IFI governance

News

Good Governance for BWIs

15 January 1998


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The IMF and World Bank should reform their constitutional rules and decision-making procedures and practices if they are to achieve the standard of good governance they themselves have defined for borrowing members. This is the finding of a report commissioned for the G24 Southern governments. The report also points to the need to:

  • redraw quotas;
  • reform voting systems;
  • ensure that operational decisions are made in an open and recorded way (ie, not by Board consensus); and
  • ensure that clear and impartial rules govern the use of special majorities.

The study endorses the G24‘s concern that the predominance of white Americans and Europeans in the BWI staff leads the institutions to adopt a narrow, predominately anglo-saxon approach rather than a genuinely “universal” approach. It advocates “the full involvement of the membership in the definition of problems (and solutions) that the institutions need to address.” Developing countries need to focus and deploy research and lobbying resources more carefully to make a strong case for policies they favour.

* Ngaire Woods, 1997, Governance in International Organizations: the Case for Reform in the Bretton Woods Institutions, prepared for the G24 Technical Group. Available from Bretton Woods Project.