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Bretton Woods Update No.72 September/October 2010

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

IFIs on trade and investment: Liberalisation bias returns

by Aldo Caliari

News|30 September 2010

The World Bank’s latest report on foreign investment and its new trade strategy are part of a worrisome trend that involves the Bank’s growing use of tools other than conditionality, to restrict the space for countries to pursue alternative, country-tailored development strategies. read article...

IMF boardroom crisis: Europeans stubbornly cling to chairs

News|30 September 2010

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

IMF governance reform was thrown into disarray in August by a fight between the US and Europe over reducing European board seats. Other promised reforms, including to voting shares and leadership selection appear to be going backwards. read article...

Palmed off: World Bank's palm oil framework 'business as usual' despite environmental and rights concerns

News|30 September 2010

The World Bank’s draft framework for investment in the palm oil sector was met with dismay from civil society groups, who said that it failed to offer a credible strategy to address manifold social and environmental problems. read article...

World Bank coal lending up amid energy furore

News|30 September 2010

Energy policy at the World Bank remains controversial, with escalating lending to coal projects and a delay to the energy strategy review. Past Bank-financed energy projects in Ghana and Albania are also proving problematic. read article...

World Bank and climate: new roles, old challenges?

News|30 September 2010

With the World Bank and IMF under consideration as significant sources of climate finance, controversy continues around the Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) and carbon offset projects. read article...

Undermining development? IFIs' role in extractive industries in disarray

News|30 September 2010

Ongoing mining projects’ impacts on rights, gender and the environment suggest a new approach to the sector is needed, as the IMF and World Bank dole out contradictory advice on mining revenues. read article...

Failing to fix the foundations IMF mandate reform falls short

News|30 September 2010

As the IMF mandate reform concludes, significant changes prove elusive.  While proposed reforms for central banking and surveillance lack ambition, positions on capital controls remain inconsistent. The Multilateral Assessment Process promotes business as usual. read article...

IFI-induced debt catastrophes?

News|30 September 2010

Natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan have heightened calls for larger debt cancellation, rather than new IMF loans, and for a rethink of the sovereign debt system. read article...

IMF changing position on financial sector taxation?

News|30 September 2010

After the IMF's initial dismissal of a global financial transactions tax, its opposition lately seems to have softened. An August draft working paper by a Fund staffer was welcomed by campaigners for its positive view of FTTs. read article...

Saying one thing but meaning another: IMF advises protecting jobs and cutting spending

News|30 September 2010

While Hungary has booted out the IMF, Greece is still toeing the line of IMF austerity demands. The IMF has softened its rhetoric in some places, notably on unemployment, but critics worry that many staff are still pushing fiscal retrenchment that may damage growth prospects. read article...

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)

Inside the inst|30 September 2010

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which forms a part of the World Bank Group, promotes foreign direct investment (FDI) in its 175 member countries. read article...

Gender-blindness and conditionality cast shadow over record World Bank lending

News|30 September 2010

New evidence of worsening gender performance and persistent conditionality has led critics to ask if the Bank is fit for purpose. read article...

World Bank admits 'land grab' risks, proceeds anyway

News|30 September 2010

A long-suppressed report by the World Bank remains supportive of large-scale land acquisitions in developing countries by foreign investors, despite highlighting significant risks for vulnerable populations. Civil society groups have argued that the Bank is complicit in violations of human rights associated with the so-called ‘land grabs’ read article...

Climate sabotage: Bank undermines direct access to UN Adaptation Fund

by Red Constantino

Comment|30 September 2010

The World Bank is actively undermining the ability of the Philippines to directly access urgently needed climate adaptation finance without involving intermediaries. read article...

IMF at MDG summit: Poor countries should spend less, not more

News|30 September 2010

While the IMF has focussed on its mandate review and governance reform, the institution’s policy towards low-income countries has taken a backseat. Civil society groups are worried that the IMF has returned to promoting fiscal austerity and constraining the investment needed to reach goals on poverty. read article...

IMF crisis lending reform faces fundamental critiques

News|30 September 2010

While the IMF has given the green light to new crisis lending windows, critics argue that it should focus instead on other ways of preventing crises. read article...

World Bank assesses water strategy, faces barrage of criticism

News|30 September 2010

In September, the Bank released a progress report on the implementation of its 2003 water resources strategy, while criticism mounts over its hydropower lending, water resource management and support for private sector provision. read article...

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