World Bank-IMF annual meetings 2011
News||26 September 2011|
The 2011 annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF will take place from 21 to 26 September in Washington, DC. You will be able find links below to analysis of the communiqués as well as notes of some of the civil society and official meetings, as they become available.
The sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone looks set to dominate the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank this year. With Spain and Italy facing increasing borrowing costs, the risk of a eurozone meltdown has increased (see Update 77). At the same time, the IMF programmes in Greece and Ireland are proving very controversial. The Greek programme particularly is proving difficult and the week in Washington will see a large discussion about the balance needed between haircuts for bondholders and austerity for ordinary citizens. The IMF will have to navigate carefully as Christine Lagarde, its new leader, is implicated in the design of the European loans to Greece and Ireland during her time as French finance minister. Bigger questions will be asked about the stance of the IMF overall as the global economy is seeing darker prospects ahead. The IMF has rhetorically supported job creation and growth boosting measures in the short-term with fiscal consolidation in the medium-term, but it has been accused of forcing short-term procyclical austerity packages in borrowing countries (see Update 77). The G20 meeting in Washington on Thursday is unlikely to come to any firm conclusions about the way forward given the constant tensions between G20 members.
At the World Bank, the official agenda will focus on gender, as the World Bank launched its biggest ever analytical work on gender issues on Monday in the form of the World Development Report 2012: Gender and Development. Pushed by a number of donor countries to do more work on gender, the Bank is conducting a public relations extravaganza on the subject, but not talking much publicly about its own policy approach (see Update 75). But not all is rosy with this agenda, as many women's rights groups, NGOs, and trade unions start to pick apart the WDR, they are increasingly worried about the implications of the work. Concerns have highlighted inadequate attention to: the causes of gender pay gaps, women's rights issues, social norms created by religion, the impact of fiscal austerity on women, the impact of climate change on women, and more. Moreover, the WDR is not designed to address the failings of past Bank practice in relation to gender (see Update 72, 71, 69). The WDR will be discussed at the Development Committee meeting, but the Bank's implementation plan for turning any good conclusions from the WDR into change in Bank programmes, also to be discussed at the Development Committee, is still in its infancy.
The official Development Committee agenda also includes background papers on "a corporate scorecard" for the Bank and "moving jobs centre stage". The corporate scorecard is an internal reform effort at changing how the Bank does handles its internal reporting and was launched earlier this year. It is supposed to "facilitate the strategic dialogue between the Board and Management on overall corporate performance, progress, issues, and direction." The jobs paper is in response to both the growing global employment crisis and the role of youth unemployment in fomenting the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.
Notably missing from the official agenda of the Development Committee is a discussion of land issues and food prices. With many indices of food prices surpassing levels seen in the "food price crisis" of 2008, this will be a topic that is of fundamental concern to poor people throughout the world. It will feature on the agenda of the G20 finance and development ministers - as it is one of the three main topics (along with growth and infrastructure) that have emerged as priorities from the G20 development working group. The World Bank, for its part, has been roundly criticised for an overly market-based approach to land, being accused of promoting 'land grabs' (see Update 77, 76), and to food prices (see Update 77, 76, 74). Also missing from Development Committee discussion will be energy, where the new Bank strategy remains stalled due to a disagreement over the financing of coal-powered electricity (see Update 77, 76), and infrastructure, where the G20 is taking the lead but the Bank is hoping to scoop up extra resources (see Update 77).
Bretton Woods Project detailed analysis of the content of the communiqués for the BRICS, G24, G20, IMFC and Development Committee meetings is now available.
Ahead of the 2011 World Bank-IMF annual meetings, a meeting between UK NGOs, HM Treasury and the UK executive director to the IMF Alex Gibbs was held on 13 September. A meeting between UK NGOs, DFID and the UK executive director to the World Bank Susanna Moorehead took place on 18 August.
The agenda for the autumn 2011 International Monetary and Financial Committee meeting, scheduled for Saturday 24 September, is now on-line on the IMF's website.
The papers for the autumn 2011 Development Committee meeting, scheduled for Saturday 24 September, are now on-line on the World Bank's website. They include the following:
We will bring you the highlights from the communiqués at the spring meetings – including the G24, G20, IMFC and Development Committee – as they happen.
21 - 26 September: Programme of seminars
22 September: BRICS statement (deeper analysis, original document).
22 September: G24 communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
22 September: G20 finance ministers' communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
23 September: G20 development ministers' communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
24 September: IMFC communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
24 September: Development Committee communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
Please see our in-depth analysis of all the communiques with more information on the background to these positions and why they are important. The communiqués coverage will be updated throughout the meetings.
For a listing of civil-society events, see the Bank Information Center website. The World Bank lists events taking place in the Bank's Civil Society policy forum. We will be posting notes of meetings attended by Bretton Woods Project and partner organisation staff, so check back often for more details. Full listing of the offical Programme of Seminars (POS) is available on their website.
Return here for highlights of meetings hosted by civil society organisations from Bretton Woods Project staff in Washington.
This text may be freely used providing the source is credited.
Published: 26 September 2011 , last edited: 26 September 2011
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