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IFC Sponsors Law Week in Vanuatu to Promote Awareness of Mediation Benefits

Port Vila, Vanuatu, November 19, 2009 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is sponsoring the University of South Pacific’s 2009 Law Week, and will conduct forums to increase public awareness on using mediation as a way to resolve disputes quickly and amicably.
During the forums from November 23 rd to November 27 th in Tanna and Santo, IFC will explain mediation and its benefits to the public. Mediation is a confidential and informal way of resolving a dispute between parties with the help of a neutral third person—a mediator. Parties are referred by a court to participate in mediation if all parties consent. This process of court-referred mediation recently was established at the Supreme Court in Port Vila.  
A typical dispute may involve a business contract disagreement between a buyer and seller. Resolving such disputes through the courts can be costly and time-consuming. According to the IFC-World Bank’s Doing Business 2010 report, it takes on average 30 procedures and 430 days to resolve a business dispute, at a cost of 74.7 percent of the claim amount using standard litigation processes.
“A mediator works directly with parties involved to help them reach a mutually agreeable and lasting solution to their differences,” said Sonali Hedditch, IFC Investment Policy Officer. “A typical outcome sees parties resolving their issues quickly and on good terms.”
Parties in mediation have greater control over the process, and court-referred mediation increases the courts’ efficiency. IFC has sponsored the training of new mediators in Vanuatu and accredited them, and they will be available to undertake mediations referred by the Supreme Court of Vanuatu.
IFC works with the Vanuatu government to improve the investment climate, supporting economic growth and job creation through private sector development. The governments of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand support IFC’s program in Vanuatu.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD , it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping implement reforms such as those benefiting businesses in Vanuatu.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .