UBUNTU - World Forum of Civil Society Networks

Theme 2: Multilateral issues

The BWI must not become de facto organisations of governance in spheres for which they have no competence. Rather, these institutions must be subject to principles agreed by the international community, including the rules of international law that govern international economic relations, environmental protection measures, the protection of minorities and indigenous communities, etc. As international organisations, they will have to be accountable if their loan granting or withholding policies are in breach of these internationally agreed rules, for the conditions of the loans must reflect nothing other than their fiduciary role. What is more, these institutions must be refounded within the United Nations, such that they become truly specialised bodies (but not independent ones as they have so far been) of the UN system, and, on the basis of a return to the way they were conceived in their original mandates, take on the competences that the United Nations does really confer upon them.

In the case of an IMF refounded as a specialised body of the UN for sound governance of the world financial and economic architecture, its powers would be: multilaterally correcting world current-account and exchange-rate imbalances, thereby ensuring worldwide macroeconomic and monetary stability; supervising, controlling and regulating global movements of finance capital in order to prevent financial crises and ensure world macroeconomic stability - in general, stemming potential financial crises and strengthening the foundations of international financial stability; undertaking ongoing surveillance activities over all economies, paying special attention to short-term capital flows and their consequences, in order to ensure timely detection of signs of external vulnerability; offsetting the dizzying growth of world financial imbalances by means of policy adjustments in the large economies; supervising, controlling and regulating tax havens, with a view to their ultimate disappearance, as an assurance of moving towards a steady and effective reduction of tax fraud and, in general, of corruption connected with the world of financial capital; and undertaking new functions in line with its refounded role, such as collector and manager of revenues from new and innovative mechanisms of financing for development and, in particular of potential new levies on global financial capital.

If we compare the WB and its IDA (International Development Association) with the UNDP and its UNDCP (UN Development Capital Fund) we will see that the essential difference between them (stated in comparable terms at all times) is that the former manages some 1000 times more funds than the latter. But the difference does not stop there by any means, for the former carries out it management within the paradigmatic framework of the BWI, while the latter does so within that of the UN.

Refounding of the WB as a specialised body of the UN involves all that we have said for the IMF, except as relates to its powers, which in so far as they would then be practically the same as those of the UNDP, would involve the two bodies being merged. It would thus become the UN body charged with best fulfillment of the Development Agendas throughout the world and, in cases of catastrophes of all kinds, also of the Reconstruction Agendas.

Thus, the solution does not lie in increasing the authority of the WB and IMF as they presently stand, in granting these institutions greater control over social and economic development aspects, but in having their working remits refocused back onto their core responsibilities, the tasks for which they were conceived during their creation: providing a stable and orderly international structure.

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