Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2019

22 January 2020 | Resource

Novel antique building reading narrow pile

Novel antique building reading narrow pile. Photo: https://coffee-channel.com

BOOKS

The Case for the Green New Deal
Pettifor, A., Verso, September 2019

Pettifor provides an overview of the macro-economic reforms required to achieve a global Green New Deal; she argues for a ‘steady-state economy’ to drive green investment, displacing the status quo: The globalized, dollarized financial system.

 


REPORTS AND BRIEFINGS

2019 Trade and development report: Financing a Global Green New Deal
UN Conference on Trade and Development, September 2019

UNCTAD’s 2019 report argued that in an effort to establish a Global Green New Deal, a serious discussion of public financing options is first required for governments to reclaim policy space and collectively act to boost demand, to enable the massive new wave of investments required to tackle climate change.
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A new multilateralism for shared prosperity: Geneva Principles for a Global Green New Deal
Boston University Center for Global Development Policy Center and UNCTAD, April 2019

This report introduces “a set of ‘Geneva Principles for a Global Green New Deal’ that can form the foundations for a new multilateral trade and investment regime that has shared prosperity and sustainable development as its core goals.”
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Banking on Asia: Alignment with the Paris Agreement at six development finance institutions in Asia
E3G, October 2019

This report, “assesses the level of Paris Agreement alignment within the Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea Development Bank and the World Bank. It uses 10 indicators or metrics to assess progress on the various facets of climate action, including mitigation and adaptation, climate risk, greenhouse gas accounting and others.”
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Blended finance in the poorest countries: The need for a better approach
Overseas Development Institute, April 2019

This paper casts doubt on the World Bank’s claim that it will leverage private finance from ‘billions to trillions’. It highlights that each $1 invested mobilises on average $0.75 of private finance for developing countries, but this falls to $0.37 for low-income countries.
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Burning the gas ‘bridge fuel’ myth: Why gas is not cheap, clean or necessary
Oil Change International, May 2019

The report notes, “The myth of gas as a ‘bridge’ to a stable climate does not stand up to scrutiny. While much of the debate to date has focused on methane leakage, the data shows that the greenhouse gas emissions just from burning the gas itself are enough to overshoot climate goals.”
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Climate change and the cost of capital in developing countries
UNEP, Imperial College Business School and SOAS, April 2019

This report “represents the first systematic effort to assess the relationship between climate vulnerability, sovereign credit profiles, and the cost of capital in developing countries.” It shows that over the past ten years, climate change has resulted in an increase of $40 billion in government debt payment in climate vulnerable countries.
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Digging deeper: Can the IFC’s green equity strategy help end Indonesia’s dirty coal mines?
Inclusive Development International, Bank Information Center Europe, and Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (JATAM), April 2019

The report notes that, “Recently, the IFC unveiled a series of policies designed to cut off such financing for coal, a development that civil society has welcomed. But how will these commitments be implemented in practice, and how will the IFC and its financial-sector clients address the damage they have contributed to in Indonesia?”
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Gender inequality in the tax systems of Arab countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco
Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and partners, February 2019

This report analyses the gendered impacts of taxation policy both through explicit and implicit bias in tax policy, with recommendations for progressive reforms that can promote greater gender equality.
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Securitization and sustainability: Does it help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?
Daniela Gabor, Heinrich Boell Stiftung North America, October 2019

The report argues that, “the new Wall Street Consensus — that re-imagines international development interventions as opportunities for global finance — will not deliver on its promises to deliver sustainability via securitization. The potential gains from organising development interventions around questions of ‘how to sell development finance to the market’ are overstated, while the costs are downplayed.”
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Spotlight on financial justice
Citizens for Financial Justice, September 2019

This briefing details the impact of financialisation of essential services through a study of its impact on food and land, health, women’s rights, housing, and infrastructure. The report shows that rising inequalities, and the overexpansion of the finance industry as one of its key contemporary drivers, have been created and reproduced by skewed and unfair rules of the game.  The report makes it clear that local level resistance to financial actors’ penetration is extremely important, but that confronting the drivers of inequality which are now global, such as financialization, requires concerted efforts at higher levels of policy-making as well.
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Spotlight on sustainable development 2019: Reshaping governance for sustainability
Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, July 2019

