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2013


The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has issued a new report on the rising influence of the BRICS countries. As their economies are rapidly growing the BRICS' global responsibilities are gaining. This paper analyses the responsibilities that the BRICS need to maintain and promote in particular with regard to their membership in the UN’s Security Council to progress the nations' peacekeeping and efforts towards a new world order.

Video Introduction: Global Fund for Decent Work and Social Protection (July 15, 2013)

SOLIDAR, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Global Network and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors have produced a short video on a proposal for a new Global Fund for Social Protection. The UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, and on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepulveda, have proposed to set up a fund in order to support the efforts to build viable social protection systems, especially in the poorest countries. The video featuring Olivier De Schutter, gives an introduction to the proposal. (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)


2012

EU Banking Talks Make Slow Progress (May 2, 2012)

European Union institutions and finance ministers have been quarreling about the degree to which new global standards for banking capital and liquidity need to be applied uniformly. The European Commission is keen on harmonizing standards to secure a level playing field. Countries such as the UK and Sweden, on the other hand, want to retain some freedom to set the standards they deem fit, especially since under current circumstances, taxpayers will still have to pay the price if a new crisis was to arise. All in all, it appears that political leaders are still not willing to do what it takes to fundamentally improve financial stability. (Wall Street Journal)

Lobbyists, Guns and Money (March 25, 2012)

Public political life across the globe is being increasingly shaped by Multinational Corporations (MNCs). Policy organizations funded by these companies do not “just influence laws, [but] literally write them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators.” In this New York Times article, op-ed columnist Paul Krugman takes the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as an example to illustrate the vast power corporations and associated policy institutions have in shaping policies. In Virgina, for example, more than 50 ALEC written bills have been introduced. These bills are generating immediate benefits to ALEC’s corporate sponsors while creating an even more corporate friendly political climate.  (New York Times)

Britain’s Shadow Government: Unelected, Unbalanced and Unaccountable (March 12, 2012)

Governments intentions are revealed by those who join their ranks, rather than by the manifestations they draft. The people they appoint are an index to the interests they serve and expose the gulf between what a government claims to be and what it is. This Guardian article is “about the network of unelected committees, boards and commissions, operating below the public radar.” Acclaimed author George Monbiot denounces the web of unelected bodies that, quietly and without effective public scrutiny or restrain, draft and enforce policies, disburse money, regulate – or rather fail to regulate – business. (Guardian)

We Need to Know Who Funds These Thinktank Lobbyists (February 20, 2012)

Throughout the last decades, the Heartland Institute has been leading the war against climate science in the United States, commissioning global warming curriculums for schools, which teach that "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy" and "whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial." Now, recently leaked documents reveal what many already suspected, namely that the institute is primarily funded by tobacco firms and fossil fuel companies This guardian op-ed piece highlights the shocking, fascinating and entirely unsurprising truth that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” (Guardian)

Time to Take Control of the Rating Agencies (January 16, 2012)

In this op-ed, Aditya Chakrabortty argues that rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s are correctly criticized for the opacity of their methods and the often disastrous consequences of faulty judgments. But the most worrisome thing about them is their power and lack of accountability. Chakrabortty recounts several instances in which the ratings oligopoly ignored the probable consequences of their actions and hid behind their "neutral" but key function in the world economy. According to the author, credit ratings belong in public hands, preferably in the form of a new UN agency. (Guardian)

Leaderless Global Governance (January 13, 2012)

According to MIT development economist Dani Rodrik, the “rebalancing” of international economic power that is gradually taking place, likely heralds the decreasing importance of multilateral institutions and the scope for “global cooperation.” Leading emerging economies like China and India will be less willing to accept global rules on domestic policies and so the space for global rulemaking will prove limited. In light of this, Rodrik insists that cooperative efforts should focus on “naturally” global and vital areas like climate change and global macroeconomic stability, and less so on “beggar thyself” policies such as the use of trade tariffs and subsidies. Doing so will prioritize issues of the global commons and give countries more space to choose their own development paths. (Project Syndicate)

2011

Why is it so easy to save the banks – but so hard to save the biosphere? (December 16, 2011)

