Oxfam verdict on the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings

On inequality, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“Given that rising inequality continues to make the headlines everywhere in the world, it is surprising how the issue remained almost totally absent from these Spring meetings. In a world where on current trends the wealthiest one per cent will own more than everyone else next year, this is a shocking omission.” 

On international taxation, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“In this critical year for development, it is disappointing that Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde failed to add their weight behind overhauling flawed international tax systems.

“Developing countries lose $100 billion annually to corporate dodging, enough for every child in the world to go to school four times over, yet any discussion on tax reform was out of the spotlight.

“The World Bank and the IMF have been asked by their members to contribute to a positive outcome at the Financing for Development Summit in July.  One way they could do that is by recognizing how their public support in tapping into illicit tax flows would help put it at the heart of the agenda, and ultimately make it easier to raise vital funding for the sustainable development goals.”

On the old World Bank, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“This week we have seen a worrying glimpse of the old World Bank focusing mainly on growth, big infrastructures, structural reform and opening the gates to the private sector as the panacea to ending poverty.

“We recognize that Jim Yong Kim has a wider plan to overcome poverty, but reducing his personal commitment to fighting inequality and climate change to the sidelines this week was a missed opportunity to harness the potential of this important year for development.

“Jim Yong Kim can reassert himself as a progressive leader. The fact that Latin America is the only continent where inequality has recently been reduced provides him with a perfect opportunity to make sure it is the focus of the Annual meetings in Lima later this year.”

“In this critical year for development, it is disappointing that Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde failed to add their weight behind overhauling flawed international tax systems.

“Developing countries lose $100 billion annually to corporate dodging, enough for every child in the world to go to school four times over, yet any discussion on tax reform was out of the spotlight.

“The World Bank and the IMF have been asked by their members to contribute to a positive outcome at the Financing for Development Summit in July.  One way they could do that is by recognizing how their public support in tapping into illicit tax flows would help put it at the heart of the  agenda, and ultimately make it easier to raise vital funding for the sustainable development goals.”

On Ebola, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“The World Bank's announcement of new money to support the long term economic and social recovery of the three Ebola-affected countries is good news. It is crucial that the world does not turn away once the Ebola crisis is brought under control if we are going to prevent outbreaks from striking again.

“The affected countries must lead in the recovery and strengthening of their economies to ensure the impact of recovery plans is sustainable.  Just in terms of healthcare, $420 million will be needed to train 9,000 doctors and 37,000 nurses and midwives while $297 million will be needed annually to pay their salaries. 

“It is now crucial that donors go to New York in July ready to put money on the table.”

On contribution to the Catastrophe, Containment and Relief Trust Fund, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“The announcement of contributions by countries like the UK and Germany to the IMF Catastrophe, Containment and Relief Trust as part of an effort to provide debt relief to countries affected by disasters is great news. Other donors need to step forward to ensure the IMF is equipped to provide debt relief when needed.”

On resettlement, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“The failure of the World Bank’s resettlement policy has this week been revealed, with reports that 3.4 million people around the world have been displaced and many left impoverished because of bank-funded projects forcing them off their land and out of their homes.  

“We agree with Jim Kim that infrastructures that benefit and protect poor people are sorely needed and welcome the World Bank’s recognition that it has failed to do so, but current action plans are insufficient. 

“The World Bank must provide redress to people who have been affected, open its action plan for consultation and urgently implement fundamental reforms to prevent this from happening again.”  

On the new AIIB, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC office Nicolas Mombrial said:

“More money for development and better cooperation is always good news so Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde’s willingness to work closely with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is welcome. It is now time for them to work with others to ensure this new bank puts poverty and inequality at the center, operates transparently, and respects high environmental and social standards.”

Contact information: 
 
For more information contact Lucy Brinicombe, +44 (0)7786 110054 / lbrinicombe@oxfam.org.uk
 
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