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However, others have noted that this analytical framework is flawed, as the private interests promoted by the Bank and Fund cannot always be understood in this light and there is a high degree of cooperation between the Bank and Fund and other multilateral institutions, including those established by China and other developing countries. Your rewarded points were added to your profile. world bank environmental and social policy Scope of application 7. This policy initiative is highly dependent on mega-infrastructure projects – and, as noted by a letter sent by concerned economists in October 2018, currently lacks a framework for aligning such mega-projects with the Paris Climate Agreement or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Historical context of IMF and World Bank critiques. Finally, the Bank’s forest policy and weak safeguards on forest protection have also been observed to infringe the rights of local communities and have failed to protect one of the planet’s most important ‘carbon sinks’ (see Observer Spring 2017). T he World Bank is financing a series of environmental :mistakes around the Third World. Our flagship publications are the, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Other International Financial Institutions. As noted by former World Bank Chief Economist Sir Nicholas Stern in 2007, “Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen.” Since their inception, the BWIs have played a formative role in aiding and abetting the global forces that have caused this market failure, through promoting economic growth as the core component of their development model, despite – as noted in the aforementioned Deaton report – mixed evidence that economic growth and poverty reduction are linked. In addition to the formal conditions introduced through lending programmes, both institutions play a more nuanced role in restricting policy space through their research, publications, policy advice and training. On the World Bank side, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) was created in 2006, integrating several individual accountability mechanisms, and is charged with evaluating the activities of the entire World Bank Group and determining what works, what doesn’t and why. I was working on module 1, the slides continuously froze on 11/21. It responds to new and varied development challenges that have arisen over time. The Bank and Fund’s bias towards fiscal consolidation, the private sector and debt servicing also restricts public policy space and the ability of governments to finance infrastructure and social services (see the ‘Human Rights’ section below). Together they suggest that Bank and Fund’s policies have failed to achieve their stated objectives and instead support an economic order that benefits elites and private sector interests at the expense of poor and marginalised communities. The new environment strategy for the World Bank Group lays out an ambitious action agenda that seeks to respond to calls from our client countries for a new kind of development path, one that supports growth while focusing more on sustainability and ensuring that the environment is a key enabler for green, more-inclusive growth. THE WORLD BANKS ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS. An extensive academic literature, with which the Bank and Fund rarely engage, challenges the robustness of the theoretical and evidence bases for Bank and Fund’s principles and policies. In northern Peru, the World Bank's business-lending arm is part owner of the Yanacocha gold mine, accused by impoverished farming communities of despoiling their land in pursuit of the precious ore. The Bank and Fund have also been heavily criticised for the role played by the political expediency of important shareholders in its decision-making and choice of interventions, including its support to dictatorships. In 2017, the Bank issued 434 prior actions, according to research by Belgium-based CSO Eurodad. Once again, this raises concerns about the restriction of policy space for developing countries. The World Bank Group has been a pioneer in financing solutions for climate and the environment. World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized international sources. logout and clear cache of your browser then try to re-login and lauch the course again. Civil society has long called for this opaque system to be replaced with a merit-based, transparent process. Explore raw data about the World Bank Group’s finances, including disbursements and management of global funds. This echoes the findings of previous evaluations of the IEO, amidst accusations of ‘groupthink’ at the IMF, which the IEO deemed partially the cause of the Fund not foreseeing the 2008 global financial crisis, arguably its most important job and clearest recent failure (see Update Issue 74). Importantly, the US still has veto power over an array of major decisions (see Observer Winter 2018). Particularly for low-income countries that find it difficult to attract capital at affordable rates, IMF and Bank pronouncements on domestic policies can lead to important reactions by ‘the market’ (including potential lenders or investors), therefore potentially limiting (or increasing) countries’ financing options. When one or more members of the World Bank Group are involved in a project, these EHS Guidelines are applied as required by their respective policies and standards. However, the Bank and Fund have been criticised for failing to implement the recommendations of the IEG and IEO, respectively. While maintaining they have no obligations under international human rights law, despite objections of myriad human rights experts and the opinion of one of the Bank’s former General Counsels, both the Bank and Fund claim their work to eradicate poverty and increase economic growth and stability ultimately contributes to global welfare and the fulfilment of human rights, without