Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2021

2 February 2022 | Resource

REPORTS

World Inequality Report 2022
World Inequality Lab, December 2021
The most recent World Inequality Report stresses that “after three decades of trade and financial globalization, global inequalities remain extremely pronounced: They are about as great today as they were at the peak of Western imperialism in the early 20th century”, adding that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing trends.

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World Bank’s Development Policy Finance 2015 to 2021: Stuck in a carbon intensive rut
Recourse, Trend Asia, and Alternative Law Collective, December 2021
This report looks at World Bank Development Policy Finance with a focus on climate related reforms in Pakistan and Indonesia. These case studies demonstrate how DPF can influence investment decisions towards either carbon-intensive development, such as gas or coal, or low-carbon development.

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Missing Links: How climate change remains peripheral to IMF economic surveillance activities
Recourse, November 2021
The report explores the experience with IMF economic surveillance of three countries— Indonesia (2019 and 2020), Philippines (2019 and 2020) and Vietnam (2019 and 2021)— selected due to the major vulnerabilities to climate change that they face and/or their role as contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

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Out of the Shadows: Integrating climate change into IMF Technical Assistance
Recourse, November 2021
This report examines recent IMF technical assistance reports and assesses the extent to which the assistance provided was compatible with meeting climate change objectives, as set out in Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

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UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2021: From recovery to resilience
UN Conference on Trade and Development, October 2021
This report underscores the need to ensure a balanced global recovery from the global pandemic and resulting economic and inequality crises through a redistribution of incomes between and within countries.

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The Public Versus Austerity: Why public sector wage bill constraints must end
Action Aid, Public Services International and Education International, October 2021
The report exposed how IMF austerity cuts in just 15 countries have blocked the recruitment of over 3 million nurses, teachers and other essential public sector workers. Implementation of public sector wage bill cuts undermines progress on health, education and gender equality while blocking climate action in some of the world’s poorest countries. No consistent advice was given to countries about how to increase fiscal space, for example by raising tax revenues through progressive reforms.

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Putting people and planet at the heart of green equity
Recourse, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington DC, BankTrack, Trend Asia and Centre for Financial Accountability, October 2021
This report examined one particular type of finance, which is rapidly gaining popularity among publicly-backed financial institutions: ‘green equity’. The report aimed to prompt a renewed debate on how development banks and climate funds can use equity investments to avoid exacerbating climate change, to do no harm by preventing human rights abuses and negative social and environmental impacts, and to instead do good by signaling how they can serve people and the planet better.

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The policy lending doctrine: Development Policy Financing in the World Bank’s Covid-19 response
Eurodad, September 2021
This report investigated the use of DPF in the WB’s Covid-19 response, finding that a total of US$22.94 billion were committed for the 90 Development Policy Operations (DPOs) analysed, which included a total of 650 prior actions. Out of 90 DPOs, 45 were Covid-19 related.

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Reforming global finance to support a just energy transition: Implications for IMF policy advice
Action Aid USA & Bretton Woods Project, August 2021
This report found that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has undermined global climate action by supporting fossil fuel expansion through its policy advice, locking developing countries into a reliance on dirty coal and gas that is harming their economies and the planet.


BRIEFINGS & POLICY PAPERS

Understanding the Consequences of IMF Surcharges: The Need for Reform
Global Development Policy Center & the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University, October 2021
This policy briefing explored the consequences of the IMF’s surcharges and issues an urgent call for reform. It also examined the economic implications of the surcharges from a global distributive perspective.

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Re-channeling Special Drawing Rights for a Climate Resilient and Just Transition: Prospects for a Resilience and Sustainability Trust
Task Force on Climate, Development and the IMF, September 2021
This policy brief outlines what the core objectives, modalities, eligibility and scale should form the core of the proposed Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). Sustained re-channeling of new SDR issuances into such a Trust could form an essential part of the climate and development finance landscape in emerging market and developing countries.

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Debt and the climate crisis: a perfect storm
Jubilee Debt Campaign, Afrodad, APMDD, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Global Justice Now, Jubilee Scotland and Latindadd, September 2021
This briefing explored the links between debt and the climate emergency and demonstrates the importance of addressing unsustainable debt in the global South for achieving climate justice.

