Centers Launch Guides on Making Access to Information Requests, Appealing Denials at World Bank, IFC

Toby Mendel
Executive Director, Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)

The Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and Bank Information Center (BIC), an organization in the United States working to reform the development finance system, have launched two guidance documents on making requests for information at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with tips for navigating the two institutions’ access to information systems.

CLD and BIC launched the Guides at a virtual workshop held on February 16, 2023, during which they shared and discussed tips for navigating the World Bank Group’s access to the information system.

The simple, user-friendly Guides, each of which are six pages long, describe and explain how to submit requests for information to the two institutions and how to appeal their decisions when a request is denied.

One Guide, titled “Accessing Information from the World Bank: A Guide to Making Requests and Appealing Denials”, describes how to submit a request for information to the World Bank and how to appeal if the Bank refuses the request.

Presented predominantly in Question and Answer format, the Guide notes that the Bank’s “Policy on Access to Information” governs the public’s access to information in the Bank’s possession and is accompanied by a Directive, which provides more detailed guidance on the implementation of the Policy.

The second Guide is titled “Accessing Information from the International Finance Corporation: A Guide to Making Requests and Appealing Denials”.  It explains that the IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and provides financing, advice and management services to private enterprises in developing countries with the aim of advancing economic development by investing in for-profit projects.

Elana Berger
Executive Director, Bank Information Center (BIC)

According to the Guide, the IFC Access to Information Policy governs the public’s access to information in the corporation’s possession.

It notes that the IFC makes certain information routinely available to the public on its website, such as some information about its own operations and also has procedures around regularly releasing information about its projects, including a summary of investment information and certain social and environmental information.

The Guide explains that information about the IFC-supported projects can be searched at a Disclosure Portal, adding that when seeking information that is not available already, the IFC’s Policy allows the person seeking information to request such information from the IFC with the Guide detailing how to submit a request and appeal a denial of such request.  The guidance is also presented in Question and Answer format.

Explaining the rationale and purpose for the Guide, Mr. Toby Mendel, CLD’s Executive Director, said: “Although both the World Bank and IFC have had access to information policies in place for many years now, public awareness of these procedures is limited,” adding that “Even where people do file a request for information, they may not know how to file an appeal if their request is denied. These Guides provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to do this.”

The Guides are available at: Accessing Information from the World Bank and Accessing Information from the International Finance Corporation.