Global Policy Forum

Archived Articles on Global Governance


Global Governance

2004 | 2003 | 2001 | 1999 | Back to current articles


When He Eats Little, She Eats Less (September 24, 2004)

In this Guardian article, economist Noreena Hertz shows how IMF and World Bank policies disproportionately hurt women. These institutions impose stringent loan conditions such as privatization and limited public expenditure. Hertz points out how falling public investments in water and sanitation force women to walk long distances for water and risk their personal safety. Also, in order to repay their vast debts, poor countries export cash crops, leading to scarcity of essential foodstuffs domestically. Women then sacrifice their own food intake in order to feed their families. According to Hertz, "debt is a feminist issue."

IMF and the World Bank: Is Reform Under Way? (July 22, 2004)

The critical issue in reforming the IMF and World Bank is determining if the organizations "pursue efficiently their primary objectives, which are the stability of the international financial system and the fight against poverty." This article outlines common criticisms of the institutions as well as steps that are (and are not) being taken to address them. (BBC)

Re-thinking the Role of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—On the Occasion of Their 60th Birthday (July 8, 2004)

Sixty years after their founding, the Bretton Woods Institutions remain the dominant bodies in development but face strong opposition to their role in shaping globalization. This article examines the challenges in governance, public trust, and effectiveness that the World Bank and the IMF encounter after a half century’s failures to effectively address development issues. (Hunger Notes)

PRSP: Are the World Bank and IMF Delivering On Promises? (April 28, 2004)

This Caritas Internationalis report investigates the outcomes of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in 19 countries and challenges the effectiveness of the IMF and World Bank in the PRSPs. The report argues that the Fund and the Bank prevent countries from obtaining “broad ownership” of the PRSPs, causing the slow progress of poverty programs in these countries.

ECOSOC/BWI Meeting: Joint NGO Statement (April 26, 2004)

Addressing the 2004 High Level ECOSOC Meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO, NGOs called on strengthening the Financing for Development process by giving it a firm intergovernmental framework and strengthening its secretariat. NGOs also called for more decision making power in these institutions. (Third World Network)

Africa Wants Bigger Say at IMF (April 25, 2004)

At the World Bank and IMF spring meeting in Washington, some African countries and the Group of 24 demonstrated their dissatisfaction. The Group of 24 argued that the selection process for the managing director of the IMF falls short of being transparent and inclusive. (BBC)

The World Bank and IMF at Sixty: Plus ça Change? (April 5, 2004)

For sixty years, the World Bank and IMF have remained the world’s chief development institutions. During this time, these institutions have pushed neoliberal, “heterodox trade,” and privatization policies in poor countries. Citing numerous project failures and critical public scrutiny, this article examines the extent to which these institutions have changed their policy on liberalization, privatization and fiscal austerity. (Bretton Woods Project)

Activists Target IMF, World Bank on Their 60th Birthday (March 17, 2004)

The collapse of the WTO meeting in Cancun and the FTAA talks in Miami fuelled global justice activists with optimism. However, this Common Dreams article argues that the IMF and World Bank “remain tougher nuts to crack.” After sixty years in existence and ten years of extensive lobbying by activist groups, little has changed in these institutions.

Plunder and Profit (March 4, 2004)

This article argues that the IMF and World Bank lock poor countries into failed policies through international trade agreements whilst promoting the interests of multinational corporations. Since 1985, the Bolivian government has privatized state-owned assets and services and opened its markets to global trade, yet remains the poorest country in Latin America. (InTheseTimes)

Water Privatization Fails to Fulfil Its Promises (February 9, 2004)

Poor countries face mounting pressure from international financial institutions to privatize their water resources. This article argues that imposing privatization as a requirement of development funding “undermines democracy and local capacity to address needs.” (id21)

World Bank, IMF and Armed Conflicts: Helping Peace or Creating the Conditions for War? (February 2, 2004)

This article examines the extent to which World Bank and IMF policies contribute to the emergence of violent conflict and civil war. The article draws on the work of various researchers, including Susan Woodward who argues that in the case of Yugoslavia, the “socially polarizing and politically disintegrating consequences” of IMF policies contributed to the its “implosion.” (Bretton Woods Project)


The Future of Multilateralism after Monterrey and Johannesburg (October 2003)

This report, analyzes the barriers to the multilateralist approach to economic and social policy. It concludes that world politics are at a turning point, at which multilateralism can further democratic cooperation. Jens Martins of WEED offers policy reforms of UN Institutions and other global powers to realize these goals. (Dialogue on Globalization)

The World Bank and the IMF: Hidden Makers of the Global Trade System? (September 12, 2003)

Before the establishment of the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF shaped the international trade system and pushed for controversial policy reforms. NGOs argue that they must now take their share of responsibility for a trade system that puts increasing pressure on the world’s poor. (Action Aid, Center of Concern, Environmental Defense)

World Bank and IMF Announce Plans to Support Developing Countries (August 20, 2003)

World Bank President James Wolfensohn and IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler, eager to see a successful conclusion of the Doha round, have announced a new plan to assist poor countries in their economic adjustments to meet the WTO requirements. (World Bank)

Harmonization and Coherence: White Knights or Trojan Horses? (July 30, 2003)

The World Bank, WTO, and IMF have called for greater harmonization and coherence in their policy, yet the meaning of such concepts remains unclear and contested. Bretton Woods Project discusses possible implications, including making development policies “coherent” with unfair trade policies.