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Adding Fuel to Fire: How IMF demands for austerity will drive up inequality worldwide
Oxfam, August 2021
The findings in this briefing paper show that the IMF is systematically encouraging countries to adopt austerity measures once the pandemic subsides, risking a severe spike in already increased inequality levels. Oxfam joins global institutions and civil society in urging governments worldwide and the IMF to focus their energies instead on a people-centred, just and equal recovery that will fight inequality and not fuel it. Austerity will not ‘build back better’.

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International institutions and using country systems: Implications for gender equality
BRICS Feminist Watch, July 2021
International Financial Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Banks are powerful entities. Their programmes and policies impact the lives of millions of children, women and men in developing countries. These papers offer a chance to re-examine the much-touted country systems to explore pathways by which feminist can usher in greater accountability within international financial institutions.

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The new debt crisis and what to do about it
Global Policy Forum, June 2021
This paper briefly maps the current sovereign debt landscape as well as the inefficiencies in the current crisis management system and assesses some of the old and newer proposals to tackle debt crises.

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Feminist proposals on macroeconomic policies needed for a Covid-19 economic recovery: A perspective from the African continent
Gender Development Network, June 2021
Three academics from the Institute for Economic Justice in South Africa suggest that Covid-19 presents an opportunity to reshape macroeconomics, explain feminist approaches, explore the responses of African governments to the pandemic, and propose recommendations for a more just and equitable economic recovery.

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Closing loopholes: How the IFC can help end fossil fuel finance
Recourse & Trend Asia, March 2021
This briefing focused on the loopholes that allow IFC support for oil, coal and gas to continue via its financial intermediary equity clients. The briefing finds that IFC clients continue to fund coal plants and invest in gas and oil exploration and production all over the world.

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Falling short: World Bank needs to focus on new connections for energy poor countries
Recourse & Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, March 2021
This briefing reviewed energy sector operations of the World Bank Group approved during 2017 to 2020 in the top 5 energy access deficit countries: Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Pakistan, and Ethiopia.

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A feminist and decolonial Global Green New Deal: Principles, paradigms and systemic transformations
Feminist Economic Justice for People & Planet Action Nexus, March 2021
This briefing, written by Bhumika Muchhala, argues that an internationalist, intersectional, global justice and decolonial historical lens and consciousness is indispensable to a feminist and decolonial Global Green New Deal. A new paradigm is needed that forges active links between climate change, racialized and gendered labor exploitation, trade rules and economic structures that reproduce inequalities both within and among nations.

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Risky business position paper on the promotion of public-private partnerships in healthcare
Wemos, March 2021
In this paper Wemos recommends global actors such as the World Bank and World Health Organization and country donors to stop promoting public-private partnerships for healthcare provision and financing in low- and middle-income countries. Instead, they should focus on strengthening public healthcare provision and financing – in alignment with the current trend in high-income countries.

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Reforming the IMF for a resilient recovery
ITUC, March 2021
This report describes how the ambitious vision articulated by IMF leadership for recovery can be operationalised through reform, ending decades of failure by learning lessons and abandoning market fundamentalism.

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PPPs & women’s human rights – feminist analysis from the Global South
Dawn Feminist, March 2021
This publication was conceived to contribute to feminist analyses on PPPs, and to ongoing debates on the role of public and private sectors in financing for development. The articles illustrate the impact of PPPs on women’s livelihoods and human rights, as well as their effects on other forms of inequality.

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Climate change and IMF surveillance: The need for ambition
Global Development Policy Center, March 2021
This policy brief outlines the macro-critical aspects of climate change that will need to be incorporated into IMF surveillance activity and examines the extent to which climate risks have been a part of IMF surveillance in recent years.

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Climate adaptation finance: fact or fiction?
CARE, January 2021
In this briefing, CARE together with civil-society organisations in Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nepal, Vietnam and the Philippines, has assessed whether rich countries’ reporting of adaptation finance is accurate, and whether the reported amounts genuinely contribute to climate adaptation. In addition, they investigated whether the funded projects are gender-responsive and prioritise the poorest and most vulnerable members of the target populations.


