Community of Practice
In 2019, the IRM formed the Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) partnership to offer leadership, a learning and knowledge platform and a meeting space to an increasing number of GRAMs that are emerging in different spheres.
The GRAM partnership is informal and initially consisted of the Audit office of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GRAM partnership is open to participation from other interested grievance mechanisms, academic institutions and civil society organisations. Since its inception, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Accountability Counsel, Amfori, the Access to Remedy Institute and the grievance mechanisms of Fondo Acción, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Development Bank of Southern Africa have joined the partnership. The GCF IRM will provide Secretariat services to the GRAM partnership, given that capacity development of GRAMs of direct access entities is within the mandate of the IRM.
For more information on the GRAM partnership, take a look at the GRAM Partnership Concept Note.
Small Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) face particular challenges due to their size and limited resources. These can hinder the effectiveness of the mechanism, in particular by limiting its independence, transparency and accessibility. For this reason, it is important to design and manage a grievance redress mechanism according to its purpose and function. The first webinar of the Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) Partnership hosted by the Independent Redress Mechanism of the Green Climate Fund in April 2021 provided guidance on how to design and administer a fit for purpose mechanism by highlighting existing GRMs which strike this balance.
Paco Gimenez-Salinas, Arntraud Hartmann, and Charline Daelman presented respectively on the Independent Redress Mechanism of the Green Climate Fund, the Independent Complaint Mechanism (ICM) of Proparco, FMO and DEG, and the Supply Chain Grievance Mechanism (SCGM) of amfori. The ICM is an accountability mechanism shared by three development banks across three European countries while the SCGM addresses grievances related to multiple private companies. Through these case studies, the presentations presented different models and innovative solutions to operate a small but effective redress mechanism.
You can access the presentations’ slides here.
Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) address the grievances of people or communities affected by projects funded by their parent organizations. It is thus key to ensure that these communities have access to the GRMs. However, barriers, such as a lack of knowledge of the mechanism, language or technology barriers, hinder this access, impeding the right of communities to remedy.
In the video below, senior staff Margaux Day, Stephanie Amoako, Robi Chacha Mosenda of Accountability Counsel, Sarah Dorman of the Center for International Environmental Law, and Victoria Marquez-Mees of the Independent Project Accountability Mechanism of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provide concrete examples of the challenges communities face in trying to access grievance mechanisms and offer practical recommendations to enhance accessibility while managing retaliation risks and ensuring the safety of complainants. The presentations are rich in their content and use case studies to anchor the knowledge in real-life experiences.
This edited video is from the second webinar of Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) Partnership which was hosted by Accountability Counsel in July 2021. 97 participants attended, mostly representing grievance mechanisms, international accountability mechanisms and civil society organisations. You can access the presentation slides here.
The United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights identify eight effectiveness criteria for non-judicial grievance redress mechanisms: legitimacy, accessibility, predictability, equitability, transparency, rights-compatibility, being a source of continuous learning, and being based on engagement and dialogue. Through its Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has conducted extensive research on how to translate these criteria into real life practices. In the video below, Benjamin Shea, who leads this research at OHCHR and Jennifer Zerk, lead legal expert for the ARP, share their findings with a focus on legitimacy and rights-compatibility. To illustrate these points, Anna Triponel, Business and Human Rights Advisor at Triponel Consulting, Alexandra Guaqueta, Global Practice Leader at Rio Tinto, and David Simpson, Director of the Independent Review Mechanism of the African Development Bank, provide insights and practical recommendations from their experience in the public and private sector.
This edited video is from the third webinar of the Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) Partnership hosted by OHCHR in October 2021. 98 participants attended the webinar contributing to a rich exchange of ideas across grievance redress mechanisms and civil society. You can access the presentation slides here.
The relationship between a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) on the one hand, and those who manage the parent institution on the other, can be a challenging one. Appropriately managing that relationship is key to protecting the GRM’s independence, legitimacy and overall effectiveness.
In this video (see the bottom of this page), senior staff of the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) of the United Nations Development Programme address this challenge. Paul Goodwin, Head of the unit, Richard Bissell, Lead Compliance Officer, and Christine Reddell, Research Specialist, provide an overview of good practices in handling those challenges. They focus on three imperatives: (1) ensuring independence, (2) maintaining transparency and addressing its impacts on the parent organization, and (3) managing expectations of different stakeholders regarding the mechanism’s activities.
This edited video is from the Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) Partnership final 2021 webinar which was hosted by SECU. 50 participants attended, mostly representing grievance mechanisms of direct access entities of the Green Climate Fund. You can access the presentation slides here.
The fifth performance standard (PS5) of the IFC’s Environmental and Social Safeguards on Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement outlines how companies are encouraged to prevent involuntary relocation and mitigate the impact on those who are displaced through mitigation measures such as fair compensation and improved living conditions.
