The World Bank and IMF have announced new facilities to support countries hit by public health disasters.
Burgeoning debt levels, and problems in Jordan and Philippines, indicate that debt crises are not behind us. While the IMF considers policy changes, an influential group of scholars has proposed a new Fund facility for handling sovereign debt restructuring.
The Bretton Woods Project review of the most important developments at the World Bank and IMF in 2013.
Staff at the World Bank's political insurance arm greeted unrest in the Middle East and North Africa as a business opportunity, amid criticisms that IFI policies had fuelled the crises.
Natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan have heightened calls for larger debt cancellation, rather than new IMF loans, and for a rethink of the sovereign debt system.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, launched in December a programme to facilitate insurance against natural disasters and weather-related risks in developing countries.
An IMF loan to Haiti in response to the devastating earthquake in early January has been criticised for exacerbating the country's debt burden and endangering recovery.
The Bank is under fire for failing to focus on low-income countries in its lending, and concentrating instead on the demands of rich and middle-income countries.
Notes from the CSO townhall meeting with Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Robert Zoellick
Originally drafted as internal operational policies to guide staff, World Bank safeguard policies evolved after pressure from environmental and social groups in the 1980s and were first officially implemented in 1998. They aim to protect people and the environment from the adverse effects of Bank-financed operations and are based on international agreements, even if these protections are not explicitly provided for in the borrower country's national law.