JOURNAL ARTICLES, BOOKS & BLOGS

Austerity Redux: The Post-pandemic Wave of Budget Cuts and the Future of Global Public Health
Alexander Kentikelenis & Thomas Stubbs, Global Policy, October 2021
In this article, the authors review available evidence, focusing on public spending projections by the IMF and the precise content of IMF lending arrangements. Overall, they find that abandonment of the austerity argument is partially true right now, and questionable in the medium-term.

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Special Drawing Rights: Saving the global economy and bolstering recovery in pandemic times
Bhumika Muchhala (Third World Network), and Christopher Hope (Bretton Woods Project), Eurodad, 2021
This blog provides a summary of key issues emerging from recent high-level event on SDR recycling mechanisms, funds, and vehicles.

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How tax reform can promote growth and gender equality in the post-COVID era
Marcello Estevão (World Bank), Vitor Gaspar (IMF), Navid Hanif (UNDESA), Pascal Saint-Amans (OECD), Platform for Collaboration on Tax, June 2021
This blog urges to: Endeavor to remove explicit and implicit biases in the tax systems that disadvantage women; Engage with women to make the administration of taxes responsive to women’s needs; Highlight gender equality issues in tax system reform through stakeholder consultations such as the Platform for Collaboration on Tax (PCT) Workshop that took place in June.

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Multilateral Development Banks: A system of debt or development?
Susan Engel & Adrian Bazbauers, Developing Economies, March 2021
In this blog the authors explore whether the MDBs work as a system and what role they play in promoting both debt and development so here is a short summary of some of our key finding on these three issues.

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Risky business: COVAX and the financialization of global vaccine equity
Felix Stein, Globalization and Health, volume 17, article 112. September 2021
This article explores the consequences of the financialisation of the Covax initiative in terms of equity and effectiveness and concludes that a significant challenged faced by Covax is that “when in doubt, COVAX err[ed] on the side of private sector finance.”

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Financialization (chapter 21), in Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies
Jennifer Clapp and S. Ryan Isakson; Edward Elgar publishing, September 2021
The chapter argues that financialization exacerbates inequalities within and between different actors in the food system and undermines the socio-ecological resilience of food systems.


OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS & PRESS RELEASES

Joint civil society submission on the Development Policy Financing Retrospective
Eurodad, December 2021
This joint civil society submission to the comment period for the DPF Retrospective consisted of four sections. It seek to: (1) raise broader issues with the Retrospective process; (2) highlight overarching concerns with the DPF instrument itself; (3) articulate key select thematic issues where the World Bank is attempting targeted policy interventions via DPF; and (4) provide recommendations.

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CSOs issue joint statement following World Bank’s ‘inadequate’ consultations on global development policies
Eurodad, December 2021
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations issued a joint statement addressed to the World Bank Executive Directors to express concern about inadequate World Bank CSO engagement on key policy processes, such as the IDA20 replenishment and Development Policy Financing retrospective.

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Open letter UN Human Rights Council and UN Special Rapporteur on Disability Rights, Gerard Quinn
World Bank’s Disabled Support Group, December 2021
The group sent a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability Rights on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as staff disabled while working for the World Bank Group, to request his help in ending the discrimination and violations of their rights by of one of the world’s principal development institutions.

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The Future is Public: Global Manifesto for Public Services
The Future is Public, October 2021
The manifesto was developed collectively by dozens of organisations and actors to serve as a rallying cry for public services for civil society, providing a concrete alternative to the dominant neoliberal narrative that has failed to ensure a dignified life for all. The manifesto positions public services as the foundation of a fair and just society and of the social pact that implements the core values of solidarity, equality and human dignity. It advances a series of ten principles for universal quality public services in the 21st century and outlines how funding universal quality public services is possible.

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Groups call on World Bank President David Malpass to be replaced over failure on climate action
Friends of Earth, October 2021
77 groups sent a letter to World Bank Governors and Executive Directors calling for President David Malpass to be replaced for failing to take adequate action on climate change. The groups also called on Executive Directors to establish stronger climate and social justice qualifications for management personnel responsible for the Bank’s climate and energy work.

