IFTI Watch

  • 30 December 2013

    Journalist Sues U.S. to Get Access to Trade Documents

    William New, editor of Intellectual Property Watch, has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents related to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The US Trade Representative has denied his March 2012 request, saying that the draft text of the intellectual property chapter of the TPP is exempt as “national security information.” […]

  • 20 December 2013

    FSB Transparency Evolves; Still Leaves Information Gaps

    By Toby McIntosh The Financial Stability Board, a small organization with significant influence on the world’s financial sector, has moved to be more open in recent years, but is still too secret according to critical observers. The FSB scored “2” on a transparency scale of 4 used by one nongovernmental organization. “It is one of […]

  • 13 December 2013

    EBRD Plans to Revise Information Policy

    The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has scheduled a series of pubic consultation on topics including its 2011 Public Information Policy which it plans to revise. The seven one-day sessions in February will also cover the EBRD’s revised Environmental and Social Policy and Project Complaint Mechanism Rules of Procedure, according to the announcement. The […]

  • 9 December 2013

    Variety of Transparency Issues Face New G20 Host

    By Toby McIntosh If the G20 is viewed as “a big hot tub party” for world leaders, as one observer put it, then transparency might not seem too desirable. But if viewed as an influential international policy-making institution, the application of transparency standards seems more logical. Not necessarily an easy fit, however, given the peculiarities […]

  • 22 November 2013

    Spotlight on Trade Talks After WikiLeaks Disclosure

    By Toby McIntosh The explosive WikiLeaks disclosure of a draft text from the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks has brought renewed attention to the secrecy of trade negotiations. Calls to open up trade negotiations have grown steadily in the past decade, boosted by a rising tide of transparency advocacy and the growing breadth and […]

  • 7 October 2013

    Green Climate Fund Urged to Fix Draft Information Plan

    Revisions are needed in the draft policy on information disclosure about to be considered by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), according to the Global Transparency Initiative. The GCF is an international financial institution which uses lending to promote compliance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The draft policy on information disclosure is on the […]

  • 15 September 2013

    Brazil Still Considering Release of Article IV Report

    Brazil has yet to release the 2013 annual “Article IV” report on its economy by the International Monetary Fund. “The authorities need more time to consider the publication of the report,” according to a line in the Aug. 30 IMF press release that summarized the report. FreedomInfo.org was told that the disclosure of the report […]

  • 25 July 2013

    World Bank to Disclose More on Its Contracts

    The World Bank will soon begin disclosing more about contracts valued at more than $250,000. The information – contractor name, a brief description of services and the contract amount — will be published on the World Bank Group’s Open Finances website. The new disclosures, to be done quarterly, will begin Oct. 1, covering the period […]

  • 22 July 2013

    IMF Issues Modified Transparency Policy

    The International Monetary Fund July 22 announced modest alterations to its transparency policy. The revised policy continues to give member governments the ability to block the release of  IMF assessments of their economies, but increases the pressure for disclosure. Currently, when countries seek to borrow exceptional amounts, the IMF Managing Director can condition a favorable recommendation on […]

  • 21 June 2013

    World Bank Issues More on Trust Funds; Still Limited

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank is disclosing increasingly more information about the hundreds of “trust funds” that account for about 10 percent of Bank operations, but there’s still no easy way to get a complete picture of individual trust fund operations. A number of pro-transparency steps have been taken, and more moves are being planned. […]

  • 21 June 2013

    GTI Critiques Access Proposal by Climate Change Fund

    The Global Transparency Initiative has urged the Green Climate Fund (GCF), an international lending body, to narrow the exemptions in a proposed access to information policy. The GCF, which promotes compliance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has proposing an information disclosure policy, Information Disclosure, including Webcasting. The GCF Board will discuss […]

  • 14 June 2013

    OAS Assembly Defeats Attacks on Rapporteur

    The General Assembly of the Organization of American States June 6 again protected the independence of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Attacks on their independence by Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela have become almost perennial. The outcome this year was brokered by Mexico during an intense […]

  • 14 June 2013

    G-8 Transparency Theme Prompts Suggestions

    With transparency as one of its main themes, the G-8 meeting June 17-18 in Northern Ireland is expected to generate a renewed call for requring more transparency by the extractive industries and possibly the  issuance of an open data charter. In addition, requiring countries to reveal the true beneficial owners of shell companies and trusts is […]

  • 22 April 2013

    CSOs Say IMF Transparency Policy Worst Among IFIs

    The International Monetary Fund is less transparent than other International Financial Institutions, according to civil society organizations that responded to the Fund’s call for comments. The Fund is undergoing a review of its 2009 transparency policy and expects for the Board to consider the subject in May. The draft of any proposed changes will not […]

  • 19 April 2013

    World Bank Officials Praise Impact of Access Reforms

    The World Bank has decided to bring more openness to its own procurements, an official said April 18. The Bank will soon make available  information about Bank contracts, notwithstanding an exemption it gave itself in the 2010 access policy, according to Paul Bermingham, who chairs the Access to Information Committee. He also is director, Operational […]

  • 29 March 2013

    IMF Transparency Criticized; Consultations Called Flawed

    The International Monetary Fund “fails to establish a proper system of openness,” according to a submission made by a nongovernmental organization. The comment quoted above, by the Centre for Law and Democracy, was submitted in response to an IMF call for comment about its disclosure policy. The consultation process itself has garnered criticisms from transparency […]

  • 11 March 2013

    World Bank Audit Questions Transparency of IFC Lending

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank “knows very little” about the environmental and social effects of lending done through “financial intermediaries,” according to an extensive critique by an internal watchdog. The report also raises questions about restrictions in the World Bank’s disclosure policy concerning such lending, in which intermediaries such as private banks receive Bank […]

  • 4 March 2013

    World Bank Appeals Board Issues First Decisions

    The World Bank’s external appeals board has issued its first two decisions, both confirming denial decisions made by the internal Access to Information Committee (AIC). In one decision, the Appeals Board agreed that reports on the implementation of a controversial transportation project in India should not be disclosed. The decision draws attention to a change in the Bank’s […]

  • 1 March 2013

    Brazil Changes Policy, OKs Release of Annual IMF Report

    Breaking its longstanding practice, Brazil in 2012 agreed to the publication of the annual “Article IV” report on its economy by the International Monetary Fund. Brazil has been a hold-out among major economies by continuing to deny permission for the release  of the full report. The IMF publishes a “Public Information Notice” about all the […]

  • 25 February 2013

    IMF Begins Consultation on 2009 Transparency Policy

    The International Monetary Fund has commenced a review of its 2009 transparency policy. The IMF on Feb. 21 posted a call for comments along with eleven specific questions. The deadline is March 29. A conference call with representatives of civil society groups is being planned. The most recent revision of the IMF transparency policy went into effect […]


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).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748