Eco-nomics

50 Years Is Enough:
U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice

OUR DEMANDS OF THE IMF AND WORLD BANK
March/April 2000

On the occasion of the first meetings of the governing bodies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the 21st century, we call for the immediate suspension of the policies and practices that have caused widespread poverty, inequality, and suffering among the world's peoples and damage to the world's environment. We assert the responsibility of these anti-democratic institutions, together with the World Trade Organization, for an unjust world economic system. We note that these institutions are controlled by wealthy governments, and that their policies have benefited international private sector financiers, transnational corporations, and corrupt officials.

We issue this call in the name of global justice, in solidarity with the peoples of the Global South and the former "Soviet bloc" countries who struggle for survival and dignity in the face of unjust, imperialistic economic policies. We stand in solidarity too with the millions in the wealthy countries of the Global North who have borne the burden of "globalization" policies and been subjected to policies that mirror those imposed on the South.

Only when the coercive powers of the international financial institutions are rescinded shall governments be accountable first and foremost to the will of their peoples. Only when a system that allocates power chiefly to the wealthiest nations for the purpose of dictating the policies of the poorer ones is reversed shall nations and their peoples be able to forge bonds - economic and otherwise - based on mutual respect and the common needs of the planet and its inhabitants. Only when integrity is restored to economic development, and both the corrupter and the corrupted held accountable, shall the people begin to have confidence in the decisions that affect their communities. Only when the well-being of all, including the most vulnerable people and ecosystems, is given priority over corporate profits shall we achieve genuine sustainable development and create a world of justice, equality, and peace where fundamental human rights, including social and economic rights, can be respected.

With these ends in mind, we make the following demands of those meeting in Washington April 16-19, 2000 for the semi-annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund:

1. That the IMF and World Bank cancel all debts owed them. Any funds required for this purpose should come from positive net capital and assets held by those institutions.

2. That the IMF and World Bank immediately cease imposing the economic austerity measures known as structural adjustment and/or other macroeconomic "reform," which have exacerbated poverty and inequality, as conditions of loans, credits, or debt relief. This requires both the suspension of those conditions in existing programs and an abandonment of any version of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative which is founded on the concept of debt relief for policy reform.

3. That the IMF and World Bank accept responsibility for the disastrous impact of structural adjustment policies by paying reparations to the peoples and communities who have borne that impact. These funds should come from the institutions' positive net capital and assets, and should be distributed through democratically-determined mechanisms.

4. That the World Bank Group pay reparations to peoples relocated and otherwise harmed by its large projects (such as dams) and compensate governments for repayments made on projects which World Bank evaluations rank as economic failures. A further evaluation should determine which World Bank projects have failed on social, cultural, and environmental grounds, and appropriate compensation paid. The funds for these payments should come from the institutions' positive net capital and assets, and should be distributed through democratically-determined mechanisms.

5. That the World Bank Group immediately cease providing advice and resources through its division* devoted to private-sector investments to advance the goals associated with corporate globalization, such as privatization and liberalization, and that private-sector investments currently held be liquidated to provide funds for the reparations demanded above.

6. That the agencies and individuals within the World Bank Group and IMF complicit in abetting corruption, as well as their accomplices in borrowing countries, be prosecuted, and that those responsible, including the institutions involved, provide compensation for resources stolen and damage done.

7. That the future existence, structure, and policies of international institutions such as the World Bank Group and the IMF be determined through a democratic, participatory and transparent process. The process must accord full consideration of the interests of the peoples most affected by the policies and practices of the institutions, and include a significant role for all parts of civil society.

The accession to these demands would require the institutions' directors to accept and act on the need for fundamental transformation. It is possible that the elimination of these institutions will be required for the realization of global economic and political justice.

We commit to work towards the defunding of the IMF and World Bank by opposing further government allocations to them (in the form of either direct contributions or the designation of collateral) and supporting campaigns such as a boycott of World Bank bonds until these demands have been met.

*The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a division of the World Bank Group. Also included is the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency (MIGA), which insures private investments in Southern countries.

SIGNED:

  1. 50 Years Is Enough Network Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) - Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Anti Debt Coalition - Indonesia
  3. Campaign Against Neo-Liberalism in South Africa (CANSA) - Johannesburg, South Africa
  4. Campaign for Labor Rights - Washington, DC
  5. Ecumenical Support Services - Harare, Zimbabwe
  6. Focus on the Global South - Bangkok, Thailand
  7. Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy - Oakland, CA (USA)
  8. Freedom from Debt Coalition - Manila, Philippines
  9. Global Exchange - San Francisco, CA (USA)
  10. Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project - Washington, DC
  11. Jubilee 2000 Afrika Campaign - London, UK
  12. Jubilee 2000 Afrika Campaign (USA) - Pittsburgh, PA
  13. Jubilee 2000 South Africa - Cape Town, South Africa
  14. Kenya Action Network - Washington, DC (USA)
  15. Kenya Human Rights Commission - Nairobi, Kenya
  16. LALIT - Port Louis, Mauritius
  17. Nicaragua Network - Washington, DC (USA)
  18. NICCA - Oakland, CA (USA)
  19. Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt & Development - Harare, Zimbabwe


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