IN THIS EDITION:
-> 1. Events
-> 2. News
-> 3. Reports
-> 4. Statements
-> 5. Information resources
-> IDB Annual Governors' Meeting - Miami, April 2008
The 49th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IDB took place in Miami, USA, April 4-8. As in previous years, civil society representatives participated actively in seminars and meetings with IDB staff members.
-> IMF/WB Spring Meetings - Washington D.C., April 2008
The 2008 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will be held over the weekend of April 12-13 at the World Bank and IMF Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As in previous years, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are planning to organize different activities alongside the Spring Meetings.
-> World Bank’s climate funds will undermine global climate action
The World Bank will be holding a key two-day meeting in Washington DC next week to move forward plans to establish its proposed portfolio of climate investment funds (CIFs) projected at in time for the G8 summit in Japan in July. According to a statement on the Bank’s website by Kathy Sierra, the Bank’s vice-president of Sustainable Development, the aim of next week’s meeting ‘is to work out details of how, when, and where to funnel new donor financing to projects that will have a transformational impact, at scale, in developing countries struggling with climate change’.
Source: Third World Network
-> IMF governance renovations: fresh paint while foundations rot
The shareholders of the IMF have squandered the political will for governance reform of the institution by making marginal changes that will fail to shift the balance of power. The Fund’s members have been debating how to revamp the formula that sets voting rights at the institution for more than two years. Much of the rancour has been directed at Europe, which has been the obstacle to quicker progress. A deal was finally approved by the IMF board at end March and sent to the IMF board of governors for approval.
Source: Bretton Woods Project
-> The IMF in Argentina: the search for relevance
The IMF is still trying to influence Argentina despite the government’s critical position toward the institution and its public opposition to any new cooperation agreement. Since Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner assumed the Argentine presidency the Fund has been involved with the renegotiation of national debt with the Paris Club and a controversy over official statistics.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> A Marxist at the World Bank
The appointment of Justin Yifu Lin as World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President for Development Economics is big news. This is the first time this position is held by a citizen from the developing world, but such a move was to be expected, since after all Lin is Chinese and his country will have a bigger economy than that of the United States in twenty years time. Yet the real surprise is that Lin is known for his criticism of the Washington Consensus, and particularly of shock therapies and mass-scale privatizations, two policies actively promoted by the Bretton Woods institutions in the last two decades.
Source: Red del Tercer Mundo
-> External Debt vs Internal Debt: The case of Brazil
On February 25 the Central Bank of Brazil announced that the country had reached the status of "net foreign creditor" in January, closing at nearly 7 billion dollars. This means that foreign currency assets – basically made up of international reserves – outpaced the country’s foreign liabilities. The government of Lula celebrates the news as a “historical” event. However, the Bank itself acknowledges that the institution suffered considerable losses as a result of the real’s appreciation. The government’s arguments fail to convince social organizations which maintain that behind the increase of international reserves there is a spiralling internal debt.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor
-> A statistical catastrophe
In the middle of December 2007 a catastrophe shook the world economy. As from 17 December, about five hundred million people fell below the absolute poverty line. China and India saw their economies, previously considered to be the “new locomotives” of globalization, reduced by half overnight and the whole world became a much more unfair place. "The World Bank’s International Comparison Programme and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s PPP Programme released new world tables on the purchasing power parity benchmarked to the year 2005, substituting the previous 1993 and 1980 tables".
Source: Red del Tercer Mundo
* A botched realignment? Moreno leadership at the IDB in question
Since he took office as President of the Inter-American Development Bank on October 1, 2005, Luis Alberto Moreno’s tenure has been marked by two factors—a political shift toward greater self-determination by many Latin American governments, and a painful restructuring of his institution to remain relevant in a climate of greater competition. Both factors have severely tested his mettle as the helm of an institution struggling to preserve its status as the "privileged lender to Latin America".
Source: Bank Information Center
* Debt in Doha: What should be on the agenda?
Despite high profile debt relief initiatives, the debt crisis continues unabated for most developing countries. With the international community at risk of failing to meet the 2015 MDG deadline, leaders in Doha should support a strong call for expanded debt cancellation to all countries that need relief to meet the MDGs. Moreover, they should address the fact that debt cancellation continues to be undermined by onerous forms of conditionality since countries must implement hundreds of conditions as part of the IMF/World Bank HIPC Initiative.
Source: NGLS (by Neil Watkins)
* South Bank: 90 days of silence
At the launching event for the South Bank, held in Buenos Aires on December 9, 2007, the presidents of Bank member countries set a 60-day deadline to define the structure and guidelines of the new South American multilateral financial institution. In practice, the idea was to set a deadline in order to eliminate the existing divergences among members on the role of the Bank. However, the deadline expired on February 9 without having made any progress. It has been more than 90 days since the foundation of the Bank. No government has made comments in this respect and the conservative media nor even questioned it.
Source: Instituto PACS
* Turning the tables: Aid and accountability under the Paris framework
This report is the result of research in seven aid recipient countries, conducted by southern and northern civil society organisations. It focuses on progress against two principles of the Paris Declaration – ownership and accountability. These principles are the bedrock of aid reform but the area where least attention has been paid. While both donors and recipients have responsibilities to make aid more effective, this report concentrates on the responsibilities of donors to make sure aid contributes to address the many challenges faced by developing countries.
* New voting formula at IMF falls short of bringing genuine change
* Joint NGO letter to G20 on responsible lending
* Advocacy letter on IMF consultations framework by global civil society
*** All Statements
5. INFORMATION RESOURCES
* Bretton Woods Project Udpate Nº60 - Special edition
This expanded issue of the Bretton Woods Update is part of a trial initiative to bring you broader insights into the international financial institutions. It was produced in conjunction with Afrodad, Bank Information Center, Choike and Eurodad.
* IMF/WB Spring Meetings 2008 - IFIwatchnet Special Coverage
Check the IFIwatchnet coverage during the spring meetings season and keep yourself informed with day to day updates and analysis!
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