New Bretton Woods Update (No.84) Jan/Feb 2013 out now

Jay Owen Reforming Global Finance


Bretton Woods Update No. 84


January/February 2013



PDF version | At Issue PDF | text version

Please find below the highlights of the Bretton Woods Update No. 84(January/February 2013).

We have also launched a new At Issue briefing, The World Bank on Jobs: a “significant departure” or “business as usual”? by Public World’s Brendan Martin.

 forest of failures: “Negligible” sustainability in World Bank’s forest work 
A leaked copy of an evaluation of the Bank’s forest strategy criticises the Bank’s failure to address social and environmental goals. Further criticism has also been raised over the Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Read More.

Getting its hands dirty: World Bank increases fossil fuel lending 
As the World Bank president became more vocal about climate change, concerns remain about the Bank’s involvement in fossil fuels, including projects in Mongolia and Central Asia, and questions have been raised about its accountability for hydro projects in India and Guatemala. Read More.

IFC jobs study “fragmentary” 
The claim that the International Finance Corporation’s investments create jobs was put to the test by the IFC jobs study released in January. Read More.

IEG finds declining impact at Bank, IFC 
An annual Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) report on the Results and performance of the World Bank Group 2012 showed declining effectiveness at the Bank Group, with its worst ratings in the areas where its lending is increasing the fastest or it is prioritising work, such as infrastructure and public-private partnerships (PPPs). Read More.

IFC investments “rarely touch the poor” 
Criticism of the International Finance Corporation’s lack of poverty focus has again caught the spotlight, as the IFC continues to fund projects that stretch the interpretation of development. Read More.

IFC oblivious to impact of lending to financial sector 
An audit of the IFC’s investments in financial intermediaries reveals a lack of assessment of environmental and social impacts. Read More.

IFC-funded mines: still courting controversy 
Following a year of violence associated with IFC-funded mining projects, the IFC’s mining investments in Guatemala, Mongolia, Peru and Colombia are still provoking controversy. Read More.

Kim launches first World Bank restructuring salvo 
After winning over staff and shareholders in his first six months as World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim launched a publicly unexplained reorganisation of senior management at the Bank in late December, ahead of an expected strategy overhaul and deeper restructuring. Read More.

IMF accused of anti-China bias 
The IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) published a late December evaluation that was critical of IMF concerns and advice relating to international reserves, especially the accumulation by countries of large quantities of US dollar assets. Read More.

The Troika setting a “default trap”? 
Controversy erupted in January after the IMF implied lenders to Greece may need to provide yet more debt relief, while the social and economic sustainability of other Troika (the lending triumvirate comprising the Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) programmes is still in question. Read More.

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2012 
Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF 2012. Read More.

Bankspeak of the year 2012 
Every year the Bretton Woods Project celebrates the best specimens of incomprehensible jargon and ridiculous rhetoric issued by World Bank and IMF staff and financial commentators in the cause of IFI business. Read More.

Additional articles included:


Hastily introduced World Bank projects threaten to undermine peace process in Burma

Comment by Khin Ohmar

In late 2012 the World Bank announced its first lending to Burma in over 20 years. The concern among many grassroots activists, however, is that the areas to which this money will be funnelled are still in the earliest stages of the peace process, and that huge influxes of money will undermine efforts for sustainable peace. Read More.

World Bank on jobs: a “significant departure” or “business as usual”?

At Issue briefing by Brendan Martin

The opening sentences of the 2013 World Development Report Jobs, could not be clearer: “Jobs are the cornerstone of economic and social development”. Brendan Martin of UK NGO Public World examines the policy implications for developing economies, trade unions and the wider development community. Read More.

Inside the institutions: World Bank Group’s sub-national lending

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm) are jointly encouraging sub-national lending to states or provinces, aimed at boosting direct engagement at the state or municipal level. Read More.





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New Bretton Woods Update (No.84) Jan/Feb 2013 out now