The international financial system facilitates trillions of dollars of capital flight from developing and developed countries to onshore and offshore financial centres, with the active participation of banks and other financial institutions. The consequences are massive tax evasion, a resultant erosion of state budgets, and rising disrespect for the law. The relevant international organisations that, working together, can change this situation are the IMF, the OECD, and the UN.
In 2004, the World Bank was responsible for the disbursement of over $3 billion through the 903 trust funds that it manages. The amount of funds being channelled through trust funds looks set to take off as increased international aid commitments chase limited spending channels. Recipients of these funds may see them as manna from heaven - but if trust fund support is not additional to other aid commitments, is this an optimum use of resources or just a cacophony of voices all trying to pull t
Civil society groups are backing official calls for reform of the World Bank's International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes - however, the future of the reforms looks uncertain due to resistance from developing countries.
Parliamentarians from across the globe have signed on to the International Parliamentarians' Petition. They believe that parliamentarians should be the final arbiters of economic decisions. Current practice, however, means they are not. The World Bank and IMF continue to pressure developing country governments to overrule or sideline their legislatures; a far cry from the principles of good governance which the institutions themselves espouse.
A study prepared for the Bretton Woods Project has found that the Development Gateway, an internet portal on development issues initiated by the World Bank, presents a biased picture of development debates, lacks independence and is inefficient when compared with other similar initiatives.
Recent involvement in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq has put World Bank and IMF post-conflict operations in the spotlight. While some believe multilateral finance is essential, others argue that the Bank and the Fund are acting primarily as pawns of powerful diplomatic and economic interests.
Recent involvement in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq has put the World Bank and the IMF work post-conflict in the spotlight, with serious implications for their mandates and work methods.
Many observers were sceptical when a few years ago the IMF embarked on a mission to respond to the "cries of the poor", in the words of its then head Michel Camdessus
The World Bank is planning a controversial major overhaul of its ten social and environmental policies.
In recent months, the World Bank has been leading the charge to increase the harmonisation of donor policies and further coherence between the Bank, the IMF and the WTO.
The World Bank and the IMF have responded to complaints about their lack of transparency by issuing mountains of documentation and offering innumerable meetings and consultations. But critics are still not satisfied, pointing to the difficulty for people to find and interpret many of the documents produced, and to the opacity of the institutions’ key decision-making bodies.
Civil society commentary on the 'IMF Staff Note on Macroeconomic Programming for Poverty Reduction'