Oxfam has called for the public release of the transcript of Christine Lagarde’s interview with the IMF Board

Published: 28th June 2011

Oxfam’s Sarah Wynn-Williams said: “This farcical appointment process has damaged the IMF’s credibility. There were noises made about openness, but the decision was made before the candidates were interviewed. The hearings should have been transparent and public. Now, at the very least, the world needs to know what Lagarde was asked, and what she promised to do as head of this global institution.”

In reaction to US backing of Lagarde, Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser said: “The process to replace Dominique Strauss Kahn as Managing Director of the IMF has been extremely disappointing.
“The Obama Administration could have stepped up and welcomed emerging powers taking a leadership role in the IMF, as it has done in encouraging the G20 process, signaling a willingness to enter into partnerships in global governance. But it chose instead to be quiet about the disenfranchisement of emerging markets and developing countries in this process and jump on the European bandwagon at the very last minute.
“The influential role of the First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, traditionally filled by an American, will also be up for grabs in August. There’s a risk that this too will be a ritualistic rather than contestable appointment process unless the US seizes the opportunity to step up and address the democratic deficit in the IMF’s governance.
“Going forward, the Obama Administration must use its voting share on the IMF Board and the power of veto to back reforms that reduce the Europe’s dominance, and give other member countries more of a voice.
“Allowing emerging markets a say that accords with their rising global influence will only benefit the institution. If the US and EU continue to hold on to power through structures that reflect an obsolete economic and political world order of years past, the rising powers will inevitably turn away from the organization and toward institutions where they do have a voice.”

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The IMF has had a 'governance reform' process underway for the last few years, just moving around tiny percentages of developing country Board quotas. They agreed to “adopt an open, merit-based and transparent process for the selection of IMF management.” http://www.imf.org/external/np/cm/2009/100409.htm

This confirmed a 2008 G20 commitment made in Pittsburgh that “the heads and senior leadership of all international institutions should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit-based process.” http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/g20/summit-sommet/g20/declaration_092509.aspx

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Caroline Hooper-Box

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