Stephen Hurt gave an interesting and accessible introduction to the subject. Patrick Watt said that the IMF is facing a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis of role and a crisis of funding, and said they "make the Freemasons look like a model of probity" when it comes to transparency. Peter Hardstaff added that the World Bank are undemocratic, non-transparent and that the conditions they put on poor countries are unfair.
There was general agreement that there need to be huge changes in how these institutions are run; it was pointed out that they were set up in a completely different world, before international corporations existed, and when colonies didn't get their own votes. Today's world is so different that there needs to be a serious rethink of both the World Bank and IMF's roles. This is not going to be easy to achieve: the USA has a veto, even on votes about changing the voting system!
Peter Hardstaff pointed out that campaigners need to break down big goals into achievable, smaller ones, and explained that this is why WDM has been focusing on Parliamentary scrutiny. He also stated that the way to achieve change is to put pressure on our government to use its leverage in these institutions, and said that he feels more optimistic now than he has for a few years that change can happen.
1. The World Development Movement was founded in 1970. We campaign to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and lobby decision makers to change the policies that keep people poor. We research and promote positive alternatives, working closely with grassroots organisations in the developing world to stand up to injustice.
2. For further information please see: http://www.wdm.org.uk/resources/briefings/debt/outoftime.pdf
Jenny Nicholson, Press Officer, Oxford WDM: 07867 993100 or email@example.com