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Bretton Woods Update No.71 June/July 2010

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Debt crisis in Europe: Beware IMF bearing gifts

News|17 June 2010

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

The descent of Greece into a sovereign debt crisis marks the first time a country that uses the euro has gone to the IMF. The fear of adverse market reaction has now moved Europe towards greater coordination and the G20 to argue against continued fiscal stimulus. read article...

IMF's latest prescription: Cure the crisis with austerity

News|17 June 2010

The IMF has gone back to promoting fiscal austerity and pressuring governments to implement spending cuts and structural reforms. Austerity also remains at the heart of the Fund's debt sustainability policies. read article...

IMF bank tax proposals cause controversy

News|17 June 2010

A leaked copy of the IMF's report to the G20 on A fair and substantial contribution by the financial sector which proposes two new financial sector taxes to cover some of the costs of the financial and economic crisis, has been criticised by campaigners for inadequate analysis of the potential of the financial transactions tax (FTT), dubbed the Robin Hood tax. read article...

The Greek crisis and the involvement of the IMF

by Elena Papadopoulou

Comment|17 June 2010

The “Greek expression” of the crisis has revealed an amazingly broad range of issues not only concerning the structural problems of the Greek economy, but also those of the European Union (EU) as an economic and currency area, and its unwillingness or inability to react to the problem in a timely, meaningful and collective way. read article...

IMF board shies away from bold mandate changes

News|11 June 2010

In a series of four papers the IMF executive board has been discussing fundamental changes to the way it does business. Despite the financial, economic and debt crises demonstrating the failures in the current international architecture, there was no consensus on the need for, or direction of, reform. read article...

IFI governance reform freezing over?

News|17 June 2010

An in-depth analysis of the latest round of World Bank reforms shows they delivered significantly less than proclaimed, while IMF governance reforms, slated to conclude in January 2011, are proceeding slowly and promising only minor changes. read article...

World Bank work on land supports "a new form of colonialism"

News|17 June 2010

A set of voluntary principles for agricultural investment in developing countries, launched by the World Bank and other institutions in April, veils the promotion of investors' interests at the expense of host populations, warn civil society groups. read article...

World Bank clings to fossil fuels, stumbles on clean energy

News|17 June 2010

The World Bank's energy lending suggests that it remains wedded to fossil fuels, as independent evaluators and civil society groups raise serious concerns about its approach to energy efficiency and renewables. read article...

Is IFC palm oil investment a foregone conclusion?

News|18 June 2010

The World Bank is currently undertaking a major review of its controversial engagement in palm oil production, but critics warn that consultation has been inadequate and that the Bank seems to have already decided to continue investment in the sector. read article...

Resistance to Bank's role in climate finance as alternatives gain traction

by Ama Marston

News|17 June 2010

As talks aim toward an agreement on climate finance in December in Cancun, fault lines remain about the role of the World Bank. Contradictions in recent Bank lending and contributions to alternative financing mechanisms have fuelled ongoing debates about the Bank’s role. read article...

World Bank performance standards review reveals need to raise the bar

by Ama Marston

News|18 June 2010

With a review of the social and environmental performance standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) underway, reports from within the World Bank Group as well as civil society highlight the need for reform. read article...

Human rights (the World Bank way)

by Kirk Herbertson, Kim Thompson and Robert Goodland

At Issue|18 June 2010

Most of the world's governments have ratified at least one human rights treaty or convention. Kirk Herbertson, Kim Thompson and Robert Goodland of the World Resources Institute ask why the World Bank Group - which is owned by these same governments - is hesitant to discuss human rights openly. read article...

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