In June, more than 70 civil society organisations (CSOs) launched a statement calling on the World Bank and IMF to cancel the debt, end austerity policies and act immediately on a just response to the climate crisis. It was issued by the Marrakech working group, which focuses on preparations and joint actions aimed at the World Bank and the IMF Annual Meetings 2023 in Morocco.
The statement highlights the opportunity the event presents for civil society to oppose the unjust economic system and international financial institutions (IFIs) that are no longer fit for purpose, and calls on IFIs to end the “unfair neoliberal policies which they have been imposing for decades.”
In line with ongoing CSOs campaigns, the statement contains several demands including: Cancelation of external debt of middle- and low-income countries and the IMF’s surcharges policy; a new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights; an immediate end to IFI finance for fossil fuels, including gas; a review of the Bank and Fund’s governance policies and accountability mechanisms; and the adoption of a fair IMF quota system (see Observer Spring 2023).
This initiative is part of ongoing civil society efforts to ensure safe and meaningful participation in the Marrakech meetings, especially given the experience at the Annual Meetings in Indonesia in 2018, when civil society advocates were repeatedly detained by local authorities (see Dispatch Annuals 2018). During the Spring Meetings in April, CSOs emphasised the importance of the Bank and Fund’s early engagement with the Moroccan authorities, to facilitate visa applications and to make sure they “offer a space conducive to free speech to help activists safely engage in constructive dialogue” (see Observer Spring 2023).