World Bank-IMF annual meetings 2009 [Update]


1. Overview

The Bank and Fund have named this year’s annual meetings, held in Istanbul, Turkey the ‘Road to Recovery.’ People around the world struggling in the face of the huge increases in unemployment and poverty caused the what the UN has called the “greatest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression” may not share the IFI’s optimism. However, the IFI’s themselves certainly seem to have put themselves back on the road to recovery, with a $500 billion boost to the IMF’s coffers from the G20 (see Update 65) and the Bank announcing its highest lending ever (see Update 66).

Doubtless the statements issued at the end of the meetings will restate existing promises to tackle the crisis, but there is little prospect of any further concrete outcomes from the meetings, beyond re-announcing existing initiatives, for example on healthcare and food.

Governance reform will be high on the agenda of both the Bank and Fund, though little concrete progress is expected in either institution besides reasserting the agreements from the G20 leaders meeting in Pittsburgh in September. The Bank is likely to only reiterate the basic outline of the deal, a 3 per cent shift in voting power to developing countries, with details to be negotiated between now and next year’s spring meetings deadline. Rich countries, particularly Europeans who have the most to lose, are battling to prevent the significant shift to equality of voting shares that developing countries are demanding. The US will continue to defend its veto. Other issues are effectively off the agenda until the outlines of a deal on voting reform is agreed.

At the Fund, the governance reform timetable stretches until 2011, with many promises that this round of reforms will address IMF governance issues in a comprehensive way. The G20 promised at least a 5 per cent shift in IMF voting share to “emerging market and developing countries” though the poorest countries were only promised that their share would not go down. This would still leave the rich countries with a majority.

Though this year’s World Development Report focusses on climate change (see Update 67), it promises to be the elephant in the room at this year’s annual meetings. Having been fiercely attacked for attempting to usurp the UN’s leading role in this area, the Bank is keeping a low profile, but continues to move behind the scenes to ensure a leading role in climate finance. It claims to be waiting to change any policies or plans until after the Copenhagen meetings of the UNFCCC in December.

The IMF managed to seal most of the deal on its extra funding at the G20 in Pittsburgh, but World Bank president, Robert Zoellick’s efforts to get extra capital for the Bank agreed in Istanbul were rebuffed by developing countries who pointed out that this would inevitably affect voting shares, and so should be discussed as part of the governance negotiations.

Read BWP analysis of the content of the communiqués and the story behind the positions.


2. World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change

This year’s World Development Report (WDR), which focuses on climate change, is sure to garner more attention than opaque WDR 2009 on “economic geography”. The report highlights that the world’s poor will suffer the most, while rich countries with only one-sixth of the world’s population are responsible for nearly two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. It argues that developing countries can shift to lower-carbon paths while promoting development and reducing poverty and states that “the greatest challenge lies with changing behaviours and institutions, particularly in high-income countries.” The report defends the Bank’s continued investment in fossil fuels such as coal. More information can be found on the Bank’s website.


3. Agenda and background papers: International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC)

The agenda for the IMFC meeting is available and includes topics for which there are background papers:

Agenda and background papers: Development Committee

The agenda for the Development Committee is yet to be formally published but will be based on the below listed background papers.


4. Highlights of official meetings

The Bretton Woods Project will bring you analysis of the content of all the communiqués and the story behind the positions as the documents become available. So check back here during and after the meetings

3 October: G24 communiqué (analysis, document), G7 communiqué (analysis, document), Programme of seminars

4 October: IMFC communiqué (analysis, document), IMFC statements by finance ministers

5 October: Development Committee communiqué (analysis, document), Development Committee statements by finance ministers

6 October: Statements made at the final plenary session

Read BWP analysis of the content of the communiqués and the story behind the positions.


5. Highlights of civil society meetings and other seminars

For a complete listing of civil-society events, briefings, press releases, and a blog, see IFIwatchnet. The World Bank’s listing is here. Webcasts of several of the civil society dialogue sessions will be made available. We will be posting notes of meetings attended by BWP staff, so check back often for more details. Full videos of the World Bank’s Programme of Seminars with well known speaker are available on the Programme of Seminars website.

1 October

  • IMF governance – meeting between civil society and Dominique Strauss-Kahn

2 October

3 October

4 October

  • Roundtable on global economic governance
  • Report launch: Growth Commission on post-crisis growth in developing countries, with Trevor Manuel and Michael Spence
  • Climate change, finance and the MDBs
  • Bank energy strategy
  • Debt and gender
  • Reforming development assistance
  • Extractive industry contract disclosure
  • Review of the IFC’s sustainability policy
  • IMF governance
  • Impacts of the financial crisis on developing countries
  • IMF-Financial Stability Board early warning excercise

5 October

6 October

Return here for highlights of meetings hosted by civil society organisations from Bretton Woods Project staff in Washington.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s