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Bretton Woods Update No.75 March/April 2011

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

Energy for the poor: World Bank urged to make a clean break

News|6 April 2011

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

Policymakers, analysts and campaigners have said the Bank must revise its proposed energy strategy to set a clear course for reducing energy poverty and supporting low-carbon development. The credibility of the strategy is also at risk from new coal investments under consideration at the Bank read article...

Heading for the right choice? A professional approach to selecting the IMF boss

At Issue|6 April 2011

The IMF has committed itself to ending European dominance of selection of its managing director, and introducing an open, merit-based and transparent process. This paper sets out the three key elements to ensuring a successful process next time: a focus on selecting the best candidate available; a clear, fair, and transparent process; and the legitimacy gained from the backing of a majority of countries as well as IMF voting shares. read article...

World Bank increases extractives lending despite human rights abuses

News|5 April 2011

Civil society groups have accused the World Bank of failing to foresee or respond to human rights abuses in the Bank-sponsored Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline in the Caucasus and Turkey, just as the Bank announces a boost in investments in extractive industries. read article...

World Bank ignoring forest communities?

News|5 April 2011

The World Bank has come under fire for its Inspection Panel's decision on the forestry sector in Liberia, while new reports from civil society groups add to the growing backlog of criticism over the Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). read article...

Cambodians denounce World Bank-funded land grab

by League of Boeung Kak Women Struggling for Housing Rights

Comment|5 April 2011

We are the residents of Boeung Kak in Sras Choc commune, Phnom Penh, Cambodia who submitted a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel in September 2009. Our land rights, including our right to register our land, were unfairly denied by the World Bank-financed land-titling project. read article...

Cambodia and the limits of World Bank accountability

by David Pred and Natalie Bugalski

News|5 April 2011

The World Bank Inspection Panel released an investigation report in March, which found that the Bank breached its operational policies by failing to properly design and supervise the Cambodia Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), contributing to "grave harm" to affected families. read article...

World Bank seeks expanded role in climate finance despite civil society protests

News|5 April 2011

As civil society organisations line up to demand a minimal role for the World Bank in the new Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Bank is pushing its Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) as a model for the GCF, despite criticism and protest at CIF projects flaring up in recipient countries. read article...

UK reviews of World Bank paint a mixed picture

News|7 April 2011

The UK government's review of multilateral aid endorsed the World Bank, despite identifying major institutional weaknesses. read article...

The World Bank's approach to gender mainstreaming

by Caroline Schenkel

Inside the inst|5 April 2011

The World Bank's current approach to gender mainstreaming promotes women's empowerment as "smart economics" that serves a dual equality-development purpose. This approach, which largely ignores non-economic sources of gender inequality, has been criticised for its narrow, market-driven focus. read article...

World Bank's privatisation approach to social services fails to deliver

News|5 April 2011

While the Bank is developing a new social protection and labour strategy, its approach to health and continuing push for privatisation of public services have come under fire again. read article...

Call for debt audit as IMF austerity fails

News|6 April 2011

As IMF austerity policies fail to solve Greece's debt crisis, activists call for an audit commission. Despite ongoing public protests and increasing challenges from academia, old economic principles continue to guide Fund practices. read article...

The long road to nowhere? Disputes on the global financial architecture

News|5 April 2011

While official ambitions are to refashion the global financial architecture, the IMF has yet to publish new thinking on capital flows, the G20 discussion on global imbalances is mired in dispute and the debate on a new monetary system may go in the wrong direction. read article...

Gold sales: funding debt relief or IMF bureaucracy?

News|6 March 2011

Preliminary IMF board discussions on the use of excess money generated through gold sales are awaited before the Fund’s spring meetings in mid April. Gold sales were completed in late December 2010, at a time of historically high gold prices, providing the Fund windfall profits of at least $2.8 billion more than projected in 2008 when the decision for gold sales was taken. read article...

World Bank safeguards and independent scrutiny at risk?

News|5 April 2011

Civil society groups have challenged Bank plans to rush through a new lending instrument, Program-for-Results, that would mean safeguards or equivalent standards no longer apply to a major portion of Bank lending. Meanwhile, a secretive review could strip the Bank's accountability bodies of their independence and safeguards could be scaled back for projects deemed "low risk". read article...

Industrial policy: World Bank turning the corner?

News|6 April 2011

Over the past year, World Bank chief economist Justin Lin has tried to reopen debate at the Bank over whether developing country governments should adopt active industrial policies, previously taboo at the institution.  His thesis is that though the market remains the motor for economic development, "the government should play an active role in facilitating industrial upgrading and infrastructure improvements." London School of Economics academic, Robert Wade, in a January reply to Lin ,  argues that this "door opening" argument could signal a move away from the “Washington consensus”  that "economic growth is a function of the size and competitiveness of markets" and "government 'intervention' tends to be more costly than 'market failure'."  read article...

World Bank research impact questioned

News|6 April 2011

World Bank evaluations of the influence of its research and reports paint a mixed picture. read article...

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