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Accountability and complaints procedures

Compliance with IFAD's social and environmental policies

IFAD Complaints Procedure for alleged non-compliance with its social and environmental policies and mandatory aspects of its Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP)

IFAD-funded projects and programmes are designed in a participatory manner, taking into account the concerns of all stakeholders. IFAD requires that projects are carried out in compliance with its policies, standards and safeguards. Moreover, IFAD's Strategic Framework calls for ensuring that projects and programmes promote the sustainable use of natural resources, build resilience to climate change and are based upon ownership by rural women and men themselves in order to achieve sustainability.

The objective of the IFAD Complaints Procedure is to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to allow individuals and communities to contact IFAD directly and file a complaint if they believe they are or might be adversely affected by an IFAD-funded project/programme not complying with IFAD's Social and Environmental Policies and mandatory aspects of SECAP.

Complaints must concern environmental, social and climate issues only and should not be accusations of fraudulent or corrupt activities in relation to project implementation – these are dealt with by IFAD's Office of Audit and Oversight.

Eligibility criteria 

To file a complaint for alleged non-compliance with IFAD's social and environmental policies and mandatory aspects of its SECAP, IFAD will consider only complaints meeting the following criteria:

  • The complainants claim that IFAD has failed to apply its social and environmental policies and/or the mandatory provisions set out in SECAP.
  • The complainants claim that they have been or will be adversely affected by IFAD's failure to apply these policies.
  • Complaints must be put forward by at least two people who are both nationals of the country concerned and/or living in the project area. Complaints from foreign locations or anonymous complaints will not be taken into account.
  • Complaints must concern projects/programmes currently under design or implementation. Complaints concerning closed projects, or those that are more than 95 per cent disbursed, will not be considered.

The process

The complainants should first bring the matter to the attention of the government or non-governmental organisation responsible for planning or executing the project or programme (the Lead Agency), or to any governmental body with the responsibility for overseeing the Lead Agency. If the Lead Agency does not adequately respond, then the matter may be brought to the attention of IFAD. The issue may be brought straight to IFAD if the complainants feel they might be subject to retaliation if they went to the Lead Agency directly.

The Regional Division will examine the complaint and, if necessary, will contact the Lead Agency, or the governmental body with the responsibility for overseeing the Lead Agency, to decide if the complaints are justified. If the complainants request that their identities be protected, IFAD will not disclose this information to the Lead Agency or anyone else in government.

If the complaint is not justified, the Regional Division will inform the complainants in writing.

If the Regional Division finds the complaint is justified and there is proof of actual or likely harm through IFAD's failure to follow its policies and procedures, IFAD will take action. This may consist of making changes to the project/programme, or requiring that the government observes its obligations under the Financing Agreement. IFAD's response will focus bringing the project/programme into compliance and no monetary damages will be available or paid in response to such complaints. The complainants will be informed of the outcome of the issue by the Regional Division. 

In all cases, if the complainants disagree with IFAD's response, they may submit a request to and request that an impartial review be carried out by the Office of the Vice-President.

The Office of the Vice-President will decide on the steps to be taken to examine such complaints, including, if necessary, contracting external experts to review the matter. The complainants will be informed of the results of the review.

IFAD will include in its Annual Report a list of received complaints and a summary of actions taken to address them.

How to submit a complaint

A complaint relating to  non-compliance with IFAD’s Social and Environmental Policies and mandatory aspects of its SECAP can be submitted in any of the following ways:


If you email or mail your complaint, please include the following information:

  • Name, address, telephone number and other contact information
  • Whether the complainants wish to keep their identity confidential, and if so, why
  • Name, location, and nature of the IFAD project/programme (if known)
  • How the Complainants believe they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by the IFAD-supported project or programme

Complaints sent by mail should be addressed to:

SECAP Complaints (PMD)
Via Paolo di Dono 44
00142 Rome, Italy