Our future is public: Why the IMF and World Bank must support public services
Eurodad, 12 October 2022
This report argues that international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF are not doing enough to protect public services, despite their rhetoric arguing the opposite. It is time for a new approach, and a break with the mistakes of the past.
The care contradiction: The IMF, gender and austerity
ActionAid, 10 October 2022
This report exposes the devastating impact public sector cuts are having on women in low-income countries, who face a triple threat of losing access to services, having fewer opportunities to access decent work and being forced to take on the rising burden of unpaid care work.
Paris Alignment Principles: What international finance institutions need to do to align financial intermediary investments with Paris and tackle climate change
Recourse, BankTrack, Heinrich Boell Foundation Washington DC, Oil Change International, and TrendAsia, 10 October 2022
The report highlights principles and actions that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) need to observe in order to align their financial intermediary investments with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
PPPs in energy infrastructure: regional experiences in light of the global energy crisis
Heinrich Boell Stiftung Washington DC, Brot für die Welt, Bretton Woods Project, Eurodad, IBON International, Afrodad, Latindadd, 6 October 2022
This report is part of a joint publication coordinated by Bread for the World and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Washington DC Office) which includes regional reports from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia, The Philippines and Peru. It presents the state of play of public-private partnerships in the energy sector and demonstrates why they are a risky business.
End Austerity: A global report on budget cuts and harmful social reforms in 2022-25
Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummings, 28 September 2022
This report exposes the dangers of a post-pandemic austerity shock, far more premature and severe than the one that followed the global financial crisis.
Our Last and Only Resort: What happens when development goes wrong in the Middle East and North Africa
Accountability Counsel & Arab Watch Coalition, 27 September 2022
This report illuminates the obstacles to community-led accountability for the harm caused by development finance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the region with both the lowest volume of community-driven complaints to international accountability mechanisms (IAMs) and the lowest rate of outputs from complaints filed. The authors seek to understand why complaints in this region fall short relative to others and what can be done to improve accessibility and efficacy of IAMs for impacted communities, in MENA and beyond.
Food security and gender equality: A synergistic understudied symphony
CARE International, 27 July 2022
The purpose of this study is to explore the correlation between gender inequality values and food security scores worldwide combined with existing literature and rich studies on the links between gender and food in specific contexts to create powerful insights on the need that the world needs to produce, publish, and use more consistent data on gender equality and food.
How can the World Bank improve child protection through its Covid-19 Social Protection response?
Bank Information Center, 11 July 2022
In this report, BIC analysed 55 Covid-19 social protection projects for child protection. The analysis revealed that while certain projects exhibited a number of promising practices, the Bank has not consistently integrated child protection into nor prioritized child protection systems strengthening in its Covid-19 social protection projects.
Framing Feminist Taxation vol. 2
Global Alliance for Tax Justice, 23 June 2022
This publication focuses on taking a feminist approach to the tax system, written for individuals, civil society organisations and practitioners working in tax justice and gender equality. It presents tools to assess the gender bias in the current tax system and how to advocate for a feminist tax framework – a tax system that upholds human rights and enables substantive gender equality. Volume 2 together with Volume 1 illustrates what a gender-responsive taxation framework looks like, provides analytical tools and discusses the case study of Uganda.
6 steps the IMF should take to stop enabling fossil fuels around the world
Friends of the Earth, Gender Action, Urgewald, Recourse, and Oil Change International, 22 April 2022
According to this briefing, the IMF must stop undermining countries’ just transition away from fossil fuels in order to align with its own climate goals and shareholders’ climate agendas.
Special Drawing Rights: The right tool to use to respond to the pandemic and other challenges
Center for Economic and Policy Research, 20 April 2022
This paper looks at the available evidence of how SDRs reserve assets issued by the IMF have been used, since August, by developing countries. This is of particular importance given that policymakers in the US, which has the most powerful voice of any country at the IMF and a veto on many major Fund decisions, have been voicing support for another allocation.
Special Drawing Rights: Can the IMF’s reserve currency become a transformative financial resource?
Eurodad, April 2022
This briefing takes stock of the discussion on how to channel unused SDRs from rich to developing countries and assesses the different solutions proposed so far.
Proposal for a United Nations Convention on Tax
Eurodad, March 2022
Tax-related illicit financial flows continue to cost countries hundreds of billions of dollars in lost tax income every year. This document contains a proposal for what a UN Convention on Tax might look like.
Lessons for a feminist Covid-19 economic recovery: Multi-country perspectives
Gender and Development Network (GADN), March 2022
Written in collaboration with feminists and women’s rights organisations in four countries, Argentina, India, the Philippines and Uganda, this report examines some of the policy measures enacted by governments in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impacts of those policies on gender equality and women’s economic rights. Bold action by local, national and international decision-makers must: Protect and promote democratic, participatory decision-making; apply intersectional feminist analyses in policymaking; and adopt alternative feminist economic proposals.
