IFI governance


Topic: UK policy and advocacy

20 November 2002 | Call for action

Key Documents

This page contains a guide to key documents which outline UK policy in the World Bank and IMF. They are organised under

Background to policy priorities

Annual and Spring Meetings statements

Parliamentary scrutiny

Discussions with NGOs

Background to policy priorities

Globalisation White Paper

This White paper sets out the policy priorities of the entire British government on international policies and institutions. In chapter 4, Harnessing the Private Sector, a pro-poor focus is promoted in the World Bank and IMF. It is suggested that the IMF has a role to play in terms of technical advice and support to low income countries in the pursuit of macroeconomic growth and financial stability. Both institutions are advised to encourage open and broad debate about the design of their policies within the countries where they are implemented. In chapter 6, Tackling Global Environmental Problems both the World Bank and the IMF are encouraged to improve their attention to Environmental issues. The UK proposes that the World Bank should increase its capacity to include sustainable development issues into PRSPs. The need for improved coordination between global institutions with regard to Multilateral Environmental Agreements is also highlighted. In chapter 8, Strengthening the International System the themes of transparency and accountability are two major themes. The allocation of top management positions to candidates from the more powerful countries (particularly the US and Europe) is noted. The paper suggests that the selection process should be made more open and competitive.

Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor, White Paper on International Development, December 2000.

World Bank Institutional Strategy Paper

DFID produces Institutional Strategy Papers (ISPs) about every three years to identify how to achieve the objectives of the 1997 White Paper “Eliminating World Poverty: The Challenge for the 21st century”. The World Bank ISP was drafted from 1998 and published in 2000. It summarizes the Bank’s main strengths and weaknesses then outlines DFID‘s objectives and priorities for the Bank. These follow four main themes:

Commitment to the achievement of International Development Targets (IDTs);

Building relationships with other stakeholders;

Improving organisation and efficiency within the Bank;

Strengthening financial capacity, to enable the Bank to realize it’s objectives for development.

DFID Institutional Strategy Paper “Working in Partnership with the World Bank Group”, March 2000,

Annual reports on the UK in the IMF

Following pressure from NGOs and MPs the UK Treasury now produces an annual report setting out the main policy debates in the IMF and the UK government’s role therein. The most recent such report is Responding to the Challenges of Globalisation: The UK and the IMF 2001 (published April, 2002).

On Her Majesty’s slightly-less-secret service, Bretton Woods Update 28

Brown’s “New Deal” suggests enhanced Bank, Fund roles

Gordon Brown’s speeches in late 2001/early 2002 on a “New Deal” for the global economy have been generally welcomed, especially for their suggestions that aid budgets should be increased. But some of his more detailed proposals on the World Bank and IMF are controversial.

Brown’s “New Deal” suggests enhanced Bank, Fund roles , Bretton Woods Update 26

Tackling Poverty: A Global New Deal, London 5 Feb. 2002 (PDF)

Gordon Brown speech to Federal Reserve Bank, New York, 17 Nov. 2001

Delivering New Rules Of The Game For The Global Economy, speech by Gordon Brown, April 1999

Annual and Spring Meetings Statements

UK Objectives At The Annual Meetings Of The International Monetary Fund And World Bank, 2002

Stated UK Objectives for the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) and the Development Committee at the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings, 20-21 April 2002. Issues covered:Strengthening the Global Economy; The role of the IMF in Low-income Countries; Combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

UK Objectives at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, 2002

Statement for the Development Committee, November 2001, Clare Short and Gordon Brown.

Parliamentary scrutiny

Parliamentary Select Committees have taken an increasing interest. The Treasury Committee and the International Development Committee conduct annual hearings on the World Bank and IMF respectively and have requested that the Treasury and DFID provide them with annual reports on their activities in the Fund and Bank.

Treasury Select Committee


Oral evidence session with Horst Köhler, IMF Managing Director (July)

Full transcript | transcript highlights (Bretton Woods Update 29)

Oral evidence session (June) with:

Stewart Wallis, International Director, Oxfam

Prof. Marcus Miller, University of Warwick

Prof. David Vines, Balliol College, University of Oxford

Alex Wilks, Co-ordinator, Bretton Woods Project

(Details to follow)

Oral evidence session with Tom Scholar, UK ED to the Bank and Fund (May)

(Details to follow)

Written evidence

Bretton Woods Project May 2002 | Bretton Woods Project June 2002 | Other (to follow)


Treasury Committee 2001 Report, The IMF: A Blueprint for Parliamentary Accountability

International Development Committee


On 5 November the International Development Committee of the British parliament questioned Clare Short, UK Governor of the World Bank, about the Bank/Fund annual meetings. Short was questioned on issues including debt relief, PRSP processes, the weakening of Bank social and environmental policies, the selection of the head of the World Bank. Written evidence was submitted to the committee by 16 NGOs, from the UK, Ghana, USA and Canada (posted 15 Nov. 02) More details

Written evidence

Bretton Woods Project | Halifax Initiative | Christian Aid | ISODEC– Southern Links | PSIRU

ActionAid | IRN | World Vision

Discussions with NGOs

NGOs hold meetings every quarter either with DFID officals or also with the UK ED.

Notes of these meetings, and also letters between UK NGOs and decision-makers on the World Bank and IMF will be posted here in future.