The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arm of the World Bank Group, is facing growing criticism from developing country governments. In October an ICSID tribunal imposed an unprecedented $2.4 billion fine on the Ecuadorian government in a case brought by US-based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), whilst a $2 billion complaint against the Indonesian government by Australian company Churchill mining is due to be heard in May. In December Martin Khor, of intergovernmental developing country think tank the South Centre, said that the tribunal system has been “widely criticised for its lack of professionalism and transparency, its conflicts of interest and the secrecy of its cases and outcomes. ” Khor called for a review and reform of investment treaties to be “accelerated at both national and international levels”.
It is time for the IMF and World Bank to understand their own responsibility and decolonise their approach.
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The Bretton Woods Project is a UK-based NGO that challenges the World Bank and IMF and promotes alternative approaches. We serve as an information provider, watchdog, networker and advocate. Our flagship publications are the Bretton Woods Observer, a quarterly critical review of developments at the World Bank and IMF, the Dispatch, a biannual analysis of the World Bank and IMF Spring and Annual Meetings, and the NewsLens, a bi-weekly roundup of key news and critical viewpoints published about the World Bank and IMF.
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