Parliamentarians Seek Larger Role in IFI Decision-Making

30 September 2004

Parliamentarians around the world are intensifying their request to be "systematically involved in formulating and monitoring development policies related to IMF and World Bank operations within their own countries."

Those are the key words from a petition being circulated by the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) in conjunction with an international coalition of parliamentary and civil society organization. (The petition in available on several sites, including: http://www.pnowb.org and http://www.wdm.org.uk/campaign/colludo/ippaction.htm.)

Bert Koenders, PNoWB chairman, kicked of the petition drive during a Sept. 8 speech in London, expanding on a request PNoWB made in February. Koenders is a member of the Dutch parliament.

In a letter circulating the petition, Koenders points to the problems identified in a World Bank study with the process for creating Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. PRSP development was designed to encourage wide participation, but, Koenders sums up, "Despite progress, much remains to be done in this respect."

The World Bank study noted in particular that "the involvement of parliaments has been a particularly weak aspect of the process."

Koenders’ letter argues "that there cannot be country ownership without the full involvement of those elected to represent the public – members of parliament." The full letter, the petition and the list of sponsors are viewable here.

The goal is to collect signatures from 3,600 parliamentarians from 60 countries by the time of the spring meeting of the World Bank and IMF. "This will take place at an unprecedented meeting between a representative group of parliamentarians and the IFI management," according to background information posted on the home page of the Asia-Europe Dialogue and Partner.

The campaign is a follow-up to a previous effort spearheaded by Koenders and the PNoWB.

By Toby McIntosh

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Filed under: IFTI Watch

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In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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