Grievance Mechanisms

In addition to their potential for fostering sustainable development in host countries, large-scale investment projects can sometimes have adverse effects, including employment conflicts or even human rights violations, leading to grievances from third parties, such as workers or local community members.  

Host country governments should ensure that courts or other judicial processes are accessible to those third parties for addressing investment-related grievances. Governments can also establish non-judicial grievance mechanisms to complement these processes. Such grievance mechanisms can serve as a useful forum for the expression of community and worker concerns or the resolution of disputes, which in turn can help to ensure greater stability and commercial certainty for the investment project. Non-judicial grievance mechanisms might be especially useful when a country’s judicial system is already over-burdened and lacks capacity to resolve disputes in a timely manner.

As well as ensuring adequate judicial remedies and potentially developing state-run non-judicial grievance mechanisms, governments can also require or encourage investors to develop their own operational-level grievance mechanisms. Such grievance mechanisms would be operated by the investor or a designated third party, and can be designed to resolve investment-related disputes or grievances using conciliation and negotiation, or through more adjudicatory processes. In addition to state-based and operational-level grievance mechanisms, individuals and communities seeking redress may also have access to other grievance mechanisms in certain contexts, such as those established by international financial institutions financing part or all of the investment or by relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Key Tools At This Stage

Rights­Compatible Grievance Mechanisms: Guidance ToolHandling and Resolving Local Level Concerns & GrievancesEBRD Guidance Note on Grievance ManagementFCPF Grievance Redress Mechanism ManualEvaluating a Grievance Redress Mechanism