clear evidence. I can not enroll :(, Trying to enroll for this course. Photo: Sami Siva / ICIJ. Most typically, these are fiscal consolidation measures (or austerity), and include reducing the public wage bill, introducing or increasing VAT and other indirect regressive taxes in particular, labour flexibilisation, rationalising (cutting) and privatising social services, and targeting social protections and subsidies, while maintaining low levels of inflation, corporate taxation rates and trade tariffs. These and other critiques call into question the efficacy of the BWIs’ policy prescriptions more generally and their theoretical ability to effectively contribute to the fulfilment of human rights in the first place. To be approved by the IMF for a loan, the letter requires prior actions, quantitative performance criteria and structural benchmarks – the latter of which continues to contain structural macroeconomic policy reforms. IEG’s new report Results and Performance of the World Bank Group (RAP) provides a timely review of the Bank Group portfolio performance and examines how the Bank Group has mainstreamed and measured projects with potential environmental benefits. The more frequent financial crises since the 1970s – and the 2008 crisis in particular – have had an impact on the work of the Fund, which has been forced to move beyond essentially national interventions to a greater focus on the global economy, and from scanning the horizon for potential crises to dealing with them in order to avoid regional or global contagion. A second stream of longstanding critiques has focused on the content of the policies, programmes and projects that the BWIs promote and enforce and how they have undermined a broad spectrum of human rights, with the Bank even being labelled a “human rights-free zone” in 2015 by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. While the establishment of the Bank and Fund was presented as an apolitical effort to rebuild the world economy in the aftermath of WWII, some interpretations also view them as an effort to defend or expand the reach of western capitalism in the face of a potential challenge from the Soviet Union, and to promote US interests in particular. There is no question that the IMF and World Bank continue to be amongst the most relevant and significant powerful norm-setters, convenors, knowledge-holders and influencers of the international development and financial landscape. The lack of public disclosure of FI investments makes it difficult for communities and civil society to bring cases to the CAO and hold the IFC accountable for its actions (see Observer Winter 2017). I tried to join the course daily but couldn't access it. While the Bank, and to a lesser extent, the Fund, have both increasingly tried to account for environmental and climate factors in their work over recent decades, these efforts have largely been limited to attempting to integrate these concerns into a growth-based development model. Finally, the BWIs’ approach to development and economic policy, as well as their financing decisions, have generated long-standing and ever-more pressing criticisms related to the protection of the environment and staving off climate change. As many authors have argued – including, for example, by demonstrating the links between the decimation of African health systems by SAPS and the response to the 2014 Ebola crisis (see Observer Winter 2015) – the devastating impacts of SAPs have been enduring and persist to this day. 274467). Their mandates, focus and programmes have evolved greatly over time, as seen, for example, by the shift of their pivotal role as designers of the fixed exchange rate regime created by the Bretton Woods System, to their active promotion of a fluctuating exchange rate system after its collapse in 1973. …Many of [the Bank’s] problems are associated with a dysfunctional institutional culture in which the relentless pressure to move money out the door, even in violation of the Bank’s own policies and rules, often overrides all other considerations.”. In particular, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, this ‘pro-cyclical’ approach was criticised for leading to a decline in economic activity, leading to lower consumption, lower public revenues, lower investment in vital public services, and higher levels of inequality, which in turn also lowers growth. The Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines are technical reference documents with general and industry -specific examples of Good International Industry Practice (GIIP)1. Labour unions, for instance, have long opposed the BWIs’ systematic weakening of labour rights either directly through conditionality or indirectly through policy advice in flagship reports and surveillance, such as the IMF’s 2017 loan programme to Greece (see Observer Autumn 2017), or the World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report (see Observer Winter 2018), respectively. Founded in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG, or Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF, or Fund) are twin intergovernmental institutions that are influential in shaping the structure of the world’s development and financial order. The safeguards review included the most extensive consultation ever conducted by the World Bank. A March 2017 post in REDD Monitor called the FCPF, “the most cost-inefficient tree-saving scheme ever,” owing to high administrative costs between fiscal years 2009-2015 absorbing 64 per cent of FCFP’s $55 million expenditure. This site uses cookies to optimize functionality and give you the best possible experience. Critics have also repeatedly pointed out this approach does not address the root causes of the government’s balance of payments distress (see Observer Winter 2017-18). However, the April 2019 appointment of World Bank President David Malpass – a US national who ran unopposed for the Bank’s top job – demonstrated that the gentleman’s agreement remains alive and well despite civil society opposition (see Observer Spring 2019). For the World Bank, conditionality is now most directly issued through its DPF, where loans and grants for development projects are provided to countries which adopt the required ‘prior actions’ to receive this fungible finance. At any given moment, World Bank policy statements and press releases claim that the organisation has learned from its past mistakes, whether in the environmental… The Bretton Woods Project is a UK-based NGO that challenges the World Bank and IMF and promotes alternative approaches. