Last week the European network of IFIs watchers – the EuroIFInet – met in Frankfurt in its yearly meeting to prepare NGO actions for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, which this year are taking place in Istanbul on the 6th and 7th of October.
The EuroIFInet is a network of European NGOs monitoring the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which meets twice a year, once in Brussels in Spring and once in another European location before the Annual Meetings of the Washington-based International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the World Bank and the IMF.
On this occasion, on the agenda there was the IFIs response to the financial crisis, including the resurgence of IMF lending, the (lack of) financial regulation which has led to the current crisis, and the impact in the world’s poorest countries. The meeting also discussed the increased role of private sector finance and the growing linkages between private financial actors and the IFIs, which are using the scare public money available to leverage private finance. On March, the EuroIFInet published a position paper on policy responses to the current economic and financial crisis.
With regards to World Bank funded projects, some groups made an enlightening presentation on the proposal of the World Bank to fund one of the world largest damns in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which seems to be mainly geared to produce energy to be almost exclusively exported and which threatens creating devastating local impacts without yielding any benefits for the communities in the area. This year Eurodad member CRBM visited the project and will soon publish a report with their main findings.
Finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation was also on the agenda. As groups are gearing up for the Summit in Copenhagen in December, there is increasing mobilization in Europe and elsewhere to shine light on the insufficient financial packages that are being put on the table, and the narrow-sighted approach of Northern governments which are not putting efforts into the much needed development of alternative energies and an alternative growth and consumption model of the North.
These issues are going to be some of the crucial topics discussed both in the official meetings and the civil society events organised in Istanbul at the beginning of October. NGOs participating at the Istanbul meetings have been liaising with local groups which will organise alternative forums and public mobilizations to show civil society discontent with the policies of the Bank and the Fund. At the end of the alternative forum, local CSOs together with groups from other countries will meet in a joint assembly to agree upon key messages that will be passed onto government representatives attending the official meetings.
The EuroIFInet and Eurodad are already collaborating with local groups on these events, and will also take the opportunity of the Istanbul meetings to launch forthcoming research on IMF, debt, and the international monetary system. As of next week, Eurodad will be releasing regular updates with relevant information on CSO actions in Istanbul.