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Get in touch. Email updates Want to keep in touch? 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that the allegations of nepotism against World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz have exposed the underlying issue of "an outdated system of global governance" which grants disproportionate power to wealthy western nations.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.
An increasing number of Latin American countries — such as Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil — have paid off debts to the IMF and the World Bank in an effort to "break free" from the harsh conditionalities for debt relief imposed by the two institutions. Citing "doubts about the World Bank's credibility [and] legitimacy," Venezuela and Argentina have launched the "Banco del Sur," or Bank of the South, a more democratic and development-focused alternative where "voting power will be based on financial need" rather than economic or political power.
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. 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. This Bank Information Centre article reveals that, in order to push for a resumption of its activities in Iraq, the World Bank tried to suppress the news that one of its employees was shot in the country.
However, the World Bank is going against its own conditions for engagement which outline that the organization cannot operate in countries with ongoing conflicts and where staff cannot travel safely. The enormous attention given by the World Bank to Iraq in comparison to other countries suggests the president of the organization, Paul Wolfowitz, is using its role to promote US geopolitical interests.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is trying to expand Bank-funded projects in Iraq and to use the organization's resources to achieve US military goals in the country. Most of the Bank's Board Members oppose this idea, which they say constitutes a waste of donor resources and a distortion of the Bank's mission. According to the founding articles of the World Bank Agreement, the organization cannot operate in countries with ongoing conflict.
Articles and Documents
Further, the organization's staff is prohibited from traveling to Iraq for security reasons and this would make monitoring of the project very difficult in a highly corrupt environment. Government Accountability Project. Stating that "climate change is here and now," officials at the World Bank are hiring experts on adapting to global warming rather than preventing it. This Christian Science Monitor article reports that, although both tactics are necessary to prepare for climate change, many environmentalists view adaptation as the "poorer cousin" to carbon emission reductions.
An Institutional Approach to Development
This report published by Norwegian Church Aid, Danish Church Aid, Church of Sweden and Brot-fur-die-Welt finds that ever since African governments began liberalizing trade, food security has worsened on the continent. In particular, economic liberalization has harmed poor subsistence farmers. The author suggests that to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by , the World Bank and local governments must abandon their present governance and liberalization policies.
Under the "central scenario" of the World Bank 's Global Economic Prospects world GDP will roughly double over the period with developing country exports accounting for a significant share of the increase. While this growth could halve the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by , the report also acknowledges that growing income inequalities and global warming could "jeopardize long-term progress.
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This Bloomberg News piece reports on World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz' worrying praxis of staffing high-level positions in the Bank with individuals who are "short on expertise and long on political connections" to the US Republicans. New appointees replace 14 of the Bank's 29 highest-level executives who have resigned since the former US deputy defense secretary assumed the presidency in June Among them is the Bank's year veteran vice president for the Middle East who stepped down after "resisting pressure to speed up the pace of lending and adding staff in Iraq.
While Bank management boasts about the World Bank's contribution to economic growth in developing countries, the IEG study stresses that in many countries growth has failed to reduce poverty because it has been very unevenly distributed, and also very volatile.
The report criticizes Bank programs for failing to adapt to local conditions and for not considering the poor's vulnerability to price and currency liberalizations. Times, London reports that Benn has now decided to release the money, saying that his concerns have been eased as the World Bank's November progress report showed positive results with "reducing the use of economic policy conditionality. This Bretton Woods Project piece displays the increasing pressure on the World Bank to change the way it imposes economic policy conditions on poor countries receiving loans or grants from the Bank.
The Bank's own November progress report concludes that such progress has been achieved. Also, the Norwegian government has gathered development officials from seven major donor countries "to discuss more appropriate and effective conditionality for the future. As the world's largest center of development research, the World Bank's development economics vice-presidency DEC serves as a resource for academics, policymakers, and aid agencies. Although the DEC claims impartiality, this Bretton Woods Project article describes six ways in which the center promotes the "neo-liberal free-market paradigm," including manipulating data to support that paradigm and discouraging dissent.