Although progress made in Durban was greater than most environmentalists expected, the outcome cannot be called successful. In this op-ed piece, Georges Monbiot compares climate summits, summits in which making progress “looks like using a donkey to tow a 44-tonne truck,” to agreements to help the banks, struck at economic summits without breaking sweat. By March 2009 for instance, the US Federal reserve had committed $7.7 trillion to save the banks – a figure which, even though it is only one’s government’s contribution, is 12 times as large as the annual global climate change bill. Monbiot’s raises the question of why it is so easy to save banks and so hard to save the planet. (Guardian)

Eurozone Crisis: Hopes of Recovery Recede While Recession Looms (December 11, 2011)

Only days after a UK-veto blocked an amendment of the Lisbon Treaty in order to insulate its financial sector from any kind of prudential regulations, the Bank of England, ironically, released a paper that calls for strong “rules-based” (instead of “principles-based”) regulations and revisits the merits of the abandoned Bretton Woods system. Its findings are however not merely a lesson for defenders of “the City,” but also a warning to those EU-leaders who persist in taking pro-cyclical measures as financial stability remains fickle and unemployment soars. (The Guardian)

From Brussels to Durban: Debt and Climate Crises Spotlight Free Riders (December 9, 2011)

In this Op-Ed piece of Yale Global, economist Scott Barrett contrasts the global negotiations on Climate Change with Europe’s fight to save the Euro. Both crises demonstrate the limits of collective action. Regarding the Euro, the problem is that poor fiscal discipline by any euro country threatens other members. In the case of climate change, the problem is that while the costs of reducing greenhouse emissions are borne by those countries taking action, the benefits are enjoyed by all. In both cases therefore, countries are tempted to become free riders, delaying their own response and collecting benefits without sharing the costs. According to Barerett, solving the free rider problem requires the global incentive structure to be reformed in a way that promotes planning rather than last-minute reaction. (YaleGlobal)

From the American Century to a Cosmopolitan Order (October 17, 2011)

In this short but forceful article, David Held characterizes the current “global era” as one of great opportunity and risk. On the one hand, global interconnections provide the world with opportunities to improve living standards and create peaceful co-existence for all. On the other hand, interconnectedness also implies interdependence and vulnerability. Even though innovations in international law have delegitimized the doctrine of “might makes right” in principle, they have not brought an end to it in practice. Held contends, however, that they are “stepping stones” towards an alternative model of politics and regulation that connects “rightful authority” to human rights and combines pluralism with inclusion. (openDemocracy)

A Web of Sleaze in Elegant Vienna (October 13, 2011) 

A series of corruption scandals reveal the close ties the Austrian government maintains with businesses. Five former ministers from the coalition of conservatives and right wing populists have been recently accused of partaking in various illicit transactions ranging from money laundering and bribery to abuse of office and misappropriation of funds. Put together, these five independent corruption scandals, cost the state billions of Euros. Peter Pilz, the spokesman for the Green Party, states “What has happened in this republic is nothing short of organized robbery. We should put […] them behind bars.” (Spiegel Online)

Emerging Markets Hit Economic Stage Like a Tonne of BRICS (September 25, 2011)

At the recent meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions in Washington DC, the BRICS countries warned developed countries to clean up their acts. Even though the BRICS recovered swiftly after the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, they are by no means able to help distressed developed countries through, say, IMF loans. Brazil, Russia, India and China still face tremendous challenges at home (poverty, inequality, unemployment) that would likely be intensified if they would further expose their economies to those of “the West.” Furthermore, increased South-South trade has led to greater inequalities within the South itself. Rather than a power-shift towards the BRICS, we are witnessing a crisis of global capitalism. (Inter Press Service)

World Bank, IMF Face Shifting Development Paradigm (September 17, 2011)

The need to change the modus operandi of development programs has been highlighted by Robert Zoellick, President of the WB and Christine Lagarde, Chief of the IMF. Both stressed the importance of finding innovative methods to raise funds for development, such as a global financial transactions tax, or a shipping fuel tax. In the light of the fact that women make up 40 percent of the global workforce, yet own only one percent of the world's wealth, Robert Zoellick and Christine Lagarde discussed the need to focus on women in development. These statements may suggest a shift in the WB’s and IMF’s development discourse and policies, but should be considered critically. (Inter Press Service)

