E & S Complaints Mechanism

Any individual, group or community harmed by environmental or social incidents caused by an AFD-funded project can file a complaint with the Mechanism.
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works, Guadeloupe
The Mechanism is managed by a Complaints Office, acting independently of the AFD Operations Division. It is overseen by the Ethics Advisor. Independent experts take part in various complaint treatment steps, as detailed in the rules of procedure.

This Mechanism strengthens the transparency and accountability of AFD-funded projects and operations.


electricity, energy, Vietnam

The complaint must:

  • be submitted by one or several natural or legal persons affected by an AFD-funded project;
  • exclusively concern the environmental and social aspects of the project;
  • concern projects funded in foreign countries;
  • be made as a last resort, when the complainant has exhausted the possibilities of dialogue and out-of-court redress procedures towards the beneficiary of AFD funding.


Cap insertion, Mauritania, training

Complaints may be sent:

Agence Française de Développement
Secrétariat du Dispositif de gestion des réclamations environnementales et sociales
5, Rue Roland Barthes
75598 Paris Cedex 12

  • By hand delivery to AFD headquarters as per the address above or to an AFD field office.


Geopoppy project, computer, Côte d'Ivoire

The Complaints Office is the permanent entry point for the reception of claims and their follow-up, under the supervision of AFD’s Ethics Advisor.

The Complaints Office acknowledges receipt of a complaint within ten working days following reception.

Complainants may request that their identity remain confidential.

The Complaints Office will register the complaint if it:

  • Identifies the complainant(s)  or its authorized representative ;
  • Describes the environmental and/or social harm that prompted the complaint filing;
  • Concerns an AFD-funded project ;
  • Describes, the efforts made by the complainant to resolve the issue(s), or describes the situation if the complainant fears that doing so would aggravate the dispute or damage ;
  • Is delivered within two years after discovering the harm and within five years after AFD has made its final disbursement.

When a complaint is registered, a detailed admissibility review is conducted based on the criteria set in the rules of procedure. An Admissibility Committee makes a final decision about the complaint’s admissibility and its further treatment. It is composed of one representative from the following AFD departments: compliance, legal, transparency and accountability. It is chaired by the Ethics Advisor. 

The Mechanism offers two ways of handling admissible complaints:

  • The conciliation process consists of using a neutral, independent and impartial third-party to help find an agreement between the complainant or his/her representative and the AFD-financed beneficiary to resolve the environmental or social issue cited in the complaint. It ends when the parties reach an agreement or when, in the opinion of the conciliator, no additional progress towards the dispute resolution is possible ;
  • The compliance review process aims to determine whether AFD has complied with its environmental and social standards and to recommend remedies in cases of non-compliance. In such cases, AFD responds with an action plan, then monitored by the Complaints Office.

The list of admissible complaints, information on cases management as well as a yearly report on the mechanism’s activities are published online.