Grievance Mechanism

The aim of the grievance mechanism is to provide people or communities fearing or suffering adverse impacts from a Global EbA Fund project with the assurance that they will be heard and assisted in a timely and independent manner. Each grievance case is reviewed to understand whether a potential breach of principles, standards or procedures has occurred. In doing so, it should also contribute to:

  • monitor and improve the environmental and social outcomes of projects,
  • avoid unintended negative impacts of projects that go unnoticed
  • support the appropriate use of public funds, and
  • comply with international good practice

Please note, the grievance mechanism addresses complaints regarding noncompliance with negative social and/or environmental impacts and/or misuse of funds and corruption. It does not consider complaints regarding the rejection of funding proposals.

IKI Independent Complaint Mechanism (ICM)

The mechanism is intended to enable people who suffer (potential) negative social and/or environmental consequences from IKI projects, or who wish to report the improper use of funds, to voice their complaints and seek redress.

The complaints mechanism is based at Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH, Germany’s project management agency for the IKI funding programme. With the change of leadership of the IKI, the lead responsibility for the complaint mechanism also lies with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), which also works closely with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and the Federal Foreign Office.


The Independent Complaint mechanism of IKI (IKI ICM) follows established international good practices of other accountability mechanisms associated with the Independent Accountability Mechanism Network. Its procedure is based on Germany’s human rights treaty obligations as well as standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

  • Everybody who – as a consequence of an IKI-supported project – either claims to have suffered negative effects arising immediately from the implementation, or wants to report profound negative environmental impact resulting immediately from the implementation of an IKI-funded project, and/or wants to report misuse of funds or corruption.
  • To protect complainants and whistle-blowers, the anonymity of complainants can be ensured, among others through an anonymous mailbox, which allows communication back and forth.
  • IKI ICM addresses complaints regarding noncompliance with negative social and/or environmental impacts and/or misuse of funds and corruption. It does not consider complaints regarding the rejection of funding proposals.
  • Complainants can choose between a mediation-based alternative dispute resolution procedure in which the IKI ICM facilitates a voluntary process between the parties to reach a mutually accepted solution to the issues raised in the complaint, and a compliance review, in which the IKI ICM assesses compliance with ZUG and implementing organisations with IKI safeguards and budgetary and funding law as well as their direct management by ZUG.
  • IKI ICM is located within ZUG, but is structurally and financially independent. It consists of a panel of three independent experts (currently being recruited) and a complaint office. It can be reached at

The IKI Independent Complaint Mechanism (ICM) works worldwide to help resolve issues concerning IKI projects.

  • Any person or a group of persons, or a community that has been or may be affected negatively by an IKI project may file a complaint.
  • Also, persons wishing to do so can report integrity and/or corruption issues, such as misuse of funds, fraud etc.
  • Last but not least, , if persons experience reprisals in relation to an IKI project or a complaint, they can also use this channel. The affected person(s) can authorise a representative to file and pursue the complaint on their behalf.

A complaint can be filed in English, or in the local language of the complainant. Where possible, a translation should be provided in English. Otherwise, the IKI ICM will have the complaint translated and respond in the language of the complainant.

The IKI ICM will provide confidentiality upon receiving a complaint if requested to do so by the complainant. This includes the names and identities of complainants and any designated representatives. Where disclosure may be required to address the complaint, the IKI ICM will consult with the complainant prior to disclosing any confidential information.

File a complaint

A complaint with the ICM can be filed by filling out the online complaints form:

  • sending the complaints form by post to:  IKI Independent Complaint Mechanism c/o ZUG gGmbH, Stresemannstrasse 69–71, 10963 Berlin, Germany
  • sending a voice or video recording
  • by telephone at +49 30 700 181108 (landline)

Complaints should include the following information:

  • Name, location and type of IKI project related to the complaint;
  • Description of the complaint and the harm caused or expected to be caused;
  • Description of how the harm caused or expected to be caused relates to IKI project activities;
  • Name, address and other contact details, and information on the level of confidentiality to be maintained. The complainant can also decide to remain anonymous, however in this case the panel might not be able to use the full range of its tools.

