IFI governance


Bank information policies under scrutiny

26 October 2000

A number of NGOs are mobilizing to input into the redrafting of the World Bank’s information disclosure policy. A joint letter has been circulated for sign-ons designed to prevent the Bank – which is constantly emphasizing transparency and good governance for others – implementing only marginal changes to its own information policy.

The open letter argues that “participation” and “ownership” must be taken to mean prior informed consent. The Bank’s proposed redraft misses whole categories of important information, including documents relating to structural adjustment and sectoral adjustment loans, which make up over 60 per cent of Bank lending.

The letter argues for the release of:

  • all Country Assistance Strategies;
  • the President’s Report, Tranche Release Memorandum and project documentation relating to structural and sectoral adjustment;
  • aide memoires, project status reports, policy papers and country policy and institutional assessments;
  • Board Minutes or summaries of Board discussions.

The letter argues that failure to release Country Assistance Strategies (which outline Bank lending plans) will make it impossible for the public to track the implementation of the broad policy goals outlined in the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. As well as NGOs, parliamentarians in Brazil and elsewhere have expressed concerns that they cannot officially obtain copies of important loan documents.

The draft policy does not address the need to translate key documents into local languages and suggests that the Bank plans not to allow documents produced by the Quality Assurance Group or the Quality and Compliance Unit available to either the Bank’s Board or the public.

As well as signing the open letter, groups are making these points directly to Bank and national officials.



NGO information gsaul@bicusa.org

Official information disclosure@worldbank.org