Four years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the world is off-track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report presents the governance arrangements, structures and institutions that are necessary to implement these policies and to unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs, including the role of the IMF and the World Bank.
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Too high a price for the poor and climate? The World Bank’s energy access programme in Myanmar
Bank Information Center Europe, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Hivos, and SaNaR (Save the Natural Resource), October 2019

This report provides in-depth analysis of the World Bank’s support for Myanmar’s energy investments, in a country where electricity access rates are at the lowest in Southeast Asia.
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UK aid for combatting climate change inquiry
International Development Committee, UK Parliament, May 2019

The Committee report calls on the UK Government to set an example and provide international leadership to realign the focus of aid policy, strategy and funding, to place climate change at the centre — including through its shareholding power in multilateral development banks. It notes that, “The negative consequences of a failure to act will be so serious as to nullify the effectiveness of wider aid spending.”
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Uncalculated risks threats and attacks against human rights defenders and the role of development financiers
Coalition for Human Rights in Development, May 2019

This landmark report has exposed the risks of mega-infrastructure and other ill-planned development projects on human rights defenders, and the role of development finance institutions in financing these projects, including the International Finance Institution, the World Bank’s private sector arm.
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World Bank financial flows undermine the Paris Climate Agreement
Urgewald, April 2019

This well-documented report details how, despite its rhetoric and recent changes in policies, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuels. The report demonstrates that fossil fuel investments make up a greater share of the Bank’s current energy lending portfolio than renewable projects. According to the report, the World Bank Group has provided $21 billion in loans, grants, guarantees and equity investments to support fossil fuel projects, and $15 billion for renewable energy projects.

 


BRIEFINGS

Austerity: The new normal. A renewed Washington Consensus 2010–24
Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummings, October 2019

This working paper examines historical and projected government expenditure trends for 189 countries, discussing the negative social impacts of austerity measures ushered in by the renewed Washington Consensus. It calls for urgent action by governments to identify fiscal space to accelerate development, human rights, a green recovery with jobs and inclusive growth, and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
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Billions to Trillions – A reality check
Stamp Out Poverty and RE-DEFINE, March 2019

The briefing highlights issues with blended finance, promoted by the World Bank and development banks, particularly how much it realistically mobilises, the limits of scaling up the model and concerns of tied aid.
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Can public-private partnerships deliver gender equality?
Eurodad, Femnet and Gender and Development Network, March 2019

This briefing aims to contribute to the growing civil society debate about public-private partnerships, exploring how PPPs can undermine gender equality.
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Carbon pricing and the multilateral development banks: Comparative analysis and recommendations
Oil Change International, WWF and E3G, May 2019

The briefing notes, “Several of the Multilateral Developments Banks (MDBs) currently use shadow carbon pricing to informs their decision-making when assessing potential transactions. To promote the alignment of the MDBs with the Paris Agreement, this briefing explores their use of shadow carbon pricing and offers recommendations on best practices.”
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Effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights
UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, July 2019

This UN report demonstrates that austerity measures imposed by international financial institutions such as the IMF, regularly cause violations of human rights.
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External debt vulnerability
Daniela Gabor, University of the West of England, 2019

This short presentation explains the dynamics of external debt vulnerability and sets out the problems with the proposed Maximising Finance for Development which is strongly advocated by the World Bank.
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False promises: How delivering education through public-private partnerships risks fuelling inequality instead of achieving quality education for all
Oxfam International, April 2019

The World Bank has been increasingly promoting education public-private partnerships through its lending and advice, despite evidence that shows this often fails the most vulnerable children. This paper recommends that the World Bank and other donors should stop promoting and financing market-oriented education schemes and focus on expanding quality public schooling as a human right for all.
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Financing gender inequality: why public-private partnerships leave women worse off
Equality Trust, October 2019

This briefing offers a simple introduction to the issue of public-private partnerships through a gender lens, outlining why strong public services are essential for achieving gender equality, how the rise of public-private partnerships risks undermining this, and offering policy recommendations that seek to meet the needs of women around the world.
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Financing injustice
Christian Aid, January 2019

