A new book by two researchers at the University of Oslo describes the structure and decision-making processes of multilateral institutions. Covering the World Bank, regional banks, IMF, WTO and UNDP, they analyse how major donor governments, and increasingly NGOs, determine their directions. They also describe specific cases such as the Arun III dam, Nepal and the Samut Prakarn project, Thailand. They are very critical, but conclude: “with all their faults the World Bank and other multilateral institutions are a potential bulwark against the unilateral actions of a single powerful country”.
After 4 years of on-off negotiation and public opposition, the government of Egypt has signed a loan deal with the IMF whose impacts civil society fears will encroach upon human rights, social protection and social provision, like health and education, upon which the poorest depend.
Investments by the World Bank-hosted Global Financing Facility (GFF) do not reflect the family planning priorities identified by developing countries and local communities. The GFF also continues to suffer from a lack of transparency and meaningful civil society participation, raising doubts about the new mechanism’s effectiveness.
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