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Bretton Woods Update No.42 September/October 2004

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Above the law? Battle over World Bank immunity in Bangladesh

News|21 September 2004

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/Thorogood.net

Civil society groups, opposition parties and the media are calling for the repeal of a bill which would amend the scope of the Bank's immunities under Bangladeshi law. read article...

Parliaments reign in IFIs: International campaign gains momentum

News|21 September 2004

Over 170 parliamentarians worldwide have signed a petition demanding a greater role in scrutinising the operations of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) within their nations as a way to reassert the sovereignty of legislatures in parliamentary democracy. read article...

All sides agree urgent need for governance reforms

News|21 September 2004

Urging a move away from shareholders "micromanaging the Fund", former IMF secretary and Counsellor to the managing director Leo Van Houtven has argued for reforms. read article...

Contradictions in the World Banks India Country Assistance Strategy

by Benny Kuruvilla

Comment|21 September 2004

In August, representatives of social movements, national alliances and civil society organisations met in New Delhi and issued a statement explicitly rejecting the Bank's strategy for India. read article...

Country ownership of PRSPs is restricted to “officialdom”

News|21 September 2004

The IMF's Independent Evaluation Office recent review of the poverty reduction strategy paper concedes to shortcomings in the design of the initiative. read article...

Private sector safeguard review "fundamentally flawed"

News|21 September 2004

Civil society organisations have expressed alarm at the process recently launched by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - the World Bank Group's private sector lending arm- to overhaul its safeguard policies. read article...

Two decades of environmental and social protection policies at risk

News|21 September 2004

Bank watchers fear that a new plan to harmonise Bank environmental and social safeguard policies with national rules will sacrifice years of hard-won policy provisions "in one big sweep". read article...

Information disclosure at the World Bank Group

Inside the inst|21 September 2004

Currently both the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) - the Bank's private sector lending arm - are revising their information disclosure policies read article...

Nam Theun 2: Decision pending serious problems remain

News|21 September 2004

The deadline for the Bank's decision to finance the controversial Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric power project in Lao PDR is fast approaching. However, long-term opponents of the project predict that its environmental and social outcomes will be disastrous, and criticize the current consultation process as fundamentally flawed. read article...

Board accepts management response to report on oil and mining

News|21 September 2004

The management response to the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) - described by development and environment campaigners as "completely inadequate" - was accepted by the board of the World Bank at the beginning of August. The management response rejected calls in the review for a phase-out of support for oil and coal, made merely symbolic gestures towards increasing support for renewables, and watered down language on the rights of indigenous peoples to oversee extractive developments on their land. It has since come under heavy criticism from civil society groups for endorsing business as usual and missing a historic opportunity to bring its lending more in line with its mission to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development. read article...

Debt cancellation? Or an exercise in book-keeping?

News|21 September 2004

Talk of full multilateral debt cancellation has been in the air since the June G8 summit against the backdrop of the impending end of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative. The US Treasury Department is apparently pushing for full multilateral debt cancellation and could announce this at the G8 ministers meeting ahead of the Bank and Fund annual meetings. read article...

Report on investment “promotes interests of the north”

News|21 September 2004

Researchers at the Geneva-based South Centre have argued that the Bank's latest World Development Report, oversells the benefits of foreign direct investment, advocates the restriction of government policy space, and promotes the agenda of northern countries in trade and investment agreements. read article...

Next World Development Report: Equity and development

News|21 September 2004

An outline of the Bank's flagship annual report, the World Development Report, which will focus on inequality was released in August. read article...

IMF’s “role put into question”: Argentina crisis evaluation

News|21 September 2004

The IMF's Independent Evalution Office has found that the Argentine crisis has done sizeable damage to the Fund's reputation: associating it with inappropriate policies, creating a perception that it lacked even-handedness in dealing with member countries, and putting its role in signalling sound policy environments into question. read article...

Fawlty Powers: Sixty years of the World Bank and IMF

News|17 September 2004

An alliance of eight UK-based development and environment NGOs are organising events throughout September and October to raise awareness of the vital role to be played by the UK government in reforming the Bank and the Fund. read article...

Development Gateway: biased, unaccountable and overpriced?

by Jha, Seymour and Sims

At Issue|22 September 2004

A study prepared for the Bretton Woods Project has found that the Development Gateway, an internet portal on development issues initiated by the World Bank, presents a biased picture of development debates, lacks independence and is inefficient when compared with other similar initiatives. read article...

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