountability Project is a human rights advocacy organization that seeks to end development-forced eviction and create new global policy and practice for development that respects people’s homes, environment and human rights. IAP works closely with groups and networks in the Global South to win policy change, boost local advocacy efforts, and support grassroots activists and communities to access influential decision-making spaces and advance development principles that prioritize human rights.