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Climate campaigners call for an end to public finance of fossil fuels
Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, October 2021
Climate campaigners in Asia led by the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) called on the World Bank to end its financing for coal, oil, and gas to combat climate change.

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It’s just the tip of the iceberg: Civil society organisations call for an overhaul of the World Bank following the Doing Business Report scandal
Eurodad, October 2021
More than 100 civil society organisations and academics from around the world signed a joint startement calling for an overhaul of the World Bank. The statement followed the publication of two damning reports that revealed serious ethical improprieties, conflicts of interest in the Bank’s Advisory Services and data manipulation in the development of its flagship Doing Business Report.

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Joint Statement on World Bank’s IDA20 replenishment
Afroad, Eurodad & BWP, October 2021
This joint statement was released ahead of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) October Forum, which addressed critical issues regarding ongoing discussion over IDA20 replenishment.

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Open letter to G20 Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the IMF: Civil society organizations call for principles for fair channeling of Special Drawing Rights
September 2021
Civil society groups sent a letter to the G20, urging to ensure SDR channeling options that align with a basic framework of principles that many academics, experts and civil society colleagues around the world echoed over recent months.

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Civil society organisations react to World Bank Climate Change Action Plan’s failure to end finance for fossil fuels
June 2021
A group of civil society organisations reacts to the World Bank Group’s Climate Change Action Plan for 2021-2025, which represents a colossal failure to end the Bank’s long-standing support for fossil fuels.

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A Proposed Framework for IMF Engagement in Country-level Surveillance on Macrostructural Issues; Inequality, Gender and Climate Change
Civil society submission to the 2019-2021 IMF Comprehensive Surveillance Review, March 2021
This proposed framework outlines a more effective, streamlined, and integrated IMF engagement on macrostructural issues.

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International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and State Donors: Stop loans and fully reassess Myanmar policy in light of coup d’état Do not fund the military junta or its cronies
February 2021
Civil society groups sent a letter to the international community, and in particular, IFIs and States, urging in the strongest terms, to immediately freeze and comprehensively reassess lending relationship with Myanmar, in light of the 1 February 2021 coup d’état by the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw).

More background on this issue

Knowledge

Background

2 February 2022 | Resource

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2021

Bretton Woods Project publishes its selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2021.

Knowledge

Background

9 March 2021 | Resource

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2020

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

Knowledge

News

It’s just the tip of the iceberg: civil society organisations call for an overhaul of the World Bank following the Doing Business Report scandal

More than 140 CSO groups and individuals call on the World Bank to focus on grappling with the harms caused by its undemocratic governance structure and biased publications like the Doing Business Report, and to take measures to decolonise the institution.

19 April 2022 | Letters

Knowledge

News

Global civil society achieves significant victory as World Bank discontinues contentious Doing Business Report

Significant victory for global civil society and movements as World Bank ends Doing Business Report

22 September 2021

Private Sector

News

World Bank’s re-labelled Business Enabling Environment Project does little to address substantial flaws of Doing Business Report

Civil society calls for urgent evaluation of Doing Business impacts as the World Bank announces a rebranded Business Enabling Environment Project, failing to address underlying issues.

6 April 2022

Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2021

Bretton Woods Project publishes its selection of the best books, reports and other resources on the World Bank and IMF from 2021.

2 February 2022 | Resource

Knowledge

Analysis

Death of Doing Business Report greatly exaggerated as World Bank announces rebranding plans

World Bank announces relaunch of Doing Business Report in approximately two years.

9 December 2021
Novel antique building reading narrow pile

Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2020

REPORTS  1.       World Bank and IMF Covid-19 response: Covid-19 crisis: IMF told countries…

9 March 2021 | Resource

Knowledge

News

Doing Business Report to be published after temporary suspension over data irregularities

World Bank plans to publish latest DBR in March and undertake an external review of the report’s methodology.

23 March 2021

Knowledge

News

As World Bank pauses Doing Business Report, pressure mounts for it to be permanently scrapped

Civil society, trade unions and academics call for permanent end of Doing Business Report as World Bank suspends its publication due to data irregularities.

6 October 2020
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