World Bank-IMF spring meetings 2012
News||20 April 2012|
Ahead of the 2012 World Bank-IMF spring meetings, a meeting between UK NGOs and the UK executive director to the IMF Alex Gibbs was held on 10 April. A meeting between UK NGOs, DFID and the UK alternate executive director to the World Bank Stewart James took place on 6 February.
The 2012 spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF will take place from 18 to 21 April in Washington, DC. You will be able find links below to analysis of the communiqués as well as notes of some of the civil society and official meetings, as they become available.
There will clearly be two big topics on everyone's minds at the meetings: The new World Bank president, and the still bubbling financial crisis in the eurozone. With expectations that the new President will formally beselected and announced on Monday 16 April, the week will start off with a flurry of attention on the appointee. Nearly everyone expects the stitch-up between the US and Europe to continue to function, meaning that the US nominee Jim Yong Kim will be picked. That speculation was confirmed at midday on Monday the 16th when Kim was formally announced as the next president. Noticeably the press release did not include the word "consensus" to describe how the Bank board took the decision. Much of the debate, for example on the blog worldbankpresident.org, focussed on how the the two developing country nominees (José Antonio Ocampo and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) were much more qualified for the job but were likely to lose out. A number of contributions also looked at the agenda for the next World Bank president, including a very long list of items that NGOs want to see reformed.
On the IMF side of things the main discussion will be about the renewed urgency over sovereign debt in the eurozone. With bond yields spiking again the week before the meetings, eyes have again turned on Italy, Spain and other eurozone members to see if they can finally do something about the crisis. The problem continues to be that the measures taken by the European institution in conjunction with the IMF are view as both insufficient to resolve the debt problems and socially destructive in the borrowing countries, including Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been on a round the world tour for more resources, to complement the new money being committed by European central banks, but is coming up empty handed in many places. The background there is continued friction over what Brazil calls the "currency wars", but is really a problem of floods of capital flowing into emerging markets. The IMF is still trying to devise its "institutional view" on capital account regulations, but the different shareholders are preventing agreement despite the IMF staff and many academics settling on the need for more pragmatic policies to regulate the capital account.
A good portion of the discussion may also focus on some of the new items on the World Bank's agenda - such as 'green growth' and the need for a safeguard's review. In preparation for the UN Rio+20 'Earth Summit' in June, the Bank is due to release a new report, 'Inclusive Green Growth: The pathway to sustainable development' in May, and a conversation between the Bank president Robert Zoellick, Fund chief Christine Lagarde and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is expected to take place during the meetings. While the previously announced but delayed safeguards review is not on the official agenda as the new president is expected to take the lead, there will be a flurry of CSO activities to strategise and ensure the review is not dropped off the agenda. CSO concerns about the lack of safeguards in the newly approved Bank lending instrument Programs-for-Results, as part of the Bank's 'modernisation' process, has led to further concerns around where the Bank intends to go on this subject.
Two topics which we know will be on the Development Committee agenda (see below) are leveraging the private sector and social protection. The concept of "leverage" is a fuzzy one, and a new briefing by the Bretton Woods Project (available shortly) tries to demystify its use. But the clear indication is a feeling by the Bank that it wants to work more closely with private financiers who do not have a mandate for poverty reduction, economic growth, or human development. This has prompted an array of criticisms, in relation to leveraging climate finance, investing in private equity funds, and financial intermediaries - with particular focus on land acquisition and use of tax havens. The Bank recently drafted its "social protection and labour strategy for 2012-22" amid controversy, but is now pursuing an agenda which was first broached at the G20 when it was hosted by Korea in 2011 - social safety nets. The Bank is pitching itself as the key provider of knowledge and advice about how to structure safety nets that protect poor and vulnerable people in a crisis.
The papers for the spring 2012 International Monetary and Finance Committee meeting, scheduled for Saturday 21 April, will be posted here as they become available. They will be available on the IMF's website.
The agenda included:
The background papers included:
The papers for the spring 2012 Development Committee meeting, scheduled for Saturday 21 April, were posted online on Monday the 16th. They are all available on the World Bank's website. We expect the agenda has three items and three further background papers:
Below we will bring the highlights from the communiqués at the spring meetings, including the G24, G20, IMFC and Development Committee. You will also be able to find detailed coverage of all communiqués in our dedicated article.
19 April : G24 communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
20 April : G20 communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
21 April : IMFC communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
21 April : Development Committee communiqué (deeper analysis, original document).
For a complete listing of civil-society events, briefings, press releases, and a blog, see the Bank Information Center.
The World Bank's schedule of civil society events is also available.
Below we will post notes and minutes of sessions attended by the Bretton Woods Project and other NGOs.
This text may be freely used providing the source is credited.
Published: 20 April 2012 , last edited: 12 October 2012
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