The IMF And The World Bank Discover Equity (Sepember 16, 2011)

The September issue of the IMF’s Journal for Finance & Development suggests that economic inequality has become an issue of concern for the global economic managers. Previously, IMF-economists defended the rising income inequality. “We used to think that overall economic growth would pull everyone up. While the rich might be getting richer, everyone would benefit. That was the unspoken bargain of the market system.” Says Jeremy Clift, director of the journal. Now however, the IMF is publishing data that proves the opposite. Rising inequality is not only widening the gap between the rich and the poor, but is also breeding social resentment and political instability. (Social Watch)

Euro Debt Chaos a Crisis of Democracy (August 16, 2011)

In this Op-Ed article, professor Maduro of the European University Institute argues that Europe’s slow response to the eurozone crisis reflects a democratic deficit. This deficit is not however to be found between European institutions and “its” citizens, but rather “between national politics and European problems”. Member states often act as if their problems and those of others are purely national affairs, even when they affect each other significantly. According to Maduro, tackling this issue is necessary for “a credible solution to the eurozone’s crisis” because it will lead to more concerted action, and because it demands making the EU more accountable. (China Daily)

Global Governance at the Beginning of the 21st Century: What is the Role of the United Nations? (August 8, 2011)

In this speech, President Deiss of the General Assembly warns of the UN’s potential marginalization as a main actor in global governance by ad hoc organizations such as the G-20. The G-20 may be more effective than the UN in making quick decisions in tumultuous circumstances such as the financial crisis, but lacks the legitimacy only the UN can provide. According to Deiss, the UN should be strengthened as an umbrella organization for global governance through specific reforms. Its organization can then connect the G-20’s “leadership” to the “expertise” of specialized agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank and provide decision-making with its “unique legitimacy”. (UN News Service)

Lamy Urges Raising UN ECOSOC Profile (June 28, 2011)

In this speech Pascal Lamy (Director General of the WTO) restates his views on what the future of global governance should look like. Lamy argues that there is no realistic alternative to “globalization” save for “better globalization” which involves a more legitimate and efficient form of global governance. This “better” form is to be substantiated by the concerted efforts of the UN, specialized international agencies (such as the WTO, IMF) and  the G-20 (with the latter spearheading the group). Lamy asserts that the UN is especially important in this “network” because of its “remarkably positive perception by citizens” which should allow it to provide more legitimacy to its co-contributors. Lamy also envisions a greater role for ECOSOC - then on a political par with the Security Council - despite acknowledging that past proposals to that end have repeatedly fallen upon deaf ears. (WTO)

Bound To Fail (May 31, 2011)

The 2008 collapse of Wall Street sounded in the “Great Recession”. It also laid bare the contours of the next “world order” of global governance, according to Bo Ekman of the Tällberg Foundation. Ekman argues that a new world order comes into being after its predecessor fails to adapt to changing circumstances. The present world order is “bound to fail” because it is based on Western values and is organized around self-interested states, making it unfit to deal with border-crossing issues such as climate change. The next order can survive only if “the interest of the commons” is placed at the forefront of global deliberation and global problems are understood to need global solutions says Ekman. (Yale Global Online)

2010

Runaway Globalization Without Governance

The discourse on globalization is new but the phenomenon has been around for centuries. This author states that without global governance, globalization will worsen the state of the world. Historical examples are used, such as the international responses to the Bubonic plague and the Mongols' control of the Silk Road, to show that global governance structures can be successful. The failure of the world's most powerful countries, especially the United States, to cooperate in matters of international governance is a central challenge to global governance. Other obstacles include issues of sovereignty, national security and climate change. (YaleGlobal)

The need for a fair international debt work-out mechanism grows stronger as vultures gather over Argentina (January 14, 2010)

The international financial system works to protect creditors, not to promote development. The recent decision by a US judge that froze Argentinean Central Bank foreign reserves illustrates the need for a new international debt-dispute mechanism. Moreover, the IMF's recent dealing with Iceland - withholding obligated loans until Iceland's "international obligations are met" - proves the IMF acts in the dubious role as both lender-of-last-resort and debt-collector. (EURODAD)

2009

 

The South Also Exists... And It is Joining Together (December 2009)

