IN THIS EDITION:
-> 1. Comments
-> 2. Events
-> 3. News
-> 4. Reports
-> 5. Statements
-> 6. Special website
* Programmes and loans designed and controlled by IFIs play a powerful role in shaping the economic trajectories of many countries in the Global South. We all have something to say on these issues. We invite you to add your comments and opinions in all the news and reports published on our website. Your opinion is important to us!
-> World Social Forum global day of action - 26th January 2008
Since the first World Social Forum (WSF) encounter in 2001, the WSF has taken the form of a permanent world process seeking and building alternatives to neo-liberal policies. In 2008, a Global Call for Action promoted by many international networks was launched inside the WSF asking social movements and civil society worldwide to mobilize together in the week culminating on January 26, 2008.
-> Halifax hosted the conference "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance"
Halifax Initiative Coalition organized the conference "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance – Impacts and implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions" on February 1 and 2 in Ottawa, Canada. The objectives of the conference were to look at some of the emerging alternatives, as well as the opportunities and challenges they present with respect to the current international financial system and its institutions.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> IMF presence in Nicaragua
Nicaragua has an extant agreement with the IMF since October 2007, and at a moment when the Congress is debating the national budget 2008, the institution is making its opinion felt in questions of distribution of the public expenditure. The situation has evolved into a political problem between the government and the opposition that could put at risk the disbursement international institutions and donors expect.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> Staff in black - IMF faces structural adjustment
Thanks to pressure from the major shareholders the IMF’s new managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being forced to cut the IMF’s budget. Internal documents reveal some details of the restructuring, including 15 per cent staff layoffs and charges for technical assistance, but fail to shed light on whether the Fund will shift away from dictating to poor countries and towards overseeing global markets.
Source: Bretton Woods Project
-> BNDES opens office in Uruguay
The National Economic and Social Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) announced it would open an office in Montevideo, Uruguay. Luciano Coutinho, BNDES president, explained that the bank would "provide financing on a large scale for exports and imports, foreign trade and business transactions that will take place in Uruguay". Meanwhile, different Brazilian social organizations are looking into the impact of the bank's financing and query the bank's information policy.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> World Bank pledges to save trees, then helps cut down Amazon
The World Bank vowed to halt deforestation in Bali Summit in December, but is simultaneously funding the cattle ranching industry in the Amazon. This industry actually propels forest destruction, by cutting down large swaths of forest to make way for cattle. Research shows that the strain placed on the Amazon could wipe out the forest - the world's most important eco-system - by 2030.
Source: Global Policy Forum
* The Paris Declaration and the Right to Development
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PD), as a non-binding document on ways to disburse and manage Official Development Assistance more effectively, does not deal with any of the commitments spelled out in Millennium Development Goal 8 (trade, finance, debt, increased aid) but it can be deemed to indirectly contribute to them if its goal of making aid more efficient is actually achieved. However, while relatively minor gains in efficiency could be obtained from avoiding duplications in delivery and simplifying reporting, the main causes of aid inefficiency are not properly addressed.
Author: Roberto Bissio
Source: Social Watch
* Current problems with the IMF and challenges ahead – A Latin American perspective
This paper analyses the current problems of the International Monetary Fund from a Latin American Perspective. Roberto Frenkel portrays the IMF at odds with the new reality of external crises confronting especially developing economies. Issues such as global economic imbalances, which ought to be “natural” themes for the IMF, are not being adequately addressed. The author concludes that in particular the United States administration has no intention of putting these questions to the consideration of a multilateral institution. Until this has changed, the Fund is best kept at arm’s length, Frenkel sums up. (pdf format)
Author: Roberto Frenkel
Source: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
* You can have the money on one condition...
Many non-governmental organizations have been campaigning for years to persuade the World Bank to stop imposing free-trade conditions on cash-strapped borrower nations. This process is, prosaically, known as 'conditionality', and the struggle over it has been a long one. But the problems caused by inappropriate conditions being forced on poor countries have not ended. On the contrary, the World Bank continues to promote reforms such as privatisations - a problem highlighted by events in Nicaragua.
Source: Third World Network
* From Paris 2005 to Accra 2008: Will aid become more accountable and effective?
Civil society organisations (CSOs) were present in 2005 when donor country members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), developing countries and multilateral institutions signed the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness. Since then, CSOs have been raising a range of issues and bringing in different perspectives, trying to ensure that this new framework for aid effectiveness translates into effective and accountable development processes. (pdf format)
Source: Better Aid
*** All Statements
6. SPECIAL WEBSITE
Building Informed Civic Engagement for Conservation in the Andes-Amazon (BICECA) is a project of the Bank Information Center, that supports civil society organizations to analyze and influence economic integration projects and policies in the Andes-Amazon. Relevant information on IIRSA and other International Finance Institutions projects is essential for civil society to prevent and mitigate the negative environmental and social impacts of infrastructure development.
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