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, … The EHS Guidelines are technical reference documents with general and industry-specific examples of Good International Industry Practice (GIIP) and are referred to in the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework and in IFC’s Performance Standards.. The key decisions leading to the establishment of both institutions were largely steered by the US, and to a lesser extent the UK, and during the post-war period the BWIs were significantly influenced by the US’s geopolitical strength. Projects & Operations Provides access to basic information on all of the World Bank's lending projects from 1947 to the present. The under-representation of low- and middle-income countries on the BWIs’ Executive Boards is exacerbated by the historic ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between the United States and European countries, which has seen the Fund and Bank led by a European and US national, respectively, since their inception. A woman washes dishes at the Kutadi Bandar, a seasonal fishing community located next to the Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project’s intake channel. The Bank and Fund have established substantial normative power through their research, publications, pronouncements and support of ‘independent’ academic work. CSOs have also been highly critical of one of the forest initiatives the Bank manages, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a climate investment fund that supports Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects. This course aims to provide an in-depth introduction to the elements of the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework. Environment from The World Bank: Data. One of the central criticisms of the World Bank and IMF relates to the political power imbalances in their governance structures where, as a result of voting shares being based principally on the size and ‘openness’ of countries’ economies, poorer countries – often those receiving loans from the BWIs – are structurally under-represented in decision-making processes. It responds to new and varied development challenges that have arisen over time. You will see them reflected on "My Achievements" later on. The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group. The current stated aims of the Fund are promoting international fiscal and monetary cooperation, securing international financial stability, facilitating international trade, and promoting high employment and sustainable economic growth. Also known as the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), they were initially created with the intention of rebuilding the international economic system following World War II (WWII). In general, the transition from the Washington Consensus, underpinned by the trust in the efficiency of markets and consequently a drastically reduced role for the state, to its ‘more progressive’ post-Washington Consensus successor – which acknowledges market failures and re-inserts the state’s relevance, is often presented as a significant change in Bank and IMF thinking and their principles.  However, the Bank’s emphasis on using public resources to leverage (subsidise) private investment through its Maximising Finance for Development (MFD) approach demonstrates the state’s role has merely been reframed essentially to ‘create an enabling’ environment to allow the private sector to pursue its objectives. 3.3 Lacking evidence for positive impacts….. 3.4 …while not measuring harmful impacts. In general, the growth-based approach to poverty reduction that the World Bank and IMF both promote has immense environmental consequences, as is evidenced by the deepening climate crisis. This is of major concern, given that many planned ‘mega-corridors’ in developing regions are predicated on building a new generation of carbon-intensive infrastructure. In the case of the Bank, this reflects larger criticisms of staff incentives being misaligned with its twin goals, and the Bank having an insular, self-referential approach to knowledge production, which – according to the landmark Deaton Report published in 2006 – sometimes borders on ‘parody’ (see Observer Summer 2018). commercial banks and asset funds) by the IFC – which constitutes a growing part of its portfolio – and its inability to screen and monitor FI sub-projects adequately, undermines accountability. While the IMF has softened its position on some important issues, such as the recognition that capital controls may be necessary in certain (limited) circumstances, and the increased acknowledgement of the potential benefits of anti-cyclical policies (also in very limited circumstances), the general direction of travel remains largely unchanged. Sustainable development — particularly environmental sustainability — is a central tenet of the World Bank Group’s strategy. It aims to do so by providing loan programmes to states with balance of payments problems, as well as policy advice through either technical assistance or bilateral and multilateral macroeconomic surveillance. October, 2014. We issued the first labeled green bond in 2008 and have since raised about $13 billion through more than 150 green bonds in 20 currencies for institutional and retail investors around the world. 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