Engaging Civil Society in Pakistan
Representatives from some 50 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from various regions in Pakistan participated in a two-day outreach event CAO co-hosted on March 29 and 30. Pakistani civil society was informed about CAO’s dispute resolution and compliance resolution work, and the work of independent accountability mechanisms across the globe. The event served to promote dialogue between the mechanisms and civil society, and to learn about the experiences and concerns related to promoting accountability in projects financed by multilateral development banks in Pakistan.
The six-hour online seminar included a joint presentation by various accountability mechanisms on their investigation and dispute resolution work, and a session on the role of international development actors in Pakistan and the experience of civil society in engaging with accountability mechanisms. The various plenaries generated interactive discussions around questions and concerns raised by participants. These included: how communities can know which international finance institution is financing development projects in their regions, how accountability mechanisms can help build the capacity of local communities to engage the mechanisms, the degree to which these mechanisms are truly independent of their parent institutions, and how they can help protect communities in the event of threats or reprisals.
The event was co-hosted by the independent accountability mechanisms of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Project-affected People’s Mechanism, the Asian Development Bank’s Accountability Mechanism, and the World Bank Accountability Mechanism. Several leading CSOs in Pakistan working on community development, human rights, and accountability issues also co-hosted the event.