If possible, the following information should also be provided:

  • Relevant information relating to the complaint or relevant to the complaint (e.g. copies of documents, media reports, photos, video recordings, voice recordings);
  • Overview of measures (e.g. legal steps, access to other complaint mechanisms and/or dispute resolution procedures, contact with the implementing organisation) planned or already taken to resolve the issue, in particular, prior recourse or attempts to contact project officials locally or use project-based complaint mechanisms;
  • Name of the employee(s) in the implementing organisation with whom the complainant(s) had contact (where applicable).
IUCN Grievance Redress Mechanism

Any community, organisation, project stakeholder or affected group (consisting of two or more individuals) who believes that it may be negatively affected by the executing entity’s failure to respect IUCN ESMS principles, standards, or procedures may submit a complaint. Representatives (a person or a local organisation) can submit a complaint on behalf of a community, project stakeholder or affected group. Anonymous complaints will not be considered, however, complainants’ identities will be kept confidential upon their written request.

The following requests are not eligible:

  • complaints with respect to actions or omissions that are the responsibility of parties other than IUCN and the relevant executing entity under its authority in the context of the project;
  • complaints filed after the date of official closure of the project; or
  • 18 months after the date of the official closure of the project in cases where the complaint addresses an impact resulting from project activities that was not, and reasonably could not have been, known prior to the date of official closure;
  • complaints that relate to the laws, policies, and regulations of the country, unless this directly relates to the entity’s obligation to comply with IUCN’s ESMS principles, standards and procedures;
  • complaints that relate to IUCN’s non-project-related housekeeping matters, such as finance, human resources and administration;
  • complaints submitted by the same claimant on matters they submitted to the grievance mechanism earlier, unless new evidence is provided;
  • complaints that relate to fraud or corruption or to the procurement of goods and services, because they fall under different mechanisms. Reports of fraud or corruption in a project should be directed to the confidential Anti-Fraud Hotline. Complaints about the procurement of goods and services, including consulting services, should be directed to the IUCN office responsible for the particular procurement.
Three-stage process for grievance redress

To be practical and cost-effective, the resolution of complaints should be sought at the lowest possible level. The IUCN grievance mechanism follows a three-stage process.

Stage 1. The best approach is a ‘Deciding together’ method to resolving grievances involves project management (executing entity) and the affected party reviewing the conflict and deciding together on a way forward that advances their mutual interests. This reflects the fact that local and country authorities often have better information on and understanding of the causes of disputes arising from project implementation.

The executing entity should respond to grievances in writing within 15 calendar days of receipt.

Stage 2. The complainant can escalate their concern to the next level if no solution to the complaint is found or the claimant is not satisfied with the response, by contacting the nearest IUCN office (Country Office or Regional Office). The IUCN office will file the claim and respond to the claimant within 15 calendar days of receipt.

Stage 3. If these two stages have not been successful, the complainant can forward the grievance to the centralized IUCN Project Complaints Management System. Complainants should explain that good-faith efforts have been made to first address the problem directly with the executing entity and then with the nearest IUCN office. It is important to underline, though, that if the concern is sensitive, the complainant fears retaliation or for any other justified reason, the first two stages can be skipped and the complaint can be submitted straight to the Project Complaints Management System.

Submitting a complaint (Stage 3)

A complaint can be submitted to the Project Complaints Management System in several ways:

  • by post to IUCN Head of Oversight, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland;
  • by fax to +41 22 999 00 02 (indicating IUCN Head of Oversight as addressee); or
  • by telephone at + 41 22 999 02 59

A written complaint sent by post, fax or email should include the following information (in any language):

  • complainant’s name, address, telephone number, fax number and email address and valid proof of representation if the complaint is filled by the representative of a legal person/entity;
  • description of the project or programme concerned;
  • the harm that is, or may result from IUCN’s and/or the project executing entity’s failures torespect IUCN’s ESMS principles, standards, or procedures;
  • the principle, standard, or procedure (if known) allegedly breached;
  • actions taken to solve the issue, including previous contacts with the executing entity and the nearest IUCN office (stages 1 and 2 of Figure 2) and reasonably detailed explanations why these stages have not provided a satisfactory solution; and
  • list of supporting documents and attachments, as appropriate.

A template for the complaint mechanism is available on the IUCN website.

UNEP Stakeholder Response Mechanism

The UNEP Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework: Stakeholder Response Mechanism informs and guides staff, implementing and executing partners and people affected by UNEP projects in bringing and responding to safeguard-related stakeholder responses concerning compliance review and dispute resolution in the context of the UNEP’s Environmental and Social Sustainability (ESS) Framework – 

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