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Delivering human rights and the SDGs: Does IMF Conditionality pass muster?

Gino Brunswijck

29 May 2019 17:54:58

Last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published its Review of Program Design and Conditionality 2018, which provides an overview of the IMF’s lending programmes between 2011 and 2017. While the review includes some positive elements, such as the acknowledgement to improve debt sustainability analysis (DSA), it falls short of fully accounting for the impact of conditionality on:inequalitypublic service provisionlabour rightsgender equality.  It is, therefore, a missed opportunity to evaluate IMF-lending practices against international agreements, in particular the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and international human rights and labour standards.   The review is timely - debt crises are brewing in several low-income countries – and offers the IMF’s view on ...

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EU leadership needs to embed human rights into economic policy-making

Mark Perera

04 Apr 2019 10:20:46

In a valuable step forward to support human rights compliant economic policy-making, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) called on 21 March for governments and intergovernmental organisations to make use of new UN guidance when developing economic reforms. EU states on the HRC boldly exercised their votes to oppose these calls, in a move that stands in direct contrast to EU commitments from only two years ago to adopt a rights-based approach to development, and support countries in building resilience to prepare for and respond to economic shocks without compromising long-term development prospects. New UN guiding principles add to the debt management toolbox The HRC resolution on the effects of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights highlights new UN Guiding Principles on human rights ...

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First as tragedy, now as farce: lessons from 12 August 1982

Mark Perera

12 Aug 2017 08:47:36

As the saying goes, history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time. This month marks the 35th anniversary of an event that sparked a debt crisis across the developing world. It was a crisis triggered by low interest rates in the Global North, a reckless boom in lending and borrowing to Southern countries over-reliant on commodity exports, and a fall in the price of those same commodities. Sound familiar? The parallels with today’s developing world debt crisis are stark, and looking back at how the 1980s crisis arose and how it was dealt with, there are worrying signs that very little has been learned despite repeated calls by Eurodad and other civil society organisations for a comprehensive, UN-backed debt workout mechanism. A crisis begins On 12 August 1982, Mexican ...

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IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings: drifting off course as multilateralism faces headwinds.

Bodo Ellmers, Maria Romero

25 Apr 2017 09:05:58

The 2017 spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, which also included the second edition of the Global Infrastructure Forum, took place against the uncertainty generated by geopolitical changes such as the election of President Trump in the US and the formalisation of the UK’s exit from the European Union. A draft budget proposal by President Trump, released in the run-up to the Spring Meetings, overshadowed last week's discussions as it suggests that instead of getting a capital increase, the World Bank will experience a substantial cut in its funding from its main shareholder. Meanwhile, civil society organisations (CSOs) voiced their concerns about how far the Bretton Woods Institutions are from serving development objectives. Systematic and concerned focus on private finance. ...

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How far have we come on responsible finance standards?

Mathieu Vervynckt

22 Sep 2016 11:55:40

It’s been two years since Eurodad reported that for every $100 a developing country makes, $10 are lost, flowing out of the country. Although we’d been saying for many years that more money flows out of developing countries than goes in, I remember that the scale of it even came as a surprise to us.  But the reality is that developing countries continue to suffer from profits taken out by foreign investors, lending by developing countries to rich countries and particularly from illicit financial flows (IFFs). Last year’s “Mbeki report”, which had been commissioned by the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, estimated that Africa is losing more than $50 billion annually in IFFs. And, the report argued, “these estimates may well fall short of reality ...

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Why it would be good for the IMF if Greece stopped repaying the IMF loans

Bodo Ellmers

26 May 2015 17:14:35

By Bodo Ellmers   The creditor community has another shock and awe moment this week, as more and more influential actors argue that Greece should stop repaying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans and instead use scarce public resources to tackle its economic and humanitarian crisis. While Prime Minister Tsipras still tries to ease the creditors, the idea is here to stay. And it is a good one: Greece should not just postpone loan repayments but default on them – stopping payments to the IMF for good. This would help to finally reform the IMF from the political puppet that it is now into a real and effective crisis response instrument. Risk-free lending can quickly become irresponsible lending Whoever loses in a debt crisis – and usually there are many losers – the IMF is always ...
This article is also available in French and Spanish.The prevention of debt crises and the way these crises are managed have a tendency to fail due to the lack of adequate institutions. While Europe is still struggling to solve the old debt crises, ...
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