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Conditionality

News

Workshop on aid and the roles of the World Bank and IMF in low-income countries

25 April 2007

Agenda

Agenda

Questions and outcomes

9:00 – 9:30 

Coffee, Introductions

9:30 – 11:00 
Chair:
Presentations:
(7 min each)

Aid Architecture
Sarah Mulley, UKAN
Paolo de Renzio, ODI
Wahu Kaara, All African Conference of Churches

Key Question:

  • What role do/should the IMF and World Bank be playing in the evolving international aid architecture?

Expected Outcome:

  • Contribute to/feedback on UKAN’s Manifesto for Aid with respect to the IFIs

11:30 – 1:00
Chair:
Presentations:
(7 min each)

IMF role and the PRGF
Peter Chowla, BWP
Kato Lambrechts, Christian Aid
Sarah Hague, Save the Children UK (tbc)

Key Question:

  • Should the IMF be providing development finance to low-income countries?

Expected Outcome:

  • Clarify and where possible harmonise NGO positions on the IMF’s PRGF and strategise about advocacy

1:00 – 2:00

Lunch

2:00 – 3:30
Chair:
Presentations:
(7 min each)

Knowledge roles of the IFIs
Jeff Powell, BWP
Charity Musamba, Jubilee Zambia
Romilly Greenhill, ActionAid

Key Question:

  • What role, if any, should the Bank and Fund play in serving as knowledge resources to low income countries through technical assistance, research and other means?

Expected Outcome:

  • Inform NGO positions on research and TA, brainstorm on how to move DFID funding away from Bank research

4:00 – 5:30
Chair:
Presentations:
(7 min each)

World Bank Governance
Jeff Powell, BWP
Sarah Mulley, UKAN

Key Question:

  • What position will UK agencies take on how to improve low income country voice in the governance of the World Bank?

Expected Outcome:

  • Create a coalition position on Bank governance reform for advocacy in the autumn, including targeting the Bank’s leadership selection process, and strategise on advocacy

6:00 +

BWP/UKAN Spring Social event
Horseshoe Pub
24 Clerkenwell Close, EC1R 0AG

Key Questions:

  • How much can you drink?
  • Will the mysterious sword dancers return?

Practicalities:

Location: Save the Children, 1 St. John’s Lane, London EC1M 4AR (nearest tube: Farringdon)

Date: 1 May 2007

Concept Note

To be jointly organised by BWP & UKAN
Note prepared 19 March 2007

To date there have been gaps in the thinking and policy lines of UK NGOs on several key questions in relation to low-income countries, multilateral institutions and development. We think the areas we have identified below are places where there are both significant potential gains to be made in advocacy and traction for reform in the next 1-2 years. At the end of this note we set out some of the background in greater detail.

Objectives: Bring the BWI-UK and UKAN networks together to address the following four questions, with a view to coordinating policy and advocacy positions:

  1. What role do/should the IMF and World Bank be playing in the evolving international aid architecture?
  2. Should the IMF be providing development finance to low-income countries?
  3. What role, if any, should the Bank and Fund play in serving as knowledge resources to low income countries through technical assistance, research and other means?
  4. What position will UK agencies take on how to improve low income country voice in the governance of the World Bank?

Proposal: We think that a day-long seminar/workshop on these topics is in order. We envision breaking the day up into three sessions:

    1. A morning session on aid and lending to LICs that covers the first two questions above;
    2. An early afternoon session on the other roles (TA, research, etc) of the IFIs in LICs;
    3. A final session on governance reforms at the Bank.

We imagine having a few presenters on each topic (probably 2 or at most 3 per topic) for about 30 minutes. We would then shift into discussion and (hopefully) coordination for future joint working. Afterwards we will host the obligatory kick-back session at a local pub.

Practicalities: We have asked Save the Children UK to host the event because of their central location and ample meeting space. They have tentatively scheduled May 1 for the event. Please inform us if this date conflicts with other events.

Audience: This will be a UK NGO meeting of BWI-UK and UKAN members. We want to limit participants to 30 people. This should leave room for representatives from most organisations. Where necessary we will invite external participants who have key information or analysis to give. In particular we would like the participation of some Southern civil society representatives (who are in London – we don’t have funds to fly people here), and possibly a Southern official and/or a DFID/HMT person who is willing to speak frankly (in a personal capacity) on these issues.

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Contribute to/feedback on UKAN’s Manifesto for Aid with respect to the IFIs;
  2. Clarify and where possible harmonise NGO positions on the IMF’s PRGF and strategise about advocacy;
  3. Inform NGO positions on research and TA, brainstorm on how to move DFID funding away from Bank research;
  4. Create a coalition position on Bank governance reform for advocacy in the autumn, including targeting the Bank’s leadership selection process, and strategise on advocacy.

Wanted: Your feedback on the idea in general, the topics, ideas for speakers, and brainstorm for the agenda/expected outcomes, etc.

Background: Development and environment NGOs in the UK have largely come together on policy positions on conditionality and on governance of the IMF. There have also been common advocacy and campaign efforts (both inside and outside of MPH) on DFID, the World Bank and the IMF. A Europe-wide campaign has been launched by NGOs against conditionality and fossil fuel funding by the World Bank. The UK Aid Network has been successfully engaging DFID on a range of issues in multilateral and bilateral aid.

However, one area missing has been a “big-picture” discussion of the roles that we envision the IFIs playing in the wider context of development finance and aid architecture, particularly in low-income countries. We have repeatedly received feedback that discussing governance of the multilateral institutions is not productive unless we consider these fundamental roles as well. In the next two years there will be key global events on financing for development – including the UN FfD review and the OECD DAC Accra forum. And top politicians (Blair, Brown, de Villepin) have mooted radically shaking up the institutional framework for aid and development finance.

Recent context: The committee examining World Bank-IMF collaboration recently issued its report (the Malan report) criticising the overlap of the two institutions in development finance for low-income countries. An independent evaluation of the IMF’s role in aid in Sub-Saharan Africa highlighted that the IMF has not been working to mobilize aid and that the PRGF framework has often prevented aid from being spent. Additionally the IMF budget crisis prompted the Crockett report to examine the IMF’s income. But feedback we have received from Washington is that the G7 is unanimous that they want to examine income and expenses together – thus the IMF board will be reconsidering the IMF’s roles and mandate over the next year. A recent independent review of the World Bank’s research function has found serious deficiencies and ideological biases in its operations.

These reports provide opportunities to leverage the debate on the roles these institutions should be playing in low income countries. As part of the IMF’s strategic review, the Fund will be proposing new policies to regulate its relations with low-income countries this spring and summer. More broadly, the increasing emphasis on aid effectiveness, shifting landscape of development finance and the FfD review process provide opportunities to shake up the institutions, free policy space for developing countries and make aid more effective for low income countries. There seems to be more appetite for fundamental reform in the international system than has been the case in recent years. We believe the issues highlighted above – aid architecture, the IMF in low-income countries, the Bank’s research and TA work, and Bank governance – are some of the ripest areas for reform and success would bring significant gains for development.