This week European NGOs met the EU World Bank Executive Directors on the occasion of their annual visit to Brussels. On the table for discussion there were the issues of the Bank’s response to the financial crisis, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) supported oil projects in Ghana.
NGOs raised concerns that the needs of the developing countries are being sidelined in global and European political discussions on how to respond to the financial crisis. Not only European governments are not properly addressing the new financing needs that developing countries are going to face, but also they are failing to address the development dimension in key ongoing debates on how international financial institutions, including the World Bank, should be reformed. As the World Bank is getting ready to frontload International Development Association (IDA) funds, and has just set up a Vulnerability Fund intended to provide resources for countries facing financing gaps as a result of the crisis, NGOs want to ensure that these resources have no policy conditions attached, that they are provided in grant terms, and that they contribute to low-carbon development pathways and areas of the economy most important for poverty eradication. Although the Executive Directors seemed to be receptive to some of these concerns, there seems to be no specific plan to prevent that the Bank will continue doing “business as usual”.
With regards to the IFC oil projects in Ghana, the EDs were not clear in responding to NGO concerns either. They expressed some concerns as regards to the difficulty faced when assessments on projects to be approved are as divergent as those provided by NGOs and IFC management in this case. NGOs raised wider concerns on the need to apply stricter performance standards to IFC supported projects and called to take this into account in the upcoming review on this issue.
In addition to the meeting with the EDs, NGOs also met members of the World Bank Inspection Panel in order to better understand the possibilities provided by this body and how NGOs can make a better use of this recourse mechanism
Detailed information in the web page: Eurodad