As the UN human rights council holds its seventh session in Geneva in March, a variety of recent reports calling for greater human rights accountability of the World Bank have been published.
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, is rapidly increasing its investment in the Middle East, raising questions about the development value of its activities. A Norwegian study of the IFC's Doing Business indicators questions the usefulness of the index to making real-life improvements to a country's business environment.
A new study on the Bank's push for procurement reform suggests that a narrow focus on value for money may undermine the ability of governments to use procurement as a tool for development; meanwhile US and European corporate lobbyists continue to pressure the Bank to go slow on the use of developing countries' own procurement systems.
On aid effectiveness the World Bank is both player and referee, prompting cries of foul play by civil society groups.
The UK's International Development Committee has sharply reprimanded the Department for International Development for its decision to hand over a fifty per cent increase in funding for the World Bank without sufficient analysis of whether or not this is good value for money.
A report by the IMF’s evaluation arm faulted the Fund’s overuse of structural conditionality and partially blamed donors for the problem, but civil society critics of conditionality are not satisfied with the scope of the report or the changes accepted by the Fund.
The Dhaka-based New Nation newspaper reports in January that the IMF has over stepped its bounds in trying to convince the government to reform its tax policy.
Despite evidence that it has failed to end the practice of forcing policy reforms on recipient countries, the World Bank will collect a record $41.6 billion for its low-income arm, the International Development Association.
In late November, the UK released its third report on its relationship with the World Bank, disappointing in the coverage and depth of its analysis.
Heads of the IFIs were in Geneva in November for a WTO conference to take stock of its aid for trade taskforce.