Forthcoming research by Save the Children Fund examines the record of “safety net” social programmes in formerly socialist countries. These state supported welfare schemes are typically associated with structural adjustment policies or other poverty programmes. Case studies from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Bulgaria look in particular at whether families’ livelihoods and access to services have been significantly impaired and whether measures to protect children have been effective. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, the World Bank-advised privatization of livestock has had devastating effects on pastoral communities, with drastic stock reductions, which have impacted food supply and livelihoods. Save the Children argues that what policy-makers think of as short-term impacts (say five or ten years of adjustment) may often have significant long-term effects as children’s health and education suffer. The report is due out in mid-September.
It is time for the IMF and World Bank to understand their own responsibility and decolonise their approach.
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The Bretton Woods Project is a UK-based NGO that challenges the World Bank and IMF and promotes alternative approaches. We serve as an information provider, watchdog, networker and advocate. Our flagship publications are the Bretton Woods Observer, a quarterly critical review of developments at the World Bank and IMF, the Dispatch, a biannual analysis of the World Bank and IMF Spring and Annual Meetings, and the NewsLens, a bi-weekly roundup of key news and critical viewpoints published about the World Bank and IMF.
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