MICI strengthens its virtual meetings to manage complaints during the Covid-19 pandemic

Since the introduction of telework for all IDB Group employees, field missions have been postponed until the necessary conditions are met, without in any case implying a suspension of the management of ongoing complaints or paralysis of the processes. On the contrary, in the last two months dozens of virtual meetings have been held with the different interlocutors of each complaint, using multiple channels and platforms based on particular situations.

MICI has adopted new ways to work —maintaining remote proximity— with each of the Parties in its active complaints portfolio, following the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic and international travel restriction in most countries. The Mechanism is especially sensitive to the technological limitations and difficulties of internet access in many communities in the region. For this reason, and depending on the capabilities of each interlocutor, we make use of a variety of virtual communication tools to ensure accessibility to the Mechanism.

It is undeniable that not being able to physically meet with our Requesters nor knowing the projects first-hand represents an added difficulty for processes that are ordinarily already complex, such as dispute resolution processes or compliance investigations. This physical presence is fundamental to our work, but just as important is finding creative alternatives to address communities’ concerns regarding IDB Group projects.

As an example, in the management of the complaint Productive Infrastructure Program in Caracol, Haiti, multiple follow-up meetings have held that require interpretation of Haitian Creole. To achieve this, three virtual platforms have been used at the same time; with some Requesters participating through a conventional telephone connection, while others joined by video-conference through MS Teams. The Consultation Phase is also making progress in the evaluation process for the Ruta del Cacao 4G Toll Road complaint in Colombia, despite the extreme complexity that virtual consultations to each of the potential Parties to a dialogue introduce to the process.

Regarding the processes in the Compliance Review Phase, continuous contact has been maintained with Management and Requesters to update them on the status of the complaints related to the Alto Maipo project, in Chile, and the project Generadora San Mateo S.A. and Generadora San Andrés S.A., in Guatemala. In the case of the Ituango Hydroelectric Project in Colombia, it is essential to inform the nearly 500 applicants regarding the state of the investigation and the temporary cancellation of the investigation mission, providing certainty that the investigative work has not stopped but have had to adapt to a new reality.

The Mechanism understands the concern and uncertainty that this exceptional situation may create in the parties involved in a MICI process and redoubles its efforts to ensure maximum availability to serve all parties. For this reason, we reiterate our commitment and conviction that, as an accountability mechanism, MICI’s work requires us to be flexible and able to adapt to the circumstances of those for whom the mechanism was created.