On the complicity of the IMF, other IFIs in violating people’s economic rights today: Page 2 of 2
WBG and other multilateral banks to facilitate the full capture of the sustainable development agenda by big private sector and finance capital, such as institutional investors. Taken together, these belie the IMF-WBG’s pretensions of supporting people’s development.
Disastrous Structural Adjustment Programs of prior decades already made the United States-led IMF-WBG notorious for dictating shifts toward trade and investment liberalisation; deregulation, denationalisation and privatisation of economic sectors; and “financial integration” into global markets. The continuing trajectory of IFIs, primarily the IMF-WBG but also followed by the Asian Development Bank and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, makes people’s continuing disquiet and resistance unsurprising.
It is high time for fundamental changes in national and international economic and governance processes. The challenge for governments, if they really intend to actualise their rights obligations, is to reconsider their membership in the IMF-WB and other neoliberal IFIs, and reject the undue external influence of IFIs on economic policy. They must consider repealing laws driven by neoliberal norms, given recorded effects on people’s economic rights.
Meanwhile, IFIs such as the IMF-WBG must abandon discredited assumptions that put interests of big private sector and finance capital at the forefront. They must also be held accountable according to international law — current possibilities would be cessation of such IFI-dictated “reforms,” their non-repetition, and measures for reparations and remedy even for long-term, historical effects on rights.
People’s organisations remain the prime movers in resisting the implementation of such retrogressive economic measures. We enjoin civil society organisations (CSOs), people’s movements and campaigners around the world to continue solidarity for those actively resisting the dictates of IFIs, such as the peoples of Ecuador. Indigenous peoples and other progressive sectors have driven the government to verbally agree to the repealing of IMF measures, but remain vigilant while no real policy changes have taken effect. Their calls for the IMF to “get out” are not far removed from movements’ calls to “shut down” [iv] the IMF-WBG.
Movements and CSOs must continue holding governments accountable for acceding to neoliberal policy norms of US-led, and even China-led, IFIs. Such assertions of people’s sovereignty are the building blocks to transform elite-driven economies, governance and development processes at local, national and even international levels — towards people’s decisive roles in governance over the use of financial, productive and other non-financial resources, away from discredited neoliberal dogma and today’s monopoly capitalism. #
[i] UN General Assembly. 2019. “Report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights: Responsibility for complicity of international financial institutions in human rights violations in the context of retrogressive economic reforms.” A/74/178, July 16.
[iv]People’s Global Conference Against the IMF-World Bank. 2018.