Missing receipts: Where did international finance institutions’ Covid-19 funding go
Coalition for Human Rights in Development, January 2022
Missing Receipts is a new collaborative research project that analyses IFIs’ role – and their failings – in the pandemic recovery. The report attempts to piece together the missing receipts from the IFI-funded Covid-19 response and identifies concrete recommendations for existing interventions, as well as critical questions for the ongoing pandemic response, the recovery and any future global crisis financing.
Inequality kills: The unparallel action needed to combat unprecedented inequality in the wake of Covid-19
Oxfam, January 2022
The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled since the pandemic began. The incomes of 99 per cent of humanity are worse off because of Covid-19. Widening economic, gender, and racial inequalities – as well as the inequality that exists between countries – are tearing our world apart. This is not by chance, but choice: “Economic violence” is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialized groups most. Inequality contributes to the death of at least one person every four seconds. But we can radically redesign our economies to be centered on equality.
BRIEFINGS & POLICY BRIEFINGS
The Assault of Austerity: How prevailing economic policy choices are a form of gender-based violence
Oxfam, November 2022
This briefing paper argues that austerity measures are a form of gender-based violence against women, girls and non-binary people, and lays out clear examples of how fiscal consolidation affects them. Its core argument is that ending austerity must be a priority. Austerity takes away from those who need it most, while ignoring common-sense ways to improve both revenue and prosperity. The paper goes on to share feminist economic alternatives offer pathways that can protect the Majority World from completely avoidable suffering.
The debt and climate crises: Why climate justice must include debt justice
Debt Justice, October 2022
This paper pulls together key information on the debt and climate crisis nexus, and outlines policy positions on solutions with recommendations for policy makers to act.
No voice for the vulnerable: Climate change and the need for quota reform at the IMF
Global Development Policy Center, 11 October 2022
This paper illuminates how decision-making power is distributed within the IMF, as well as the implications of the quota share on the IMF’s lending practices, fee structures and distribution of newly allocated reserves. The paper finds climate vulnerable countries have negligible formal decision-making power over how the IMF frames its policies around climate.
Meeting the moment: The IMF, debt-for-climate swaps and development
Global Development Policy Center, 4 October 2022
In August 2022, International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists released a working paper on debt-for-climate swaps that weighs the various types of debt-for-climate linkages that have been proposed and implemented by these various actors. In response, a new policy brief from the Task Force on Climate, Development and the IMF evaluates some of the areas outlined in this paper and highlights how the IMF can build on it to advance a comprehensive instrument.
Unaccountable accounting: The World Bank’s unreliable climate finance reporting
Oxfam, 3 October 2022
Despite being the largest multilateral provider of climate finance, the World Bank supplies very little evidence to support its claims about the amount of climate finance it provides. Oxfam has attempted to recreate the Bank’s reported climate finance figures using public information for projects in the Bank’s FY2020. Oxfam found that the Bank’s current climate finance reporting processes are such that its claimed levels of climate finance cannot be independently verified and could be off by as much as $7bn, or 40 per cent.
Aligning finance with the green transition: From a risk-based to an allocative green credit policy regime.
Kedward, K., Gabor, D. and Ryan-Collins, J. UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Working Paper Series (IIPP WP 2022-11), 25 June 2022
This paper sets out a new framework for financial policy in relation to the green transition, adapting post-war credit guidance approaches for a modern, market-based financial system.
Advocacy on monetary policies for economic justice: A handbook for civil society
WEMOS, 13 May 2022
This handbook aims to facilitate further exploration by civil society in the realm of monetary policy; typically organizations explore fiscal policy options, but very few explore monetary policies, or the linkages between monetary and fiscal policies. In part, this is because monetary policies have been relegated to a purely technical issue, rather than a political one. But this also reflects a lack of awareness of alternatives to the main neoliberal economic models.
GEM: A starter kit on gender and macroeconomics
IWRAW, 29 April 2022
This starter kit aims to demystify and challenge the macroeconomic policies that are very much within our reach. The briefing aims to encourage more women’s rights organisations to look into macroeconomic policies and their effects and incorporate this analysis into the work they are undertaking.
Debt justice for climate reparations
Climate & Community Project, 20 April 2022
Building on dialogues with climate and debt justice movement partners including Third World Network and 350Africa.org, scholarly research, and the overarching aims of the Green New Deal, this report outlines key economic and environmental issues and offers US-targeted policy recommendations. Reparations campaigns including the Caribbean Reparations Commission and the Latin American Pacto Ecosocial del Sur have explicitly called for debt cancellation as an aspect of reparation; this report amplifies those voices and foregrounds debt as a climate issue for movements and policy makers in the US.