COP 15 has shown that the world has global negotiation problems. Interests of rich countries do not match with those of the poor. New actors such as the G-77 have entered the global arena and South-South cooperation is strengthening both at economic and political level. (Social Watch)

Chile to Join the "Rich Man's Club" (December 22, 2009)

The OECD has invited Chile to join the organization. Currently a member of the G77, Chile will have to withdraw from the Group as soon as it signs the OECD agreement. Former UN official, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, said that it was an inevitable decision for big economies to leave the G77. Although the developing country group has lost some of its members such as Mexico, South Korea and Romania, it still remains as a significant bloc in international debates. (Terraviva)

Europe's Bumbling Search for an International Voice (November 17, 2009)

Ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon has opened a new era for the EU. The Union plans to bring two new figures into the international governance arena: a permanent European Council president and a foreign minister. But the current EU president, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is having a hard time naming a candidate on which member states can agree. The leading forces of the EU - Germany, France and the UK - prefer a figure with limited authority. The European Parliament shows its concern about the size of the new foreign ministry by calling it a "bureaucratic monster." But the new structures are potentially a major positive step towards European integration in the foreign policy filed. (Spiegel Online)

African Ministers Demand G20 Seat (October 4, 2009)

Cameroonian Finance Minister, Menye demanded "at least one seat for nearly a billion Africans who needed to be heard" during a press conference in Istanbul.  Menye does not believe South Africa, a member of the G20, represent the real Africa. The Senegalese Finance Minister agrees with Menye; saying that the G20 cannot continue to overlook hundreds of millions of Africans. (AFP)

 

2008

Towards a New Global Economic Compact (October 30, 2008)

After the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 1990s, many people called for reform of the global financial architecture. But the international financial institutions resisted comprehensive reform and they continued to exclude the poorer countries from decision making. The head of the UN High Level Task Force on the global financial crisis, Joseph Stiglitz, argues that the UN is the only institution that has broad legitimacy and that it should take a lead role in reforming and monitoring the global financial system. (World Economy & Development In Brief)

Statement on the Proposed Global Summit to Reform the International Financial System (October 29, 2008)

Over 550 organizations from 88 countries call the G20 summit on the financial crisis a "New Undemocratic Washington Consensus." Although rich countries are responsible for the financial collapse, the crisis strongly affects the poorest countries. Therefore, all governments must be involved in developing global solutions for the benefit of the majority of the world's people. (Eurostep)

Clear-Out Time for IMF, World Bank (October 28, 2008)

In the past decades, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have gradually turned into more political institutions dealing with issues such as democracy, corruption and good governance. This article states that the Bretton Woods institutions should return to their original mandate, which is to finance economic development and work for international monetary stability. (Asia Times)

A Crisis-Opportunity Moment (October 23, 2008)

On November 15, 2008, leaders of the world's 20 largest industrial and emerging economies will meet to discuss responses to the financial crisis. This article urges the political elite to not focus solely on the financial market, but also address the problems of the majority of world's population. For instance, governments should address the rising inequality of people living in cities, as the greater part of the world population now live in urban areas. (openDemocracy)

Who Should Control the Bank? (September 29, 2008)

World leader's proposal to reform the World Bank includes only small changes in the voting system and prevents major change in the Bank's governance structure. An alliance of developing countries and over 80 NGOs propose a reform of the World Bank based on the principle of "parity", which means equal voting share for borrower and non-borrower countries. (Bretton Woods Project)

A World in Flux: Crisis to Agency (October 16, 2008)

The financial crisis provides a rare opportunity for world leaders to reform the structures of global governance. This article suggests that a global summit should launch a reform of the financial system. Governments should in future regulate financial companies and control currency speculation through a tax on all currency transactions across borders. A new financial system must also reduce income inequalities. Today, 20 percent of the world's population receives over 80 percent of the world's income. (OpenDemocracy)

Global Financial Crisis: Does the World Need a New Banking 'Policeman'? (October 8, 2008)

This article argues that neither the World Bank, nor the International Monetary Fund nor the World Trade Organization have the power to solve the global financial crisis. In order to adapt to the economic situation of the 21st century, the Bretton Woods system, founded in 1944, needs to be reformed. A new way of economic governance must be based on regulation and restrained rules to manage the risks of banks and financial institutions. (Telegraph)

