In through the back door: capacity building or concession taking?
News||28 January 2004|update 38|
The Bretton Woods Project is continuing to track the Integrated Framework for trade-related technical assistance (IF). Information about the first stage of the IF process - the diagnostic study - has been slow to emerge. This despite repeated calls for improved transparency in order to facilitate greater civil society participation. The World Bank is the lead agency on the diagnostic studies in almost all countries.
Some of the recommendations made in the studies touch upon sensitive areas in development policy such as the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, tariff rates and investment and competition policy. The extent to which these recommendations will be 'mainstreamed' into PRSPs and the degree of scrutiny they will receive is uncertain.
NGOs participating in the prepatory process for the UNCTAD XI conference in Brazil in June have been stressing the need for defence of developing countries' policy space. According to the African NGO SEATINI, the "conditionality policies of multilateral lending institutions and the consequent loss of policy flexibility and autonomy have been a major source of economic, social and political instability in many developing countries." From the recommendations made in the IF, it appears that observers will need to pay more attention to the role of capacity building initiatives in addition to more explicit conditionalities.
Selected recommendations from IF diagnostic studiesMadagascar
The project is interested in collaborations with civil society organisations who would be able to assist in monitoring the IF process in-country. Please contact Jeff Powell.
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Published: 28 January 2004 , last edited: 29 June 2009
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