In the video below, Tiffany Hodgson, Ben Schoeman, Arntraud Hartmann and Lalanath de Silva provide practical guidance on resettlement and land acquisition issues and lessons learned from previous cases in Uganda and Cambodia.
This edited video is from the fifth webinar of the Grievance Redress and Accountability Mechanism (GRAM) Partnership, which was hosted by the IRM in March 2021. Most participants represented grievance mechanisms of direct access entities of the Green Climate Fund.
For additional resources on the webinar:
Performance standards are crucial for organisations to mitigate the risks and impacts of projects. Many standards provide an international benchmark to identify and manage risks around environmental and social conditions, labour conditions, pollution, health and safety, land acquisition and resettlement, biodiversity conservation, indigenous peoples, cultural heritage and other issues.
The 6th GRAM Webinar, held in collaboration with the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (MICI) of the Inter-American Development Bank on 21 June 2022, focused on performance standards and how they have been applied in cases, using both problem solving and compliance review methods.
Angela Miller, Principal Environmental and Social Specialist, introduced the IDB Invest standards around Informed Consultation and Participation (ICP), Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples (FPIC) and Broad Community Support (BCS). This presentation was followed up with an introduction by MICI Director Andrea Repetto Vargas. The webinar concluded with presentations by Martin Packmann on a MICI dispute resolution case on an electricity reconstruction programme in Ecuador and Maria Elisa Dugo on a MICI compliance review case on a wind energy project in Mexico.
The incorporation of human rights standards in policies can help grievance mechanisms deliver on their own mandates and respond to evolving regulatory demands. It also sends a clear message from the organisation to individuals potentially impacted by a project that they will not be left behind in the development process.
The 7th GRAM webinar, hosted by the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 5 October 2022, focused on how to meaningfully integrate human rights principles and requirements in safeguard policies and grievance mechanism processes.
The 8th GRAM webinar on the 31st of March 2023 was hosted by the GCF’s Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM) and focused on handling complaints through a flexible sequencing approach. Herein, cases do not have to follow the standard order of mediation followed only by a compliance review if the parties cannot come to an agreement. The webinar discussed the strengths and weaknesses of using parallel processing or hybrid models when managing a complaint.
Joining the GRAM partnership
The GRAM partnership consists of individual members and institutional partners.
The GRAM partnership consists of over 150 voluntary members from grievance redress and accountability mechanisms (GRAMs), civil society organizations, academic institutions or programmes and international and regional agencies. Members have access to GRAM partnership activities. If you're interested in becoming a GRAM partner, we invite you to fill out this form.
GRAM partners provide leadership to the partnership, meet together, adopt annual work plans, facilitate funding for the activities of the GRAM partnership (when possible) and facilitate the general governance of the GRAM partnership. A new institutional partner can be proposed by any existing GRAM partner, and can be added to the partnership with the agreement of existing partners. The 14 existing partners include:
- Access to Remedy Institute
- Accountabilty Counsel
- Black Sea Trade and Development Bank
- Development Bank of Southern Africa
- Fondo Accion GRM
- Global Rights Compliance
- Independent Complaint Mechanism (IKI ICM)
- Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM GCF)
- OECD Centre for Responsible Business Conduct
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Pacific Regional Environment Programme
- Social Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER)
- Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU UNDP)
Online Training on Grievance Redress Mechanisms
The IRM has developed an online training course on key concepts relating to Grievance Redress Mechanisms, which is available on the “GCF iLearn platform.” Primarily designed for strengthening the GRMs of Direct Access Entities of the Green Climate Fund, this course is equally beneficial for individuals and institutions interested in learning about how to set up and implement an effective GRM.
Self-Assessment Report of the IRM
In “Remedy in Development Finance,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommends that Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs) assess themselves against the eight effectiveness criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In the IRM's self-assessment report, the IRM evaluates its performance against the 82 indicators set out by OHCHR.
The IRM presented these findings during an April 2022 webinar with the IAMnetwork. The self-assessment scoresheet template that the IRM used can be downloaded here.
Resources on Setting up and Operating Grievance Redress Mechanisms
The IRM has collected a variety of resources and toolkits to provide general guidance and references to those looking to implement a grievance mechanism.
CAO Grievance Mechanism Toolkit
Joint FCPF/UN-REDD Programme Guidance Note for REDD+ Countries: Establishing and Strengthening Grievance Mechanisms
IPIECA’s Community Grievance Mechanisms Toolbox
The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretative Guide
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The Practice of Grievance Redress, World Bank
IFC Good Practice Note: Addressing Grievances from Project Affected Communities
OHCHR Accountability and Remedy Project