Bretton Woods Update No.66—June/July 2009
Bretton Woods Project - Critical voices on the World Bank and IMF

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Bretton Woods Update No.66 June/July 2009

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World Bank health work flawed still pushing privatisation of services

News|10 July 2009

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

A recent evaluation of the World Bank's work in health is damning in its criticism of the lender's approach, particularly in Africa. Meanwhile, the Bank is continuing to push privatisation in public services such as health, education and water despite fierce criticism. read article...

IMF austerity chills crisis countries

News|10 July 2009

Criticism of the IMF continues to mount as some crisis lending dishes out heavy conditionality. Meanwhile emerging markets have agreed to stump up the cash to refill the Funds coffers, but only on their own terms. read article...

Hungary and the IMF: indebted future

by Zsolt Boda

Comment|10 July 2009

In Hungary, the IMF seems to be modestly improving its flexibility and conditionality compared to its dreadful practices in previous decades. However, a still distinctively neoliberal vision of how economies work is in play attributable as much to the Hungarian government as to the IMF. The deficits of democracy and poor economic governance in Hungary make our indebted future increasingly bleak. read article...

The IFC: opportunist expansion?

News|10 July 2009

The financial crisis has resulted in an expanded role for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), but its methods may leave a bitter taste with civil society. read article...

Record World Bank lending

News|10 July 2009

In June, the World Bank announced record levels of lending with much of the funding for infrastructure projects, where the Bank's record has been particularly controversial. read article...

The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

Inside the inst|10 July 2009

The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), part of the World Bank Group, is an arbitration forum between governments and foreign investors to settle investment disputes. Two thirds of international investment disputes go through ICSID. read article...

U-turn on Doing Business: time to withdraw from the knowledge bank?

News|10 July 2009

The World Bank Group has recently admitted that some crucial assumptions of its Doing Business report were misguided, and faces a fundamental critique of its knowledge role. read article...

Reviews fail to erase doubts over World Bank conditionality

News|10 July 2009

Reviews of World Bank development policy lending and poverty and social impact analysis leave questions as to the extent to which the Bank's budget support in developing countries targets pro-poor initiatives. read article...

Controversy continues: The World Bank's hydropower

News|10 July 2009

A recent paper by Bank staff, which argues for enhanced support of large hydropower projects, has reignited controversy over the Bank's approach, with NGOs claiming that project planning and implementation still show disregard for social and environmental considerations. read article...

Will rights and gender be at the heart of World Bank's climate response?

by Ama Marston

News|10 July 2009

Initially flagged as a global environmental problem, increasing attention is being drawn to the impacts climate change has on human rights and equity related issues such as gender, as well as the World Bank's role in tackling them. read article...

International monetary reform: IMF not in the game

News|10 July 2009

The financial crisis has reinvigorated discussion of exchange rate management and reform of the monetary system, but lack of progress at international forums like the IMF means change is only happening at the regional and bilateral level. read article...

Economic crisis: rich countries block reform at UN summit

News|26 June 2009

The first major conference on the financial and economic crisis to involve all countries ended with rich countries blocking substantive reforms demanded by developing countries. The UN conference did however push key issues up the international agenda, such as the need for a better system of international reserves, and for genuine policy space for developing countries. read article...

ICSID in crisis Straight-jacket or investment protection?

News|10 July 2009

The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is facing an explosion of cases and increasingly vocal criticism from Latin American countries. Questions remain over whether it helps channel productive investment to developing countries or serves as a tool for multinational corporations to get their way. read article...

Are climate pilots building towards the right climate architecture?

by Maria Arce and Ama Marston

At Issue|10 July 2009

Current climate pilot projects, many of which are housed under the World Bank, are not leading us towards an equitable and effective post 2012 climate architecture envisioned by NGOs in the UK and beyond. read article...

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