Civil society frustrated by lack of substantive engagement in IDA20 replenishment process

9 December 2021

The current replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s low-income lending arm, will be essential to the Bank’s support for pandemic response in low-income countries. Civil society has provided substantive recommendations for the replenishment, including through an 6 October joint statement by Belgium-based Eurodad, Zimbabwe-based Afrodad and the Bretton Woods Project. Trade unions, Oxfam and others have also made recommendations, including on civil society engagement (see Observer Summer 2021).

On 13 November the World Bank released the draft Deputies Report for IDA’s 20th replenishment process (IDA20), and invited public comments by 26 November. The finalised report will be tabled for endorsement at IDA20’s last meeting, scheduled to take place in Tokyo on December 14th and 15th.

Civil society expressed their frustration that despite substantive suggestions, few of their proposals were integrated into the IDA20 Deputies Report. Examples abound: no IDA20 commitment to universal social care, a decreased focus on inequality, the unwillingness to ensure the Bank does not support the privatisation of essential health and education services, and the potential increase in the size of the controversial Private Sector Window (see Observer Autumn 2021).

The frustration has been made explicit in a forthcoming CSO statement which stresses that the adoption of some civil society language in the absence of supporting transformative policies is insufficient to legitimise the consultation process. Nadia Daar of Oxfam International, stressed, “Opening the formal comment period when most things are already baked is rather meaningless. It is essential that civil society – both in donor and IDA recipient countries – are able to feed in meaningfully to the process” (see Observer Autumn 2019).