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Bretton Woods Update No.53 November/December 2006

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

Bank, Fund sidestep labour standards: Promote violation of workers’ rights

News|23 November 2006

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

The World Bank’s 2007 Doing Business Report rewards countries with low levels of labour protection and the IMF’s World Economic Outlook urges labour market deregulation. This has prompted calls from organised labour, developing country governments and US senators for the institutions to respect the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). read article...

World Bank corruption fight drags on

News|23 November 2006

The World Bank's anti-corruption framework was the subject of one of the most bruising Development Committee debates in memory at the annual meetings. Further challenges for the Bank include the impact of a rapid rise in Chinese lending to developing countries on anti-corruption efforts, and debt campaigners use of the corruption issue to highlight creditor responsibility for 'illegitimate lending'. read article...

Good governance or bad practices? Two activists reflect on their mistreatment at the World Bank-IMF annual meetings in Singapore

by Maria Clara Couto Soares and Joy Chavez

Comment|23 November 2006

Maria Clara Couto Soares of ActionAid Brazil and Joy Chavez of Focus on the Global South reflect on their mistreatment at the hands of the Singaporean authorities at the 2006 World Bank-IMF annual meetings. read article...

IMF macroeconomic advice: 'thanks, but no thanks'

News|23 November 2006

The IMF’s ability to dictate economic policy to member states is fraying because of lost credibility in the wake of its failures in East Asia, Argentina and Russia. Developing countries are now rejecting the Fund’s interference in their economies. read article...

IMF quota reform poses risks to developing countries

News|23 November 2006

During the annual meetings in Singapore the board of governors of the Fund passed a resolution that sets in motion a two-year quota reform process which may end up eroding, not enhancing, the voice of developing countries in the institution. read article...

Split highlights growing call to rethink conditionality

News|23 November 2006

Differences of opinion over conditionality blew up into an embarrassing spat between the Bank and the UK at the annual meetings in Singapore, forcing the Bank into a second review of its use of conditionality. read article...

World Bank on human rights: “active support” but no politics

News|23 November 2006

In October the Swedish minister of foreign affairs launched a Nordic trust fund for justice and human rights, and the World Bank Institute devoted its latest edition of Development Outreach, to human rights and development read article...

World Development Report 2007 on youth: familiar prescriptions

News|23 November 2006

The World Bank’s flagship annual report, the World Development Report was released in September, focusing on youth. Plans are already underway for next year’s edition on agriculture, and follow-up continues on last year’s report on equity. read article...

Global energy solutions bank on carbon trading

News|23 November 2006

In the midst of climate talks in Nairobi and the release of the Stern review on the potential catastrophic economic impacts of climate change, the World Bank has been touting the most recent draft of its investment framework on clean energy and development, and stepping up its role in devising market-based solutions to climate change. Critics have decried the hypocrisy of the Bank's role in funding fossil fuel projects, and the perverse rationale behind carbon trading read article...

High-risk water infrastructure at any cost

News|23 November 2006

After a decline in the late 90s, World Bank lending for water projects has been rapidly increasing over recent years, reaching $1.8 billion in FY05, and is set to continue. read article...

Research, knowledge and the art of “paradigm maintenance” The World Bank's development economics vice-presidency (DEC)

by Robin Broad

At Issue|20 November 2006

Robin Broad, professor in the School of International Service at American University, describes six mechanisms by which the World Bank's development economics vice-presidency performs a "paradigm-maintenance" role, privileging individuals whose work "resonates" with the neo-liberal free-market ideology. read article...

The IFC's lessons of experience & the Chad-Cameroon oil and pipeline project

by Korinna Horta, Environmental Defense

Briefing|23 November 2006

In September 2006 the IFC published its first issue of a new publication entitled Lessons of Experience. However, the IFC's lessons drawn from the external compliance monitoring group in the Chad-Cameroon project read more like a tool to market the concept of external monitors to IFC clients than lessons meant to design a more effective role for the external monitor in improving implementation of social and environmental commitments. read article...

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