Despite attempts by the World Bank (Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (Fund) to spin their 2006 Annual Meetings (19-20 September) in Singapore as a success, events before and during the Meetings show that the two institutions have been unable to deflect doubts among civil society and developing countries about their credibility, legitimacy and relevance.
On the ‘official’ front, the Bank and Fund were unable to make convincing arguments in support of the only two new initiatives they trotted out: a proposal by the Fund for reform of quotas, and the Bank’s anti-corruption framework. On the civil society front, the Bank and Fund proved their hypocrisy once again through their reluctance to push the Singapore Government to allow full and free participation of civil society representatives in the Annual Meetings.
by Walden Bello
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, regarded as the father of microcredit, comes at a time when microcredit has become something like a religion to many of the powerful, rich and famous. Hillary Clinton regularly speaks about going to Bangladesh, Yunus's homeland, and being "inspired by the power of these loans to enable even the poorest of women to start businesses, lifting their families--and their communities--out of poverty."
In its forthcoming national budget for 2007 the Norwegian government will propose to the Parliament (Stortinget) to cancel NOK 520 million of official debts from Ecuador, Egypt, Jamaica, Peru and Sierra Leone.
The claims originate from the Norwegian Ship Export Campaign (1976-80).
This campaign represented a development policy failure. As a creditor country Norway has a shared responsibility for the debts that followed. In cancelling these claims Norway takes the responsibility for allowing these five countries to terminate their remaining repayments on these debts, says Minister of International Development, Erik Solheim.
16 September 2006 Batam, Indonesia
The organizers of the International People's Forum (IPF) in Batam, Indonesia boycotting the official events of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Singapore will continue this boycott despite the Singapore government's September 15 press statement that it will now allow 22 of 27 officially blacklisted individuals to enter the country.
September 16, 2006
We the undersigned representatives from civil society organisations and social movements call for a boycott of the official programme at the World Bank and IMF 2006 annual meetings in Singapore.
In order to stifle dissent and any possible protests at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings, the Singapore Government has resorted to draconian security measures. These include the Singapore Government's statement in January that protesters at the IMF and World Bank meetings would be caned, and the special surveillance measures in public and private spaces that the government has put in place specifically for the Annual Meetings.
July 24, 2006
The following document was collectively drafted over a period of two months by representatives of organizations that attended the "Strategy Session on the International Monetary Fund" at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, on the occasion of the IMF-World Bank Spring meeting during the third week of April 2006. It is being circulated globally for endorsement in advance of the critical Fall meeting of the Bretton Woods institutions that will be held in Singapore on Sept. 13-20, 2006. The document, with its list of endorsers, will be presented to governments attending the meeting. It is meant as the opening salvo of a global campaign, the other elements of which are a conference on the future of the Fund in Singapore on Sept. 17 and alternative events in nearby Batam, Indonesia, on Sept. 15-19.