This briefing looks at progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), financing for development, private finance and alternatives, and good investment. It argues for the need for a radically different and rebalanced financial system which ensures that the very poorest are included and actively supported to thrive, and in which developing countries have an equal say in making the rules governing the global economy.
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From the Washington consensus to the Wall Street consensus
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, October 2019

This paper reviews the recent initiative led by the G20 countries and their respective development finance institutions (DFIs), including the major multilateral development banks (MDBs), for the financialization of development lending that is based on the stepped-up use of securitization markets. It describes the key elements of the new initiative — specifically how securitization markets work and how the effort is designed to greatly increase the amount of financing available for projects in developing countries by attracting new streams of private investment from private capital markets.
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Gender responsive public services and macro-economic policy in Ghana
ActionAid International, April 2019

This briefing paper draws from the findings of an in-depth policy review and fieldwork commissioned by ActionAid’s Young Urban Women’s Programme to explore the ways that IMF-sponsored macro-economic policies have affected the provision of essential public services, with a special focus on Ghana’s health, water and sanitation sectors.
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How social protection, public services and infrastructure impact women’s rights
Gender and Development Network and Femnet, January 2019

Ahead of the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on this topic, this briefing explored how governments can deliver integrated gender-responsive and transformative social protection, public services and infrastructure.
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Push no one behind: How current economic policy exacerbates gender inequality
Gender and Development Network, July 2019

This briefing explores Agenda 2030’s “leave no one behind” principle, which does not address the structural barriers that stand in the way of gender equality. It argues that it is not just that women are left behind, but that they are pushed behind by current economic policies including austerity, labour market flexibilization, privatisation and liberalisation of trade and investment rules.
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We can work it out. 10 civil society principles for sovereign debt resolution
Eurodad, September 2019

In the face of a new wave of debt crises, and with no systematic process under which sovereign debt restructurings can take place and no possibility for a country to restructure its entire debt stock in one place and in one comprehensive procedure, this briefing from Eurodad makes the case for a debt workout mechanism.
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Working towards a just feminist economy: The role of decent work, public services, progressive taxation and corporate accountability in achieving women’s rights
Womankind Worldwide, March 2019

This briefing looks at how to shape the global economy to work for all women through progressive taxation, corporate accountability, gender transformative public services, social protection and decent work.

 


ARTICLES, CAMPAIGN LETTERS, PRESS RELEASES AND BLOGS

A global strike for a feminist future of work
openDemocracy, October 2019

The Women’s Global Strike Working Group (ourEconomy, ActionAid, FEMNET, Womankind Worldwide and Fight Inequality Alliance) explores the future of work discussion, especially the role of the World Bank and IMF in their capacity as international financial institutions. It makes recommendations for a feminist future of work, highlighting the global strike on 8 March 2020.
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Behind the numbers: Deconstructing the World Bank’s climate-finance claims
Bank Information Center, August 2019

This briefing digs into the reality behind the aggregate numbers of climate finance reported annually by the World Bank Group, providing valuable insights into what this finance is and where it ends up.
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Capitalism, postcolonialism and gender: Complicating development
Sara Salem, Gender and Development Network, July 2019

This think-piece explores how both intersectionality and postcolonial feminism expand understanding of gender, race and capitalism in development practice and theory.
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Greening the finance trinity
Dileimy Orozco, E3G, December 2019

This blog notes that, “In most countries, the ministry of finance, their central banks and regulators, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) make up the finance trinity. These are the three institutions with the most power over the economic and financial system. They are critical to the low carbon and resilient transition, playing an important role in ensuring national finance and economics align with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.”
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It’s time to tax for gender justice
Caroline Othim and Roosje Saalbrink, openDemocracy, October 2019

This piece from the co-chairs of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice Tax and Gender Working Group blog discusses tax justice and gender equality, in the context of the United Nations General Assembly convened High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development.
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Letter to World Bank president and executive directors calling for more action on climate change
The Big Shift Global, October 2019

This letter from 110 civil society organisations calls on the World Bank to “Phase out lending for all fossil fuels after 2020, including lending for ‘associated facilities’ for fossil fuel projects.”
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Letter: Lack of transparency and adequate external stakeholder participation in the IFC/MIGA accountability framework review process
75 civil society organisations, October 2019