The Spoils of the War on Poverty (July 2, 2003)

The G-8 and inter-governmental financial organizations use the rhetoric “fighting poverty” to appear to be helping the world’s poor. Realistically, their liberalizing economic policies and one-size-fits-all development plans create greater global inequality. (Guardian)

More Bad News for Small Farmers (June 2003)

International financial institutions (IFIs) push for greater cooperation between developing countries and the WTO. To respond to the increased influence of IFIs on the trade policies of their borrowing countries, NGOs must adapt by finding strategies that similarly link trade and finance. (MIJARC News)

Civil Society Press for IMF, World Bank Transparency Reforms (June 2003)

NGOs are critical of the World Bank’s and IMF’s lack of openness and public consultation. Information and mechanisms to monitor these economic powerhouses is essential to the work of NGO’s, and to the well-being of global loan receiving societies. (Bretton Woods Project)

America First (May 21, 2003)

The US has always heavily influenced multilateral financial and trade institutions, pushing the interests of the US Treasury and Wall Street. However, now the Bush administration bypasses the institutions altogether in favor of bilateral agreements, allowing the US to exert even more power over weaker partners. (Guardian) *

The Economics of Empire (May 2003)

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, dominated by the US, impose neoliberal economic policies on much of the developing world, with disastrous results for poorer countries. Meanwhile, wealthy countries hypocritically violate their professed “free trade” principles when it suits them to do so. (Harper's)

Don't Turn the World over to the Bankers (May 2003)

After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s, commercial bankers took charge of development financing, engulfing the developing world in waves of speculative instability and debt crises. (Le Monde diplomatique)

The World Bank, the IMF and 'Results': Increasing Dominance in Development Policy Lending (April, 2003)

A report by the Bretton Woods Project argues that the UN is better placed to follow up and report on the Millennium Development Goals than the World Bank and the IMF. Rather than extending their roles in policy analysis, the Institutions should scale back and focus on reporting on the impacts of their own lending.

The Green Shoots of Global Democracy? (March 16, 2003)

Members of parliaments from all over the world met with World Bank and IMF representatives in Athens to discuss these institutions’ policies. According to Faisal Islam of the Observer, the global dialogue raised hopes of a genuine democratization of global governance.

Shooting the Money Changers (March 3, 2003)

A Canadian columnist argues that the current floating system of international exchange has led to a rampant increase of global financial speculation. This makes smaller or developing countries particularly vulnerable. The author appeals for a mechanism to eliminate speculative currency trading.(YellowTimes)

The Invisible Hand of the American Empire (March 13, 2003)

This detailed analysis proposes that the US controls and influences international financial mechanisms for its maximum benefit. Organizations including the WTO, IMF and World Bank back policies that secure US corporate dominance and enable unprecedented military spending. (Open Democracy)

Africa's War on Terror Targets Poverty (February 27, 2003)

Africa's new development plan, Nepad links poverty and instability to conflict and terrorism. By stressing interdependence between African and G7 nations, Nepad's blueprint aims to stop the inequality of past trade treaties. Critics of Nepad are not optimistic about the prospects for success. (BBC)

A New Anti-Poverty Remedy for Africa? (February 12, 2003)

Critics charge that the recent World Bank/IMF Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) still incorporate structural adjustment policies that have consistently failed in the past. This reveals that the Bank and the IMF continue to promote economic liberalization and globalization at the expense of “poverty reduction.” (Africa Recovery)

Argentina, US Searching for New Policy Guidelines (January 29, 2003)

A senior Argentinean official announced that the US and Argentina will work together to rethink the “Washington Consensus” development model of free trade, deregulation, and privatization in response to the Latin American economic crises. The economist who first coined the term will work with Latin American economists to create a new development model.


What Are We For? (September 6, 2001)

Globalization has led to increased poverty, injustice, subordination, anti-solidarity and ecological disasters. New institutions are needed to replace the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO as they serve strictly the interests of the elite. (ZNet)


UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions: Is More "Coherence" Needed? (February 23, 1999)

A speech by James Paul, Executive Director of GPF, reviewing the changing relationship between the U.N. and the Bretton Woods Institutions and calling for new ways of making those institutions more responsive to democratic processes.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.