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Bretton Woods Update No.52 September/October 2006

PDF version | At Issue PDF | text version | versión en español

The IFC at fifty: All that glitters is too much gold

News|11 September 2006

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

As the International Finance Corporation (IFC) marks its golden anniversary, the institution claims to serve "as a catalyst for innovative, market-based solutions for reducing poverty and addressing environmental and social challenges". The reality fails to justify such a glittering perspective. Problem gold mine projects in Ghana, Peru and Kyrgyzstan and serious weaknesses in its recent human rights impact assessment programme undermine the future credibility of an institution that is increasingly loosing out to private finance read article...

Bank anti-corruption framework: "A lot of rhetoric and arm-waving"?

News|11 September 2006

Amidst a storm of controversy about the causes and solutions to corruption, the World Bank has announced a corruption amnesty and released an anti-corruption framework. The issue is high on the global development agenda, as the Bank pulls project finance in Indonesia and Cambodia, and the fiasco continues over oil revenues in Chad. read article...

Time to listen to Lesotho! - The World Bank and its new anti-corruption agenda

by Hennie Van Vuuren

Comment|11 September 2006

Comment piece by Hennie Van Vuuren on corruption and bribery in the Bank-supported Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme read article...

Justice or conditionality by another name? World Bank at the Human Rights Council

News|11 September 2006

In a statement at the first session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2006, Joseph Ingram, special representative of the World Bank to the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation stated that the advancement of human rights is "critical" to the Bank's own poverty reduction mission, including the "global fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance. read article...

Analysis casts doubt on Bank scorecard: CPIA numbers made public for first time

News|11 September 2006

In June, the World Bank disclosed for the first time details of its Country Policy Institutional Assessments, but analysis by the Bretton Woods Project suggests that this costly and influential exercise is just another way to force borrowers into adopting the model of economic development supported by the Bank. read article...

BTC: destruction, abuse and betrayal

News|11 September 2006

In July, as the oil in the IFC-supported Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline finally began flowing a year behind schedule, civil society groups from affected countries and elsewhere presented evidence of destruction, abuse and betrayal. read article...

Evaluation of World Bank support for education says enrolment up, learning down

News|19 July 2006

The Bank's evaluation unit has released a report giving the Bank passing grades on increasing primary school enrolment and access for the disadvantaged, but failing grades on learning outcomes and educational management. Members of the report's external advisory panel say the report failed to address teachers, the impact of HIV/AIDS, and the role of IMF macroeconomic constraints. read article...

Six reasons why the World Bank should be debarred from education

by Katarina Tomasevski

Comment|2 September 2006

Author of The State of the Right to Education outlines six reasons why the World Bank is an obstacle for making education all-encompassing, free and compulsory. read article...

The World Bank and youth

Inside the inst|11 September 2006

World Bank and its work on youth read article...

Night and day: reviews highlight contrary views on World Bank use of conditionality

News|11 September 2006

Internal reviews find that the World Bank is "broadly following" new good practice principles on the use of conditionality in adjustment lending, and support the continued "judicious use" of conditions in investment lending. Meanwhile critics grow increasingly frustrated with the conditionality status quo, leading NGO Christian Aid to call for an end to UK financial support for the Bank and Fund. read article...

UK parliament says support for Bank fossil fuel investments is unacceptable Bank environment policy “incoherent”

News|11 September 2006

The United Kingdom's accountability systems for World Bank and IMF policy have scored successes and failures over the summer of 2006. A cross-party parliamentary enquiry into the role of the IMF produced a hard hitting report that called for substantial reform. However the ministry responsible for World Bank policy has been criticised over its energy and climate change policy, latest aid white paper and its response to the IFC safeguard policy. read article...

Tinkering at the edges of governance reform: IMF quota proposals

News|11 September 2006

After months of official wrangling and European stalling, proposals for changing IMF quotas, which determine financial contributions and voting power in the organisation, have coalesced around a small ad hoc increase for four countries, a commitment to make the quota formula more closely match economic realities and an increase in the basic vote read article...

Independence of IMF’s evaluation arm questioned IEO sets broad work plan

News|11 September 2006

In an evaluation of the IMF Independent Evaluation Office's first five years of work, an external committee concluded that the IMF board may have undue influence over the body. Additionally the IEO set itself an ambitious work plan for the next year, as it plans to delve into the Fund's internal organisation and trade policy read article...

Bank environmental commitment under fire

News|11 September 2006

Details of the World Bank's current sustainability disasters in light of the dismantling of ESSD read article...

Evaluate the Update and win free books!

News|10 September 2006

Evaluate the Bretton Woods Update for a chance to win one of three new books on the IFIs. read article...

Too much, too soon: IMF conditionality and inflation targeting by Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts

by Gerald Epstein

At Issue|11 September 2006

Gerald Epstein, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, finds that despite little evidence of the success of inflation targeting in promoting economic growth, employment creation or poverty reduction, the IMF is increasingly using loan conditions and technical assistance to push its use. There is an urgent need for viable alternatives that focus on employment generation, poverty reduction, export promotion and investment enhancement to be given more attention. read article...

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