IFIs Latin American Monitor - February-March, 2010


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->World Social Forum 2010
Celebrating its tenth year of existence, the World Social Forum took place in 2010 in a decentralized manner, starting with a great event in the Greater Porto Alegre (Brazil), where it was born.


->Inter-American Development Bank’s 2010 Annual Meeting in Cancun
Civil society spokespeople representing a coalition of more than 100 organizations in 20 countries are arriving in Cancun this week for the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting, looking for answers from the Bank’s governors and management on a 26-point reform agenda on which any capital increase should be conditioned. Key reforms are needed in areas of sustainability and climate change, regional integration, and managing for results.
Source: Bank Information Center

->Marlboro vs. Uruguay
Philip Morris seems to have launched in recent weeks a global litigation campaign against the governments that innovate in the war on tobacco. In mid-February the company announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Uruguayan government, on March 9 it sued Norway and similar steps are announced against Australia if the "preventive" policy being studied by the Labour government is approved. But, while the local justice will be settling the dispute in Australia and the case in Norway has been brought before the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) Court, the Uruguayan government will be forced to defend itself before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Source: Agenda Global/ La Diaria

->Uruguay: IMF advised cutting public expenditure
Less than 10 days from José Mujica's inauguration as the second leftist president in Uruguayan history, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempts to discipline the next government with orthodox recommendations: to reduce public expenditure and lower fiscal deficit. According to the agency’s representatives, in the five-year budget to be adopted next year Uruguay should "return to more ambitious [fiscal] targets". To that end, it should "restrict" the rise in spending, as strong public wages increases are not sustainable.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor

->The IMF and the role of controls
The International Monetary Fund experts have historically advocated for the free movement of capital. However, the international pressure caused by the crisis has led to a change in tone from the IMF technicians. A report by an IMF working group entitled "Capital inflows: The role of controls", claims that in certain circumstances, "capital controls are a legitimate component of the policy response to surges in capital inflows", a way to curb investments that can destabilize the economy through excessive currency appreciation or the formation of asset bubbles.
Source: IFIs Latin American Monitor

->Regional financial integration: Progress and obstacles in the way
On the occasion of the meeting of heads of State and Government of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Quito (February 9-11), finance ministers and directors of central banks of member countries held a meeting aimed at taking steps on policy and technical issues related to the financial integration of the region. This was a breakthrough in itself, because the meeting had not been carried out since October 2009 when it was first planned, leaving serious doubts about the real willingness of countries to advance the regional integration process.
Source: Latindadd


->The challenges of the Inter-American Development Bank in the region
The Cancun Declaration comprises ten items and a global framework to evaluate the institutional reforms agreed as part of the Bank’s Ninth General Capital Increase. These items partially address some of the concerns raised by different civil society organizations from all over the continent working on the follow-up to IDB policies and on making the impacts of its projects in the region visible. Nevertheless, from these same organizations we believe that there still remain items to be reinforced and challenges to be undertaken by the Bank’s management.
Source: CEADESC - ITeM

->Private sector as a synonym for development? Transparency and results management are urgently needed
Since 1994 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has financed private sector operations. The reason for this had to do with the reduction of the state’s role in financing infrastructure and the liberalization and privatization that took place in the region. In 2001 and 2006 the Board of Governors decided to increase the capacity of the Bank in this issue and in 2010 this matter will continue to be on the agenda. Social organizations deem essential that IDB operations without sovereign guarantees have a clear added value to sustainable development through indicators applied before the approval of projects.
Source: Latindadd - ITeM

->The problem of reserves in developing countries
The latest turmoil underscores the need for financial reform, particularly to protect developing countries. One promising reform proposal involves the use of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) both to finance the development needs of poor countries and, ultimately, as a global reserve currency to supplement the US dollar. Soren Ambrose and Bhumika Muchhala consider this proposal. They explain the need for an alternative to the US dollar as a reserve currency, pointing to problems faced by developing countries under the current system.
Source: Third World Network

->Financial Transaction Taxes: Tools for progressive taxation and improving market behaviour
This paper examines the all important question of the incidence of financial transaction taxes, seeking to answer the question 'who pays in the end', should FTTs be widely introduced. It shows that across a number of market segments trading volumes are increasingly dominated not by traditional investors such as pension funds or insurance firms but by high frequency traders, hedge funds and investment banks. The paper further shows that the initial incidence of the tax falls on the dominant actors who also have the capacity to absorb a large proportion of the tax. This ensures that the tax burden is highly progressive falling mainly on those most able to pay – hedge funds and investment banks and their highly paid employees. (pdf format)
Source: Re-Define

->Promises make no history
According to the World Bank, in January 2010 there were 1.5 billion people living in extreme poverty. Thus, the goal of reducing poverty and hunger to half by 2015 — the first of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — will be impossible. Furthermore, the lack of significant progress on trade, debt, aid and technology transfer (goal 8) prevents the creation of an adequate environment to achieve the objectives 1 to 6. In this context, the UN report "Rethinking Poverty", published in January, is an important contribution to the discussions toward the MDG Summit that will be hold in New York in September 2010.
Source: Social Watch International Secretariat


->Cancun Declaration - Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Developmente Bank (IDB)

->Civil Society's Letter to Inter-American Development Bank on the 9th General Capital Increase (GCI) (pdf)

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