Recommended resources of the year 2005

23 January 2006

I. Books

Accountability of the IMF, Carin and Wood (eds.), Ashgate, 2005. ISBN: 0754645231
Collection of academic papers with a policy edge, examining IMF governance reform, including an innovative proposal for an IMF ombudsman.

The new conditionality: The politics of Poverty Reduction Strategies, Jeremy Gould (ed.), Zed Books, 2005. ISBN: 1842775227
Detailed case studies from Tanzania, Vietnam and Honduras back up the conclusion that “new conditionalities perpetuate debt servitude because aid agencies need to move money in order to survive.”

Helping the poor: The IMF and low-income countries, Teunissen and Akkerman (eds.), FONDAD, 2005. ISBN: 9074208258
and its companion Protecting the poor: Global financial institutions and the vulnerability of low-income countries.
Collection of thoughtful analyses by academics and civil society actors on issues including IMF poverty analysis and its approach to debt and financing the MDGs.

The IMF and the World Bank at sixty, Ariel Buira (ed.), Anthem Press, 2005. ISBN: 1843311968
and its companion Reforming the governance of the IMF and the World Bank.
The G24 has sought eminent scholars to inform its member governments about the latest thinking on issues such as conditionality, crisis prevention, industrial strategy and services provision, as well as World Bank-IMF governance reforms.

Imperial nature: The World Bank and struggles for social justice in the age of globalization, Michael Goldman, Yale University Press, 2005. ISBN: 0300104081
This book sheds light on the role of the World Bank in increasing global inequalities, and the unprecedented chasm that it has created between reality and the Bank’s grand illusion of development.

Helping people help themselves: From the World Bank to an alternative philosophy of development assistance, David Ellerman, University of Michigan Press, 2005. ISBN: 0472031422
Former speech-writer for then World Bank president James Wolfensohn, development polymath Ellerman believes that the Bank will soon combine one form of unhelpful help (social engineering) with the second form of unhelpful help (long-term charitable relief). Sobering stuff.

And the money kept rolling in (and out): Wall Street, the IMF and the bankrupting of Argentina, Paul Blustein, Public Affairs, 2005. ISBN: 1586482459
Washington Post columnist Blustein gives a very readable account of the Fund’s follies in Argentina.

Global knowledge networks and international development, Simon Maxwell and Diane Stone (eds.), Routledge, 2004. ISBN: 0415349443

II. Official resources

US reform bill on multilateral development banks
Progressive US bill signed into law in November 2005 thanks to the influence of Senator Richard Lugar, containing a number of significant anti-corruption, transparency and accountability provisions in relation to the MDBs.

Partnerships for poverty reduction: Rethinking conditionality, DFID
Up for civil society ‘pleasant surprise of the year’ award, the UK’s Department for International Development releases its new approach paper to conditionality – the first official agency to come around to the overwhelming body of academic and civil society research showing that economic policy conditionality doesn’t work. Can others be convinced? Will DFID walk the talk? 2006 will tell.

III. Web resources

IFIs Latin American monitor
Terrific new website which fills the language gap between work on the IFIs in Latin America and the rest of the world. Rapidly accumulating a database of southern civil society analysis of the IFIs, and linked with the global initiative.

Global Transparency Initiative and IFI transparency resource
Bringing together IFI watchers and freedom of information campaigners, the Global Transparency Initiative is attempting to change the rules of the game by which IFI transparency is judged. A key resource of the GTI is the IFI transparency resource, an incredibly detailed database rating the different elements of all the MDBs’ disclosure policies.

IV. Civil society papers/resources

Chad-Cameroon: human rights “contracted out”, Amnesty International
Looks at the role of ‘host government agreements’ in relation to the Bank-financed Chad-Cameroon pipeline, and warns that the Bank must share responsibility for the danger such agreements pose to human rights or “risk freezing human rights protections for decades to come”.

Broken promises: the World Bank and Forests, multiple agencies
Inter-agency report examining how programmes funded by the World Bank are causing destruction of the world’s remaining forests, harming forest-dependent peoples. Cites case studies in DRC, Brazil, Cambodia, and India.

Pumping poverty, multiple agencies
A series of resources examining the role that European public money plays in facilitating oil development. Includes reports on the roles of UK and Dutch development agencies, and DVD documenting a speaker tour of Friends of the Earth representatives from affected communities in Georgia, Guatemala, Ghana and Nigeria.

Global Health Watch Report 2005, People’s Health Movement, Medact and the Global Equity Gauge Alliance
Alternative to the WHO’s World Health Report, assesses the state of health care systems world wide and the health of vulnerable communities such as indigenous peoples. It targets the BWIs for their role in weakening public health care and concludes that the Bank “has become a much bigger influence than the WHO in the health sector”.

Changing course: Alternative approaches to achieve the MDGs and fight HIV/AIDS, ActionAid International
Blames Fund macroeconomic conditions for developing countries’ inability to deliver economic growth and therefore the social spending required to meet the MDGs.

Do it yourself in Palestine Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.
Describes the Bank’s current and future role in co-ordinating “development and growth” efforts in Palestine.