IFI governance


World Bank-IMF spring meetings 2009

26 April 2009

This page is being updated regularly. Check back for more news about the events inside and around the spring meetings 2009.

  1. Overview
  2. G20 and the financial crisis
  3. Background papers: Development Committee
    Background papers: IMFC
  4. Highlights of civil society meetings
  5. Highlights of official meetings and communiqués

1. Overview

The spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF are about to start in Washington, DC. They come on the heels of the G20 summit in London which decided to strengthen the IFIs, particularly the IMF, in order to combat the financial and economic crises (see Bretton Woods Project analysis of the summit). These meetings will be the first opportunity for the IFIs to take action on the G20 promises and try to capitalise on the new resources being put into them. They will also be the first chance for the vagueness in the G20 communique to be made clear. As always the Bretton Woods Project is following the action and bringing you the highlights, important details, and in-depth analysis.

On the agenda for the Development Committee is an assessment of the implications of the global economic crisis and the role of international financial institutions. Additionally, there will be an update on voice and participation. Background documents include the Global Monitoring Report 2009, Review of Bank Group Internal Governance and the Spring 2009 progress report on Enhancing Voice and Participation of Developing and Transition Countries in the World Bank Group

On the agenda for the IMFC is, as expected, a discussion of the state of the global economy anf financial markets. This traditional first item is then followed by a discussion of the IMF’s crisis response – going over the changes to the Fund’s programmes and lending facilities both for middle-income and low-income countries. There will also be discussion of the “reform agenda” for the IMF. This topic usually includes a discussion of IMF governance, but inside sources said that a full discussion of the Manuel committee report was excluded from the agenda by the IMF’s executive board. There will also be a working lunch during issues of the IMF’s resources will be discussed, meaning IMF gold sales, SDR allocations, and the expansion of the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). The background documents include: Statement by the Managing Director on the IMF’s Crisis Response and Reform Agenda, Key Developments in IMF Policy Work–October 12, 2008-April 22, 2009, and Progress report on the activities of the Independent Evaluation Office.

2. G20 and the financial crisis

The outcomes of the London Summit and their revelevance to IFIs will be an important agenda item (see Update 65). Sessions will discuss the IMFs crisis response in light of its boost in resources.

The UN commision on financial reform has been very critical of the IMF approach so far (see here). This has largely been because of ths IMF’s continued heavy handed use of conditionality (see here), which many view as overly contractionary especially given the loose fiscal and monetary policy being employed to counteract the crisis in rich countries. The IMF may have a lot of new resources , but there is concern it is not changing policy fast enough(see here). While the Fund has highlighted its changes to structural conditionality, they are not enough. New conditionality-free facilities for middle-income countries are a step in the right direction, but not enough countries will be eligible.

On the world Bank side, the G20 was quite vague about how and by how much the Bank will see a boost in resources and lending. It demanded a speeding up of governance reform but rich countries are still resisting deep changes (see here). The big G20 omission was concrete commitments to put money in the World Bank’s Vulnerability Financing Facility, the proposed instrument for rich countries to use part of their fiscal stimulus for poor countries (see here). The question is open as to whether any country besides Britain will announce contributions to the VFF during the spring meetings. If not, that will make the World Bank look quite marginalised compared to the role and money being given to the IMF.

3. Background papers: Development Committee

Global Monitoring Report 2009

Review of Bank Group Internal Governance

Enhancing Voice and Participation of Developing and Transition Countries in the World Bank Group

Background papers: IMFC

Statement by the Managing Director on the IMF’s Crisis Response and Reform Agenda

Key Developments in IMFPolicy Work–October 12, 2008-April 22, 2009

Progress report on the activities of the Independent Evaluation Office

4. Highlights of civil society meetings

For a complete listing of civil-society events, briefings, press releases, and a blog, see IFIwatchnet.

The World Bank will be posting summaries and/or webcasts of a few of the civil society dialogues.

Click on the titles below for minutes of sessions by the Bretton Woods Project and other NGOs.

21 April:

  • Gender tools for IFI watchers CSO meeting with IFC and MIGA

23 April:

24 April:

  • WB civil society engagement
  • Consultation with stakeholders on civil society self-selection process for observers on the CIF committees
  • Safeguarding development and social protection in a new financial architecture
  • IEG meeting – Evaluation lessons in unusual times
  • Vulnerable Groups and Development Policies and Programs
  • Supporting Civil Society Engagement in Gabon: A Conversation with Marc Ona
  • IFC agribusiness financing
  • Inspection Panel – CSO meeting
  • Discussion of Karachaganak Lukoil Project in Kazakhstan
  • African Trade and Debt in the Global Financial Crisis: Assessing the G20 and UN Responses
  • The World Bank’s Programs on Forests and Climate Change
  • IMF Policy Support Instrument review
  • CAO review of standards for IFC lending

25 April:

  • IMF crisis response
  • WB disclosure review
  • Education on the Brink: Macroeconomic Policies’ and Aid Flows’ Impacts on Teachers
  • Does G20 stimulus signal the end of the Debt Sustainability Framework?
  • Beyond The G20 Summit: The Future Of Financing For Development In Africa

26 April:

  • CSO strategy session on IFIs and global economy

Return here for highlights of meetings hosted by civil society organisations.

5. Highlights of official meetings

Below we bring the highlights from the communiqués at the spring meetings, including the G24, G7, IMFC and Development Committee. You can find detailed coverage of all communiqués in our dedicated article.

24 April

G24 communiqué: The G24 welcomed what was agreed at the G20 in London in early April but threw in a few twists. It specifically referenced the UN as a venue for discussion, which has been avoided by rich countries, and also obliquely called for consideration of China’s proposal to end the use of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. On the G20 agreements, it asked for further changes: a system for ex-post reallocation of SDRs, a more flexible FCL-style lending facility for low-income countries, and for donors to put money into the Bank’s Vulnerability Financing Facility and an early top-up of IDA. See the full analysis.

G7 communiqué: If you have read the G20 London Summit communiqué then you really don’t need to bother to look at the G7 communiqué. The group of 7 of the richest economies’ are all members of the G20, and their communiqué shows just how little progress has been made since the 2 April G20 meeting. Many of the agreements of that meeting are reiterated, but there is already evidence of some backsliding. See the full analysis.

25 April

IMFC communiqué: The IMFC, the direction-setting body for the IMF, as expected welcomed the G20 commitments on IMF resources, lending reviews, and other elements. It threw in a call for a quick conclusion to the Doha trade round despite no such mention in G7 or G24 communiqués. It reflected developing country demands that the temporary borrowing arrangements which are boosting the IMF’s resources be converted into permanent increases through a general quota increase. On governance questions is supported the January 2011 date for the conclusion of the next quota review, and demanded a prompt start to work on the quota formula. It was unable to say much else on governance because the IMF executive board has not yet considered the Manuel committee report on IMF corporate governance and the reshaping of decision-making bodies. See the full analysis.

IMFC statements by finance ministers

26 April

Development Committee communiqué: In keeping with the overall ‘no progress’ theme of this year’s spring meetings, the World Bank’s development committee issued a two page communiqué which had little to add to the agreements made at the April G20 summit. See the full analysis.

Development Committee statements

Read detailed BWP analysis of the content of the communiqués and the story behind the positions as they come out.