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Bretton Woods Update No.61 June/July 2008

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

Agribusiness vs. food security The food crisis and the IFIs

News|17 June 2008

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

The causes of and remedies for the food crisis are hotly contested; how this rupture in the status quo is resolved will have decisive implications for the roles of the IFIs as well as more broadly for global food security and ecological sustainability. read article...

IMF challenged on accountability, governance

News|17 June 2008

A scathing report from the Independent Evaluation Office highlights the IMF's lack of transparency and accountability, but there appears to be little shareholder agreement on the IEO's conclusions and consolidation of European board representation. read article...

IMF structural conditionality here to stay

News|17 June 2008

Despite the criticism of Fund structural conditionality levelled in the IEO's January report, the management implementation plan of board-endorsed recommendations provides little confirmation that the IMF will solve the problem. read article...

All change at the top of the Fund

News|17 June 2008

With 13 of the IMF's 20 Washington-based departments facing a change of leadership, the IMF may be at its most malleable state ever, offering managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn a chance to put his imprint on the institution. read article...

Turkey and the long decade with the IMF

by A. Erinç Yeldan

Comment|17 June 2008

In May Turkey ended its latest stand-by agreement with the IMF. To some this meant the long awaited declaration of autonomy for Turkey and the loss of the final "consumer" for the IMF. For others who adhere to the neoliberal orthodoxy, this meant the graduation of Turkey and the successful completion of the IMF programme. The reality is that neither is correct. read article...

UN calls for human rights accountability Community appeals in Kazakhstan and Nicaragua

News|17 June 2008

A UN report says the World Bank's investment arbitration facility is at odds with the protection of human rights. read article...

Rethinking the IFIs' roles in conflict states

News|17 June 2008

A new report from NGO International Alert draws lessons for the Bank's work from its experience in Burundi, Nepal and the DRC. The IMF is struggling to decide how to engage in conflict-affected states. read article...

The World Bank and transport

Inside the inst|17 June 2008

Given that the World Bank's primary activity in its first decades of operation was financing infrastructure projects, the fact that the transport sector is the single largest sector for Bank lending should come as no surprise. However with the prevalence of concerns about underinvestment in social sectors, transport lending was on the decline in the late 90s and early part of this century. Now the pendulum is swinging back and transport sector lending is on the rise in both the public and private sector arms of the Bank. read article...

Upheaval planned for IMF technical assistance

News|17 June 2008

The Fund has finally decided to revamp one of its three main pillars of activity, technical assistance, but the changes threaten country ownership over TA strategies. read article...

Donor cartel undercuts finance for renewables Bank's climate funds finalised despite concerns

News|17 June 2008

The World Bank and donors have finalised the design of the climate investment funds (CIFs) despite continued complaints over their governance and worries over their investment in non-renewable energy. read article...

IFC's intermediaries neglect environment: evaluation

News|17 June 2008

The Independent Evaluation Group found 'high development outcomes' in approximately two-thirds of projects funded by IFC-financed financial intermediaries (FI) which serve micro, small and medium enterprises. read article...

Evaluation faults Bank's 'same old formula' for public sector reforms

News|17 June 2008

In May, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) released its evaluation of Bank support for public sector reform, giving high marks for looking after the books, but failing grades for reforming the civil service and rooting out corruption. read article...

World Bank and poverty debates (II): Poverty reduction claims vindicated?

News|17 June 2008

Two new World Bank working papers have rekindled the debate over how to count the poor, with the Bank asserting that even more people have been brought out of poverty in China than had previously been estimated. read article...

Everything old is new again: Growth Commission rediscovers the state

News|17 June 2008

The Commission on Growth and Development, a group of policy makers, business leaders and scholars, has warmed to state intervention and cooled towards unfettered market-led reforms. read article...

The IMF's regressive secret Tax policy advice and its distributional impact

by Lauren Damme, Tiffany Misrahi and Stephanie Orel

At Issue|17 June 2008

While tax policy and reform is an election battleground in developed countries, the IMF has increasingly turned it into a secret technocratic exercise in developing countries. This briefing examines the IMF's involvement in providing advice on tax policy, particularly its recommendations for the imposition of value added taxes (VATs). read article...

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