Seventy-five civil society organisations wrote to the World Bank board of directors about the upcoming accountability framework review of the International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, which includes a review of their independent accountability mechanism, the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO). The letter calls on the board to ensure that the accountability framework is informed by individuals and communities who have been affected by IFC/MIGA-supported projects.
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Only 1% of gender equality funding is going to women’s organisations – why?
Kasia Staszewska, Tenzin Dolker and Kellea Miller, Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), the Guardian, July 2019

The authors discuss how there’s been a $1bn boost in support in the last two years, but only tiny pots of money are trickling down to feminist groups.
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Response to the IMF response on bailing out reckless lenders
Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, October 2019

Jubilee Debt Campaign UK replies to the IMF’s statement in response to JDC research showing that $93 billion of IMF loans are being used to bail out reckless lenders.
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The World Bank’s new White Paper falls short on its objective of ‘protecting all’
Development Pathways, October 2019

This blog highlights the Development Pathways and ITUC report response to the World Bank’s White Paper on rethinking social protection systems to extend coverage, which argues that it proposes a “rollback of existing rights and protections for workers, both in terms of social security and labour market protections.”
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More background on this issue

Knowledge

Background

22 January 2020 | Resource

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2019

The Bretton Woods Project's selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2019.

Knowledge

Background

1 February 2019 | Resource

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2018

The Bretton Woods Project's selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2018.

Knowledge

Background

6 December 2017

Call for critical resources on World Bank and IMF for 2017

Request for critical IMF and World Bank resources of 2017.

Knowledge

Background

3 July 2017 | Inside the institutions

World Bank’s Doing Business report

This Inside the Institutions looks at the Doing Business report and retraces key steps in its history and development, explains how ratings are calculated and outlines some of the main criticisms regarding its methodology and ideological background.

Trade

Background

11 April 2014 | Minutes

The future of Doing Business

Knowledge

Background

4 October 2013 | Inside the institutions

IMF forecasting models

Forecasting models are crucial to how the Fund performs its role as lender and global economic monitor, but the assumptions underpinning these models are frequently derided as unrealistic.

Knowledge

Background

3 October 2013 | Project news

New style, same substance: Project communications launch

Bretton Woods Project launches new communications including new publications and a redesigned website.

Latest articles on this issue

Novel antique building reading narrow pile

Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2019

The Bretton Woods Project's selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2019.

22 January 2020 | Resource

Knowledge

Analysis

Ease of Doing Business – what does it conceal?

As India has risen in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings, it has seen other key development indicators slip.

12 December 2019 | At Issue

Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2018

The Bretton Woods Project's selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2018.

1 February 2019 | Resource

Knowledge

News

Doing Business 2019: World Bank’s tunnel vision obscures calls for reform

The Doing Business Report 2019 criticised by civil society over its promotion of deregulation and low business tax.

6 December 2018

Knowledge

Background

Call for critical resources on World Bank and IMF for 2017

Request for critical IMF and World Bank resources of 2017.

6 December 2017

Knowledge

Background

World Bank’s Doing Business report

This Inside the Institutions looks at the Doing Business report and retraces key steps in its history and development, explains how ratings are calculated and outlines some of the main criticisms regarding its methodology and ideological background.

3 July 2017 | Inside the institutions

Rights

News

ILO paper questions IMF research on labour market reforms

A recent ILO publication finds major methodological flaws in reserach papers that the IMF used to justify the weakening of labour regulation.

27 June 2014

Knowledge

News

Business as usual: World Bank rejects Doing Business reforms

World Bank publishes minor changes to its Doing Business report, addressing only one of the criticisms of an independent panel review while activists continue to highlight the damage done by the rankings.

20 June 2014

Trade

Background

The future of Doing Business

Sponsors: EURODAD, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Working Group on Trade-Finance Linkages Panelists: Natalia Speer…

11 April 2014 | Minutes

Social services

News

Poland reverses World Bank-promoted pension scheme

Poland has taken public control of a World-Bank-promoted private-asset-managed pension scheme which was causing huge losses, but the Bank continues to deny blame.

31 March 2014