Reforming IMF and World Bank (July 16, 2008)

NGOs and some governments call on the IMF and World Bank to reform the conditions attached to their development aid. Instead of macroeconomic conditions, the European Commission advocates the use of outcome indicators that monitor the impact of development aid in poor countries. Governments will discuss the role of conditionality at the September 2008 High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana. However, NGOs are skeptical of achieving any real breakthroughs because of the lack of response from the World Bank and IMF. (World Economy and Development in Brief)

Manufacturing a Food Crisis (June 2, 2008)

The 2008 global food crisis demonstrates the destructiveness of the one-two punch of IMF-imposed adjustment and WTO-imposed trade liberalization. These policies have steadily marginalized farmers, and transformed self-sufficient agricultural economies into vulnerable, import-dependent ones. Large industrial farms and grain-trading corporations control the global food market. However, poor countries increasingly defy World Bank, IMF and WTO policies “with fruitful results“ and farmer's movements such as the Via Campesina are gaining in influence. (The Nation)

Redesigning Global Economic Governance (May 6, 2008)

The international system of economic governance - comprised of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund - lacks an institution that integrates their global policies. At the Financing for Development (FfD) conference in Doha in November 2008, governments will discuss reforms of this international system. This Policy Innovations article endorses the proposal for an integrated multi-stakeholder forum on FfD, where world leaders, NGOs, UN members, and private sector representatives can continue to discuss reforms after the Doha summit. (Policy Innovations)

A Man-Made Famine (April 15, 2008)

This article is highly critical of World Bank president Robert Zoellick's calls for further trade liberalization as a response to the global food crisis. According to the author, trade liberalization is not the solution but the cause of the food crisis. The 2007-2008 food price rises have had such a severe effect on the world's poor because of the trade liberalization the World Bank, World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund propagate. These policies limit social safety nets and public sector agricultural support, push small-scale farmers out of the market, and lead to the sale of grain stockpiles to service foreign debt. Consequently, there is no buffer between price shocks and the bellies of the poorest people on earth. (Guardian)

 

2007

A Bank of Their Own: Latin America Casting off Washington's Shackles (October 31, 2007)

Poor countries find it almost impossible to gain influence and initiate change at the World Bank and IMF. In response to this, many countries are engaging in regional economic cooperation instead. On December 5, 2007, Latin American countries will launch their own development bank, Bank of the South, which will provide loans to member countries. This will make the Latin American countries increasingly independent of the US and Europe. (AlterNet)

Wolfowitz Saga Exposes Structural Flaws of the World Bank (May 15, 2007)

This YaleGlobal piece argues that the allegations of nepotism against World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz have exposed the underlying issue of an outdated system of global governance which grants disproportionate power to wealthy western nations. The US monopoly over leadership of the World Bank has muted criticism against Wolfowitz, as small countries dependent on the bank fear retaliation if they object, Europe looks to maintain control over the leadership of the IMF, and larger developing countries seek quiet exit from the bank's grip. (YaleGlobal)

US and EU Need to Cede Power in World Bank and IMF (April 21, 2007)

This MercoPress article argues that the US and EU must recognize the shift of economic power toward Asia and Latin America or risk forfeiting world economic leadership. The author warns that emerging economies will become increasingly frustrated with the US and European dominance over the World Bank and IMF and may create regional rivals. However, the article does not fully address the need for greater inclusion of poor countries into the power structures of the two institutions, a key issue for reform. (MercoPress)

Two Economic Giants, How Many Votes? (April 3, 2007)

Although the US currently dominates the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy may soon threaten US economic hegemony. China's increasing voting shares in all three institutions could allow it to shift the global balance of power and drive international economic policy the way no nation has before. (International Herald Tribune)

A Civil Society Response to the Report of the UN High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence (April 2007)

A coalition of NGOs in this report expresses concern that UN system-wide coherence could further harm the world's poor and under-represented communities. The report also warns against reform proposals that target the UN but overlook other players engaged in development work, particularly the Bretton Woods Institutions. (Center of Concern, International Trade Union Confederation, UBUNTU and World Federalist Movement)

 

2006

World Bank and IMF Still Pushing Conditions (November 30, 2006)

