Submitting an environmental and social complaint

Any person or group of persons affected by an AFD-funded project from an environmental or social point of view may submit a complaint via this complaints mechanism.

Once the complaint has been submitted, it is recorded by the Mechanism Secretariat, under the supervision of AFD’s Ethics Advisor. A panel of independent experts subsequently decides whether it is eligible and, if this is the case, handles the complaint.

Thanks to this mechanism, AFD is strengthening the monitoring of the environmental and social risks of the projects it finances. The aim is to enhance its transparency and accountability towards its partners.

► Who can submit a complaint? [+]

The complaint must:

  • Be submitted by one or several natural or legal persons affected by an AFD-funded project
  • Only concern the environmental and social aspects of the project
  • Concern projects conducted in foreign countries
  • Be submitted as a last resort, when the author of the complaint has exhausted all the possibilities for dialogue and the use of out-of-court redress procedures with the contracting authority or AFD.

► How to submit a complaint? [+]

The form available here should be used.

Complaints may be sent:

  • By e-mail to the address:
  • By post to:
    • Agence Française de Développement
      Secrétariat du Dispositif de Gestion des Réclamations Environnementales et Sociales
      5, Rue Roland Barthes
      75598 Paris Cedex 12
  • Or be delivered by hand at AFD’s headquarters or in its network of agencies .

 A standard form can be downloaded here.

► Handling of complaints [+]

The Mechanism Secretariat, under the supervision of AFD’s Ethics Advisor, is the permanent entry point for the reception and follow-up of complaints.

The Secretariat undertakes to acknowledge receipt of a complaint no later than ten working days after its direct receipt, and no later than eighteen days when the complaint is sent to a local agency.

The complaint is recorded if:

  • The author of the complaint or, where applicable, its authorized representative, is identified
  • The project is described and the environmental and/or social impacts are explained
  • The efforts made by the author of the complaint to settle the disputes are described
  • The project is financed by AFD
  • The complaint is issued within two years of its author becoming aware of the facts

Complaints are subsequently handled by a panel of independent experts, who initially assess their eligibility on the basis of criteria set out in the Rules of Procedure.

Additional information may be requested from the author of the complaint.

If the complaint is deemed eligible, it is handled using one or both of the following methods:

  • Dispute resolution, which seeks to restore a dialogue between the author of the complaint, or its representative, and the counterparty in order to find a solution to the problems that led to the complaint. It ends when the parties concerned reach an agreement or when, in the opinion of the experts, no further progress towards achieving dispute resolution is possible;
  • A compliance audit, which determines whether or not AFD has complied with its environmental and social risk management procedures and, if this is not the case, recommends remedial measures. An action plan is then proposed and its implementation is monitored.

A Mechanism Activity Report will be published on this page every year.

Last update in March 2017

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