ELLA Policy Brief: Community Participation in IFI-Funded Development Projects: Latin America’s Experience

Abstract

Major development projects involving infrastructure or extractive industries - both in Latin America and other regions - tend to be financed, either partially or totally, by international financial institutions (IFIs). Given that these types of large-scale projects could have adverse effects on local communities’ livelihoods, cultural heritage and environment, IFIs have established mechanisms to guarantee that the projects they fund meet international environmental and social standards. Though not perfect, such mechanisms do at least allow organised citizens to access project information and to demand concrete ways to get engaged in project decision making. Using a successful case from Mexico, this Brief reflects on the role of informed citizen participation as a crucial factor facilitating accountability within development projects with international funding.

Key Lessons:

Citizen participation from the onset of IFI-funded development projects enables identifying environmental and social risks.

Local people’s participation is needed throughout all phases of the project cycle, so they have the opportunity to make decisions regarding their own lives.

Informed citizen participation can enhance accountability not only within development projects, but also through spill-over effects on accountability at the community and country level.

Citation

González, M. ELLA Policy Brief: Community Participation in IFI-Funded Development Projects: Latin America’s Experience. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 6 pp.

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