This Eurodad article reports from the Oslo Conference on Conditionality that gathered about 100 European government officials, NGO representatives and academics. The conference was organized and hosted by the Norwegian government, whose policy platform declaration states that Norwegian aid shall not support programs conditional upon liberalization and privatization. The lively debate revolved around the question of whether the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have actually improved and reduced their use of conditions when granting or lending money to poor countries, or, as several conference presenters showed, only language has in fact changed. (EURODAD)

Kicking the Habit (November 2006)

This Oxfam reportdetails the history and damaging consequences of the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund) praxis of pushing privatization and liberalization reforms in poor countries, as well as the continuous failure to reform this conditionality. The report looks closer at the case of Mali, where the World Bank has forced liberalization of the cotton industry by withholding funds desperately needed in the country's neglected education sector. The resulting exposure to the world market cotton price  significantly driven down by rich countries' subsidies decreased the price Malian farmers received for their cotton by 20 percent in 2005. This could increase country-wide poverty by 4.6 percent, says the report. (OXFAM)

WTO, IMF Must Consider the Poor (October 3, 2006)

Ahead of the International Day of Poverty Eradication, several NGOs convened in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to discuss how to raise awareness about the plight of the world's poorest people. In the fight against global economic and social injustices, critics of globalization at the meeting called for greater accountability and the adoption of pro-poor policies by the Bretton Woods Institutions. The neoliberal policies that the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization impose on poor countries tend to increase their debt burden, and widen the global inequality gap rather than improve the situation of the world's poor. (Herald)

Time for the IMF/World Bank to Listen to Workers (September 18, 2006)

Critics of globalization often condemn IMF and World Bank policies that push for privatization and labor market deregulation in poor countries. The International Confederation for Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) advises the institutions to focus less on such harmful economic policies and more on improving working conditions. Furthermore, the ICFTU urges the IMF and World Bank to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the participation of NGOs and trade unions. (ICFTU)

IMF, World Bank Face Growing Pressure for Reforms (September 13, 2006)

The IMF director's long-term reform agenda goes beyond the increase in four countries' voting shares proposed for agreement on the September 2006 annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions. Still, two economists from the Brookings Institution find that countries must strike a much more ambitious grand bargain that can break the logjam in global governance reform which has been building for decades. If this does not happen, it will likely mean a progressive weakening of the current global institutions, including the IMF, the World Bank and WTO (World Trade Organisation). (Inter Press Service)

Can We Reform the International Finance Institutions? (August 18, 2006)

Ahead of the September 2006 meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), this piece from CIVICUS encourages people to join the global mobilization for demanding profound reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. With the IMF suffering from a legitimacy and budget crisis unparalleled in its 62 years of existence, few question that its current operation must change. The author calls for the BWIs to stop imposing policy conditions that work against the Millennium Development Goals, to start prioritizing labor rights over investor's rights, and to make the governing structures of the institutions more equitable and open. (CIVICUS)

Afterthoughts: Critics Plan Offensive as IMF-World Bank Crisis Deepens (April 27, 2006)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) faces a huge squeeze on the budget, and the World Bank approaches an even bigger crisis, INQ7 argues. Rich countries continue to dictate some of the Bank's most important decisions and poor countries increasingly turn elsewhere to obtain loans. After years of trying to reform the Bretton Woods institutions, some NGOs have changed their strategies and are now seeking to disempower the two institutions. (INQ7)

IMF World Bank: Donor Nations to Focus on Growing States (April 24, 2006)

At the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the IMF's 184 member countries authorized proposals that will increase the influence of a few emerging economies, such as China and Turkey. However, the US will probably oppose any significant decrease of its 17% share in votes, since it benefits from being the Fund's only veto power. The World Bank discussed how poor countries could cope with the effects of climate change, produced by rich countries' industries. To cut their own greenhouse emissions, poor countries request financial support from the polluters. (New York Times)

Globalisation, Liberalisation, and Protectionism (April 2006)

This Third World Network report focuses on the role of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in causing global economic imbalances. The report critiques IFI policies such as loan conditionality and suggests that the WTO could lessen economic imbalances by addressing commodity prices and supply capacity in poor countries. (Third World Network)

