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Bretton Woods Update No.77 September/October 2011

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

IFC updated performance standards weak on human rights, other shortcomings

News|14 September 2011

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank's private sector arm, has concluded a two-year review of its performance standards on environmental and social sustainability, but its weak human rights approach has angered rights organisations. read article...

World Bank policies "enabling" African land grab

News|14 September 2011

Illustration by Robin Heighway-Bury/

New research claims World Bank Group's policies facilitate land grabs in Africa and favour the interests of financial markets over food security and environmental protection. read article...

IEG annual report slates World Bank's education work highlights problems in health, MENA

News|13 September 2011

The Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) released its annual report at end August, again finding shortfalls and uneven results across the World Bank Group. While the Bank's leadership has steered the institution towards more private sector work, outcomes in the education sector and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have dropped substantially. read article...

Programmed for Results? Concerns raised over new World Bank lending instrument

News|14 September 2011

In August, the Bank released a policy paper and draft operational policy for its controversial new Program For Results (P4R) lending instrument, aiming to rush through its approval by the end of the year, despite significant concerns. read article...

Big infrastructure, small participation World Bank and G20 push new plans

News|13 September 2011

The World Bank, in conjunction with the G20, is prioritising massive, cross-border infrastructure with private sector involvement, but has failed to involve any local communities. read article...

World Bank pushing dirty coal and massive hydro

News|13 September 2011

The Bank's energy projects in Kosovo and India are being lambasted by critics for threatening livelihoods and the environment. read article...

IFC helping Western multinationals exploit Ghana's water crisis

by Alhassan Adam

Comment|13 September 2011

The water supply crisis in Ghana is being exploited by all manner of pro-market corporate bodies ranging from the World Bank to Coca-Cola. While the World Bank is licking its wounds from failed private water management initiatives, such as the Aqua Vitens Rand Limited management contract in Ghana, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), its private sector arm, is investing in small-scale private water ventures via WaterHeath International (WHI). read article...

World Bank deaf on food speculation, vocal on financial instruments

News|13 September 2011

As agricultural market continue to experience increasing volatility, and record food prices intensify global hunger and poverty, the World Bank's approach to the crisis, which emphasises the use of commodities markets and corporate agriculture, is found wanting by groups demanding food sovereignty and food security. read article...

Scandals threaten IFI governance IMF, World Bank leaders accused

News|14 September 2011

With the new IMF head and a Bank’s managing director under judicial investigation, questions continue to be asked about IFI governance, while implementation of existing reforms remains slow. read article...

China and the World Bank

Inside the inst|14 September 2011

China joined the World Bank in April 1980, and since then has been one of its largest borrowers and recipients of technical assistance. In recent years, China has gone beyond the only role of recipient country and has increased its influence on the Bank. read article...

IFC weakens World Bank's transparency commitment

News|14 September 2011

The new access to information policy at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, has been criticised for being weaker than its public sector counterpart, and for allowing sweeping exceptions. read article...

Donor governments join critical chorus on the CIFs

News|13 September 2011

The Bank-housed Climate Investments Funds (CIFs) are facing increasing criticism from donor governments and civil society groups, while concerns that the Bank's role in the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) constitutes a conflict of interest continue. read article...

World Bank won't give up on carbon markets

News|13 September 2011

As the Bank's own report declares the carbon market is failing, the Bank is still pushing forward carbon finance initiatives. read article...

IEG slams World Bank trust funds

News|14 September 2011

IEG report slams Bank trust funds for contributing to ineffective aid. read article...

Evaluations suggest IMF, World Bank research ideologically driven

News|14 September 2011

A report by the IMF’s arms-length evaluation body, the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), suggests that Fund research does not allow room for alternative perspectives, while academics attack the World Bank for pursuing ideologically driven research agendas.  read article...

Bondholders vs the public: Outcry over IMF-EU eurozone loans

News|13 September 2011

The sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, where Greece now needs a second round of loans, threatens major economies like Spain and Italy, but IMF-backed lending packages that demand deep austerity with insufficient attention to lenders' responsibilities anger the public. read article...

IMF advice accused of risking new recession

News|13 September 2011

Since the financial crisis, the IMF's rhetoric has tried to be nuanced about austerity policies and the need to stimulate growth, but critics says its actions risk pushing the world back into recession and hurting workers. read article...

Navigating complex dilemmas the Bank on violence, conflict and peace building

by Monica Stephen

At Issue|16 September 2011

The World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development is shifting the language of international policy on supporting peace and development in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Monica Stephen of International Alert examines how the World Bank's operations need to adjust to support peace and development. read article...

Forty years is enough? In search of a new international monetary system

News|14 September 2011

On the 40th anniversary of US default on its gold convertibility obligation, decreasing confidence in the dollar has strengthened calls to reform the international monetary system. The IMF is accused of ignoring inequities at the core of the system, while developing countries are increasingly seeking alternative regional arrangements. read article...

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