Having himself been one of the main forces in putting corruption on the World Bank's agenda, Joseph E. Stiglitz in this piece makes recommendations for improving the bank's approach to combating corruption. Pointing out that bribe payments often come from Western based corporations, Stiglitz further calls on rich governments to tie tax deductibility for corporations to transparency in all dealings with foreign governments.
The World Bank Pushes Shadow Banking in the Name of Development – Developing Economics
Stiglitz also voices the concern of some critics that the corruption agenda is "itself corrupted" with rich governments using it to cut aid to countries that don't please them. Project Syndicate. The months preceding the September annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions had seen "mounting tensions between [World Bank] president and the governments of its key donor countries. This Times article reports that the issue caused embarrassment for Wolfowitz at the meetings.
While approving his anti-corruption strategy, ministers insisted that the program needed continued oversight by World Bank member countries. Focusing on youth, the annual World Bank publication reports that the world population of people aged has reached a record 1. According to the report , this "demographic dividend" creates a short "window of opportunity" for poor country governments to stimulate social and economic development, before this huge generation reaches middle-age. The report strongly emphasizes the importance of governments investing in better education, healthcare and job training thereby "expanding opportunities," "improving capabilities," and "offering second chances" to the young.
But the NGOs welcome the move as a "partial victory" for their advocacy to have the British government put pressure on the World Bank to change its policy. Inter Press Service. Evaluating countries' economic, structural and public policies, the World Bank's Country Policy and Institutional Assessment CPIA plays a central role in the Bank's allocation of grants and low-interest loans to poor countries. This suggests that the Bank bases its ranking more on such criteria as ease of doing business than on an impartial assessment of countries' policies and institutions. The bank thereby fails "to reap the double dividend" of fighting both poverty and climate change with locally available renewable energy technologies.
Countries must redirect energy financing into renewable technologies through an "appropriate multilateral framework," and not the Western dominated World Bank. Friends of the Earth.
The World Bank announced that it will merge its social and environment departments with its infrastructure department. The World Wildlife Fund applauds the plan, expecting large development projects to apply "world-class environmental standards. Environmentalists and independent analysts say they will closely follow the details of the reorganization. Although the IFC spouts rhetoric of "poverty reduction," it supplements already large and well funded projects for oil, gas and mining infrastructure to a far greater extent than it finances health and education projects.
This 50 Years Is Enough Network piece calls for the elimination of initiatives that depend on the IFC and suggests that development projects should "focus on the community and its needs instead of profit and its dictates. This letter to the trade ministers of the World Trade Organization on behalf of organizations worldwide criticizes the Doha Round and suggests that more attention go to public policy priorities. Specifically, the letter finds fault with the undemocratic decision-making process among trade ministers and the overarching tendency to favor rich nations when imposing new trade laws.
It proposes a new "aid for trade" plan that addresses adjustment costs and does not demand the liberalization planned under the Doha Round. Our World Is Not for Sale.
The conditions that these institutions impose on already impoverished borrowers further the administrative and economic burdens of these governments. Eurodad suggests that the IMF and the World Bank reconsider the conditionality prerequisites for loan approval. 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. 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. A study released by World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group IEG says that the Bank has not done enough to foster sustained export-growth and to tackle poverty in poor countries.
Southern Social Movements Newswire
While encouraging market liberalization, the Bank failed to address poor countries' vulnerability caused by their dependence on few export products. The report also encourages the Bank to consider the particular needs of every country in its recommendations. After years of promoting market deregulation, the World Bank finally admits the limited effects of these policies on reducing poverty. According to a World Bank report, Latin America's high poverty and inequality can explain the region's bad economic performance over the last few years.
The report encourages governments to assure a more equal income distribution. However, it remains unclear if the World Bank will back up its new thinking with real action. Washington Post. The image-driven anti corruption campaign of World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has neither improved the transparency of the Bank, nor provided sufficient protection for internal whistleblowers.
This article calls on the World Bank to publish a report on whistleblower protection grievances within the institution carried out by the Government Accountability Project. The International Monetary Fund. The World Trade Organization. Multilateral Agreement on Investment. The World Economic Crisis.