Defining the Right to Food in an Era of Globalization: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (March 2006)

Expressing grave concern with the continuing increase in global hunger and the current food crisis in Africa, this report insists the time has come to view hunger and famine as a violation of the human right to food. While national governments have the primary obligation to fulfill their citizens' right to food, in an era where domestic actions affect people in other countries, governments must assume obligations beyond their own borders. Being more powerful than individual states, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, as well as large transnational corporations must also take on due responsibility to fulfill this human right. (United Nations)

The Helsinki Process Proposes Joint Reporting to the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO (February 3, 2006)

The Helsinki Process proposes that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization jointly publish an annual "state of the world economy" report, to facilitate UN supervision of the institutions. The UN Economic and Social Council would use the report to evaluate the work, transparency and the predominant political convictions within these three powerful institutions. (GlobalFinland)

 

2005

The IFI's Role in Implementing Global Commitments to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (September 2005)

The International Financial Institutions (IFI) continue imposing privatization of public services and unilateral trade liberalization, attached to debt relief and other assistance on recipient countries. This Global Unions statement to the 2005 Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, points out that IFI lending and policy recommendations concerning social security and labour regulations should give priority to decent employment creation, comprehensive social protection, and respect of core labour standards. (Global Unions)

Monkey-Wrenching the Globalization Gang (August 25, 2005)

Is it possible to trace a parallelism between Colonialism and Neoliberalism, two different forms of domination? The author affirms that phrases like "building freedom through trade", "good governance", "working for a world free of poverty" actually hide a new form of imperialism. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and even the UN lead this process of "neoliberal capture". (Toward Freedom)

World Bank Policy, As Seen by the Deprived (July 21, 2005)

Spontaneous clashes have broken out in several Yemeni cities after the government decided to lift all subsidies on oil products. The government's move led to immediate and massive increases in gas and oil prices, hitting the country's poor the hardest. The abolition of subsidies followed intense pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the Yemeni government to limit public spending by cutting subsidies and introducing a sales tax. (Inter Press Service)

Denying Democracy: How the IMF and World Bank Take Power from the People (May 2005)

This report examines the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and their relationship with the countries they lend to. In response to criticism of the democratic deficit in the institutions, the World Bank and the IMF adopted Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) to increase poor countries' participation in poverty reduction. These papers, however, usually incorporate similar conditions to the "structural adjustment" that the IFIs encouraged in the past. Poverty reduction cannot be achieved without country-specific strategies, consultation with civic groups, and a more democratic decision-making process within the IFIs. (World Development Movement)

Governance Reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the UN Development System (May 2005)

Sixty years after the creation of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the world is facing unprecedented problems. This Friedrich Ebert Foundation report highlights the ineffectiveness of global governance and calls for a stronger multilateral system to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The report specifically outlines the eight major challenges that confront the international community today, and what can be done to stop them. (Friedrich Ebert Foundation)

An Exercise in Stalemate? (April 20, 2005)

This Center of Concern article summarizes the developments in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund 2005 spring meetings. According to the article, the meetings' results reveal a decision-making machinery in crises. In spite of high expectations, the participants achieved almost nothing in the areas of debt cancellation for poor countries, innovative sources of finance, governance of international financial institutions, and trade. (Center of Concern)

Kept in the Dark (April 2005)

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) frequently pressure poor country governments to overrule or sideline their democratically elected legislatures, denying citizens and their representatives the final say over economic policy choices. This briefing by the NGOs behind the International Parliamentarians' Petition for Democratic Oversight of the IMF and World Bank calls on the international financial institutions (IFIs) to stop imposing economic policy conditions on poor countries, respect national laws and constitutional provisions, and help parliaments to play an effective role in negotiating or monitoring IFI-funded projects and activities. (International Parliamentarians' Petition for Democratic Oversight of the IMF and World Bank)

Democratizing the World Bank and IMF (February 7, 2005)

For decades, world leaders have appointed heads of international financial institutions behind closed doors without transparency and public scrutiny. This IFI Democracy Coalition statement calls for democratizing the outmoded model of governance and ending the secretive way of selecting officials for these powerful organizations. As a starting point, the statement calls for new methods in selecting the next World Bank President. (IFI Democracy Coalition)

 

 
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