A Hearing Worth Attending: World Bank Lending and Human Rights

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Hearing:  World Bank Lending and Human Rights
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
2:00 PM-4:00 PM
HVC-210, Washington, DC

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on World Bank lending and human rights.

Although the World Bank has contributed to the advancement of human rights, it currently lacks procedures to track and measure such contribution. More importantly, there are no safeguard policies in place to help the Bank avoid or mitigate adverse human rights impacts resulting from its projects. In the context of the Bank’s unprecedented comprehensive review of its environmental and social safeguard policies and overall restructuring under the new leadership of President Jim Yong Kim, the hearing will examine how the Bank can be more effective in supporting human rights protections in its activities. Given the World Bank’s considerable influence in the development community and its leadership among multilateral organizations, the hearing will also focus on the role of the United States in strengthening the consistency between Bank policy and U.S. law and policy. Continue reading

The IMF and the Taliban

imfAmong the many factors at play in the growth of the Pakistani “neo-Taliban” is the story of poverty and a failed government response to basic human needs. With the global recession underway, things have only gotten only worse for those near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in Pakistan and elsewhere.

As the World Bank puts it:

“Estimates of the additional number of people trapped in extreme poverty in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis range from 50 to 90 million.”

With that in mind, it can be easy to view this weekend’s IMF/World Bank meetings as good news:  lots of talk of providing money to Pakistan and other developing nations to help during the recession.

Unfortunately, the IMF is talking about providing loans.

That means more long-term debt for the very nations that can least afford to pay it off. To make things worse, many of these loans are likely to come with the kinds of conditions that will further limit social welfare spending.

Continue reading