Behind the numbers: a dataset exploring key financing and fiscal policies in the IMF’s Covid-19 loans
Oxfam, 19 April 2022
To respond to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has committed its $1 trillion lending capacity and as of March 15, 2022, had provided $171 billion worth of financial assistance to 90 countries around the world. Oxfam has tracked and reviewed the publicly available IMF Covid-19 loan documents associated with all 130 loans made to these countries as of March 15 2022.
10 essentials for a ‘Truly Green’ Green Equity approach reviewing the GEA as a step towards IFC Paris Alignment
Recourse, Oil Change International, Gender Action, Centre for Financial Accountability, Friends of the Earth US, Heinrich Boell Stiftung Washington DC, CIEL, Inclusive Development International, TrendAsia, Bank Track, and Bretton Woods Project, 13 April 2022
In 2020, the International Finance Corporation published its ‘Approach to Greening Equity in Financial Institutions’ (Green Equity Approach or GEA). The GEA committed the IFC to end equity investments in financial institutions that do not have a plan to phase out coal-related investments by 2030. While the GEA represents a welcome, if narrow, opportunity to phase out coal financing by 2030, much is still to be desired for the GEA to align IFC’s equity investment portfolio with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
First crisis, then catastrophe
Oxfam, 12 April 2022
Unless G20 leaders, the IMF and the World Bank act immediately, crises of inflation, inequality and Covid-19 could push over a quarter of a billion more people into extreme poverty in 2022.
What kind of economic growth do women need? Proposals for development with a gender perspective in Latin America and the Caribbean
Latindadd, 3 May 2022
This report (in Spanish, English, and Portuguese) argues that advancing towards gender equality and the well-being and emancipation of women requires patterns of economic growth inherently different from those prevailing in Latin America in the 21st century. The post- Covid recovery requires a structural transformation of the conditions for economic growth, and a move away from focusing on GDP as a measure of development outcomes.
Policy transformations in times of Covid-19
Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), throughout 2022
The global economic and health crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst exacerbating inequalities within and between countries in the Global South and Global North. It has also accelerated political and policy changes. With a series of 12 country case studies throughout 2022, DAWN closely examines policy changes that took place during the period of exceptionality produced by the pandemic, exploring visions of the future in these four policy areas: Macroeconomics; labour policies and workers’ rights; migration and human mobilities; and care and social protection.
Just Transition(s) in North Africa?
Transnational Institute, throughout 2022
This collection of critical essays explores the dynamics of the energy transition in different North African country contexts, including a focus on the role of international finance institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.
JOURNAL ARTICLES, BOOKS & BLOGS
World Bank and IMF must recognize and challenge austerity dogma as a form of gender-based violence
BWP for Oxfam, 25 November 2022
This blog post discusses how austerity policies promoted by IMF and World Bank are a sexist and racist form of gender-based violence. To signal a transformative and fundamental shift in the Bank and Fund’s commitment to gender equality, their language and action must reflect the violent nature of austerity, and a serious effort to pursue the policies needed for a truly inclusive and just recovery.
Demystifying Bretton Woods Institutions’ Rhetoric on Public Services
Chiara Mariotti & Maria Jose Romero, Development 65, 217–227, 16 November 2022
This article reviews Bretton Woods Institutions’ approach to public services, including during the recent Covid-19 crisis. Drawing on the specific case of IMF and World Bank’s response to the multiple crisis triggered by the pandemic, it shows that there is a discourse-practice disjuncture in the institutions approach to public services as they continue to favour austerity and market-oriented solutions for the delivery of public services. The article therefore seeks to demystify the Bretton Woods institutions rhetoric and demand the adoption of a different way of understanding public services, and social policy more broadly.
Is the IMF fit for purpose?
The Guardian, 1 November 2022
As the world faces the worst debt crisis in decades, the need for a global lender of last resort is clearer than ever. But many nations view the IMF as overbearing, or even neocolonial – and are now looking elsewhere for help.
Gendered austerity and embodied debt in Ecuador: Channels through which women absorb and resist the shocks of public budget cuts
Bhumika Muchhala & Andrea Guillem, 31 August 2022
This paper examines the dynamics and implications of gendered austerity in Ecuador in the context of the fiscal consolidation framework recommended in the country’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme, through three channels. First, that of the public health sector and the experiences of women public health workers. Second, that of unpaid care work and significant augmentations in home-based health care of family members as well as education support. And third, increases in consumer debt incurred by women through extractive short-term lenders.
