Sixty civil society groups from 24 countries joined forces on 15 October for a Global Day of Action Against the IMF and World Bank during the 2021 World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings (see Dispatch Annuals 2021). They protested the Bretton Woods Institutions’ recovery agenda over concerns of greenwashing and corporate capture through, inter alia, the World Bank’s Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID) framework.
Co-organiser IBON International, a global civil society network working on democracy and development, wrote that, “GRID travels the same path of Public-Private Partnerships, the discontinued Doing Business Reports, and of the Maximizing Finance for Development—all champion the corporate capture of development” (see Observer Winter 2021, Spring 2020, Summer 2019; Briefing The World Bank’s Privatization Push). In the same article, Beverly Longid, coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), called for “systemic changes for people-centered development.” The event also raised concerns around the growing debt burden in developing countries (see Observer Winter 2021), loan conditionalities, the climate emergency, and the Bank’s opposition to the intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines (see Observer Spring 2021). IBON condemned “the IMF-WBG’s continued promotion of corporate monopolization of vaccines and technologies.”
The accompanying Global Day of Action statement called out the BWIs’ continued bolstering of a “neoliberal regime” that entrenches exploitation, inequality, and dispossession in favour of multinational corporations and their profits. It further highlighted how loan conditionalities place undue burden on Global South countries struggling with the pandemic, forcing them to prioritise debt payments and continued extractive investments over national development priorities and health spending (see Dispatch Springs 2021).
Instead, IBON and fellow organisers called for debt cancellation, a freely available people’s vaccine, and an end to “the policy regime of privatization, deregulation, liberalization, and denationalization.” Participants stressed that a people-centred and transformative development agenda must include “democratic ownership of current and future economic trajectories,” and continued global solidarity with workers’, women’s, indigenous and poor people’s movements.