Bretton Woods Project - Critical voices on the World Bank and IMF

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Topics

Content of this site is categorised by twelve major topic areas. Articles may appear in more than one topic area.

To search using specific categories (such as agriculture or health), choose 'search options' in the right-hand column and select from the categories menu.

Environment

This topic area covers: the impact of Bank and Fund policies and activities on the environment, including the impacts of individual projects; programmatic and sectoral lending; and Bank and Fund policy research. Subjects covered include: oil, gas and mining; forests, large hydroelectric projects; energy issues; agriculture; the Global Environment Facility (GEF); the World Bank's involvement in carbon trading; safeguard policies; environmental compliance with World Bank policies and international mechanisms ; and related infrastructure issues.
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Finance and debt

Bank and Fund involvement in financing development and debt creation. The role of World Bank aid and lending in development and reconstruction projects as well as a focus on the Funds' role in the international financial architecture and financial sector reform in borrower countries. Includes: Development finance, capital account liberalisation and capital controls, financial sector reform, International financial architecture, debt and debt arbitration, Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC), crisis prevention and resolution
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Good governance

Bank and Fund analysis and conditionality on "building efficient and accountable public sector institutions", including issues relating to the Bank's own frameworks for promoting good governance and reducing corruption. Includes: Corruption and anti-corruption, transparency and accountability, human rights, governance and conditionality, national-level coherence between ministries, country policy and institutional assessments (CPIA), decentralisation, legal reform, regulation/deregulation
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Human rights

In 2003, Roberto Danino, the World Bank's legal council, argued that the Bank should begin to consider non-economic issues, such as human rights, as long as it is related to projects the Bank intends to support and is done in a non-partisan manner. However, since his departure from the Bank, the gap between the rhetoric and implementation of rights has grown wider. Human rights remain visibly absent from World Bank safeguards and while the International Finance Corporation, includes some labour rights and indigenous peoples rights in its performance standards, they remain vague. This topic area covers: the impact of World Bank policies and projects on human rights, including economic and social rights, compliance mechanisms, private finance and the extractives industries.
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Knowledge

Examines the World Bank's role as a self-proclaimed "knowledge bank". Questions IFI's knowledge biases as well as providing critical analysis of the bank's development effectiveness and its new Information and Communications Technologies initiatives, such as the Development Gateway. Includes: Technical assistance, development gateway, World Development Reports, media, global public goods, research, poverty measurement, 'results' agenda
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Private sector

World Bank private sector work; the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, and Involvement of transnational corporations in IFI projects. Includes: Work of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) / Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) / International Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Private sector development strategy, privatisation of services, corporate social responsibility, TNC involvement.
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SAPs/PRSPs

Bank and Fund structural adjustment programmes (SAP's) often required dramatic reform of a borrowing country's economic policy. The successor to SAPs, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSPs) set out a country's macroeconomic, structural and social policies to promote growth and reduce poverty. These comprehensive strategies for reform are necessary for World Bank loans or lending by the fund under the poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF). Includes: conditionality, structural adjustment lending, Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRIN), Poverty and Social Impact Assessment (PSIA), PRGF, letters of intent
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Social issues

Covers the impact of Bank and Fund work on people and people's rights. Includes: Human rights, indigenous peoples, education, health, gender, labour, nutrition, land reform, social impact assessment, displacement, Inspection panel (social claims)
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Trade

Bank and Fund work in trade policy covering trade-related conditionality, advisory services, and trade related capacity building. Questioning the Bank and Fund approach to trade liberalisation. Includes: Capacity building, integrated framework, trade-finance coherence, trade-related investment, trade conditionality and national development plans read
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UK policy debates

Involvement in, and oversight of the Bank and Fund by the government of the United Kingdom. Includes: UK structures, UK parliamentary oversight, UK ministerial announcements, civil society campaigning and advocacy. For more detail on the UK's role in the World Bank and IMF
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World Bank/IMF governance

Issues relating to the governance of the Bank and Fund by their member countries. Includes: Governance structures, Parliamentary scrutiny, transparency, accountability, complaint mechanisms, governance structures, evaluation mechanisms, spring/annual meetings read
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World Bank/IMF roles

Debate on the mandates and responsibilities of the Bank and IMF. Includes: Division of responsibilities, reform/abolish debates, mission creep, evaluation bodies, role of the Bank and Fund in conflict-affected countries, IMF/WB/WTO coherence and relations with UN agencies.
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New website launched

You are now browsing an archive version of the Bretton Woods Project's website. This site has not been updated since September 2013, but may be used for reference material as the nbew site is being developed. However we suggest you look at the new website:
http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/

Recent briefings & reports

Memorandum to the International Development Committee: Inquiry on the Future of UK Development Cooperation  26 June 2013

The Doing Business review: a test of World Bank leadership 24 June 2013

Climate Investment Funds Monitor 7: April 2013  25 April 2013

Working paper: The private sector and climate change adaptation: International Finance Corporation investments under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience  24 April 2013

The UK's role in the World Bank and IMF: Department for International Development and HM Treasury  13 March 2013

World Bank on jobs: a "significant departure" or "business as usual"? 13 February 2013

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Latest IFI-related video

The World Bank and human rights abuse in Honduras 7 August, Social Justice Committee of Montreal

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