IMF’s surcharges as a threat to the right to development
Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, Francisco Cantamutto & Laura Clérico, 23 August 2022
This article focuses on the implications of the IMF’s surcharges policies, jointly with its de facto preferred creditor status, on the right to sustainable development of sovereign borrowers. The article argues that, while surcharges are not effective in limiting access to IMF credit, they inequitably distribute the IMF’s operating costs, are disproportionate, pro-cyclical, very costly for developing countries, and non-transparent.
The gendered impacts of the IMF’s harmful surcharges policy
Christina Laskaridis, CEPR, 15 April 2022
Ahead of the 2022 IMF Spring Meetings, the author addresses some of the false rationale behind surcharges, and then take a look at one of their understudied impacts: Their disproportionately harmful effects on women and girls.
IMF/World Bank: Targeted safety net programs fall short on rights protection
Human Rights Watch, 14 April 2022
A Human Rights Watch analysis of 16 countries, including of relief specific to the pandemic, found that targeted programs excluded millions of people who were in need of social security to protect their rights, leaving them without adequate food and with other problems. The World Bank and IMF should adopt a different approach that facilitates universal social protection.
OPEN LETTERS, STATEMENTS & PRESS RELEASES
Open civil society letter on WBG gender strategy update
20 December 2022
This letter was addressed to Hana Brixi, Global Director for Gender, and the World Bank Group’s Executive Directors. It called for an open and robust public consultation on the World Bank’s forthcoming Gender Strategy update as the current FY16-23 strategy comes to an end, citing concerns that past Bank consultation processes were insufficient and tokenistic.
Response from the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors to the World Bank’s new Strategy for Social Protection
16 November 2022
With this statement, the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), representing more than 120 civil society organisations and trade unions from all over the world, intends to react to the World Bank’s new strategy for social protection, published under the title “Charting a course towards universal social protection: Resilience, equity, and opportunity for all.”
Letter to the MDBs: Paris Alignment @COP27 can’t wait
The Big Shift Global, 7 November 2022
Open letter on 1.5°C pathway: Raising ambition in the Joint Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Paris alignment framework.
Feminists strongly reject the International Monetary Fund gender strategy
13 October 2022
A group of feminist organizations, networks, allies and individuals, sent a letter to the IMF denouncing the International Monetary Fund’s strategy toward mainstreaming gender.
CSOs call for a major new general issuance of at least $650 billion worth of debt-free Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund
7 October 2022
As the great majority of the world’s countries were struggling amid multiple historic, overlapping, and generally worsening crises, 141 CSOs urged the world’s wealthiest countries to act quickly to assist them by voting for a major new issuance of SDRs.
Recommendations to improve The World Bank’s accountability process from 57 civil society organizations
16 September 2022
Accountability Counsel, along with 56 other organizations, submitted recommendations for making the World Bank’s accountability process more effective for communities harmed by World Bank projects. They submitted 13 recommendations for improving the World Bank Accountability Mechanism’s and Inspection Panel’s draft operating procedures.
CSOs call on G7 to bring an end to the IMF’s harmful surcharge policy
Thirty-eight organisations published a joint statement urging leaders to take action to support the global economy by eliminating the IMF’s harmful surcharge policy.
Invest in a greener and more inclusive human-centred recovery ILO tells World Bank and IMF
ILO, 21 April 2022
In a statement to the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, emphasized the urgency of fostering a human-centred recovery amid a fragile outlook for 2022.
Civil society groups urge new $2.5 trillion allocation of IMF monetary reserves
Sixteen civil society groups urged the International Monetary Fund to issue $2.5 trillion in additional emergency reserves to help developing countries still struggling to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact.
IMF surcharges are unfair, counterproductive and a threat to an equitable global economic recovery. They should be eliminated immediately.
More than 250 civil society organisations and individuals send a letter to the IMF highlighting deep concerns about the Fund’s punitive fees on countries facing debt distress while struggling against the effects of the pandemic. The letter notes that the Fund has ignored repeated appeals from development experts, civil society groups, governments and national legislators to urgently review its practice of imposing surcharges on loans and urge it to seriously consider the immediate suspension or outright elimination of this policy.
Letter on the IMF gender strategy by UN Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs
A group of UN Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs sent a letter to the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, providing initial reflections on the IMF’s gender strategy from a human rights perspective before it was presented to the board. After an examination of the potentially harmful consequences of gender-blind economic policies, the letter issued recommendations to inform the strategy and country-specific actions.
Toward a gender-transformative agenda for climate and environmental action
WEDO, 6 March 2022
Global feminists hereby put forward an agenda for CSW66 that takes the opportunity to fulfill some of the broken promises of last year’s UN climate change conference (COP26), emphasizing the fundamental systems change and global transformations of governance and economic structures required to shield our planet and its peoples from collective climate-induced disaster.