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IPS Examines NGOs’ Call To Reform World Bank’s Funding For Poorest Countries

“With the World Bank expected to announce a new funding package for the world’s poorest countries Wednesday, NGOs are making a last-minute appeal to donor countries to use their leverage to compel reforms at the institution,” Inter Press Service reports in an article examining the changes being requested and considered.

“The agreement, being finalised in Brussels, will set the resources available to the International Development Association (IDA) for the period between July 2011 and June 2014. This ‘replenishment’ round is held every three years, and Wednesday’s announcement will follow a year’s worth of negotiations between Bank officials and government representatives, all of which have been closely monitored by NGOs,” IPS writes.

Oxfam spokesperson Elizabeth Stuart said more transparency and better tracking is needed to determine what IDA funds achieve. “Stuart and other NGOs representatives recognise the importance of IDA and its 234 billion dollars of assistance. ‘It is often the only source of funding for donor orphans,’ she said, referring to countries that are being overlooked by rich countries’ development aid,” the news service writes.

The World Bank “points to reforms that have tried to track the results this lending has had. But Oxfam’s Stuart says the reforms have not yet gone far enough,” according to IPS. “Not all NGOs are as critical of IDA’s progress on openness, though. InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based NGOs of which Oxfam is a member, has many other members that are much more positive about the replenishment process, said John Ruthrauff, director of international advocacy at InterAction” (Berger, 12/14).