This page contains a guide to key documents which outline UK policy in the World Bank and IMF. They are organised under
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
Statement for the Development Committee, November 2001, Clare Short and Gordon Brown.
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)
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)
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
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.