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FMI et Banque mondiale
Civil Society call for end to economic policy conditionality
23 November 2006
39 organisations have already signed the CSO Common Statement on the Norwegian conference on conditionality calling to phase out harmful economic policy conditionality in WB and IMF development lending.
The so long awaited Norwegian conference on conditionality is taking place next week in Oslo - on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th November.
The conference is a great occasion to push governments to adopt a more progressive stance on economic policy conditionality and call on them to put pressure on the IFI to stop tying so-much needed aid and debt relief to harmful economic conditions.
Governmental representatives from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK will attend the conference, which is intended to:
assess the WB’s and the IMF’s current application of conditionality to encourage privatisation and liberalisation and
On the occasion of the conference, civil society organisations participating at the conference have drafted a common sign-on statement, which has been already signed by 39 organisations.
CSO Common statement on the Norwegian conference
In 2005 donor governments committed to significant increases in the volume and quality of development aid. A large amount of this is likely to be delivered by the World Bank and the IMF, which are also very influential in the spending allocations of other agencies. However, economic policy conditionality imposed by the World Bank and the IMF on developing countries has harmed development in some of the poorest countries and remains a key challenge if aid effectiveness is to be taken seriously.
We welcome the Norwegian government’s decision to convene a Conference on Economic Policy Conditionality. It provides a unique opportunity to promote vitally important reform to help development in the poorest countries of the world.
We call on our governments to strongly support the process and use this opportunity to formulate positions to end tying much-needed aid and debt relief to harmful economic policy conditions.
Economic policy conditionality - continuing to damage development
When external agencies impose detailed conditions on the finance they provide for developing countries this has a series of unfortunate effects. It:
Limits the policy space available for developing countries to determine their own policies for poverty reduction, and undermines domestic citizens’ rights in decision making processes and national sovereignty;
There is a growing body of evidence - both official and independent - showing that conditionality has failed. The Bank’s 2005 review of conditionality agreed to the principles of ownership, harmonisation, customisation, criticality, transparency and predictability. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that the Bank is doing nearly enough to change its practice. The Bank claims a reduction of conditionality; however, this is owed, to a great extent, to the fact that interventions that CSO consider conditionalities are not labelled as such by the Bank enabling official statistics to appear more positive than it is the reality.
Recent research conducted by CSOs has found that:
Aggregate World Bank and IMF economic policy conditions rose on average from 48 to 67 per loan between 2002 and 2005;
From Oslo to greater aid effectiveness
The Norwegian conference provides a unique opportunity for progressive governments in the North and the South to call for an immediate end to tying aid and debt relief to liberalisation, privatisation and other economic policy reforms in poor countries, and to take immediate action to make it happen.
Northern countries are collectively the major contributors to the World Bank’s concessional arm, the International Development Association (IDA); they also have an important presence on the World Bank and IMF Boards.
We urge our governments in the North and the South to show a resolute political commitment to:
Ensuring the World Bank and the IMF adopt a policy which prevents them from imposing economic policy conditions on poor countries when providing finance and debt relief;
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