The UK, the World Banks largest donor country,
yesterday threatened to boycott the banks appeal for
extra capital unless its management reforms the way it
Douglas Alexander, the UK Development Secretary, said in
Istanbul yesterday that he wants to strike a broad
deal at the Spring 2010 meetings that linked extra
resources with improved representation for poor countries at
His comments echo the warning from senior US politician
Barney Frank who has threatened to withhold funding from the
Speaking on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings, Alexander
said he wanted to close the gap between the
banks commitments to provide money and its actual
We have an open mind on the resource requirements of
the bank, and the need to be sure that new resources would be
matched by fundamental reform, he said. These will
be the discussions I will be having with [bank president] Bob
Zoellick to try to establish common ground.
Alexander said that there were still issues around
conditions that the bank attached to its programmes, and
contrasted these with the speed and absence of conditions
attached to IMF programmes. If you look at the success
that the IMF has enjoyed in getting money out of the door
recently, then there are opportunities for a better
understanding, he said.
Earlier this week Axel van Rustenburg, a World Bank vice
president, told Emerging Markets that the bank would
push for an ambitious new three-year round of
funding to help tackle problems in the worlds poorest
countries, and may even call for a short-term cash injection
Meanwhile Vinod Thomas, who is in charge of evaluating the
World Banks activities, said he had embarked on a
real time assessment of the institutions
Thomas, director general of the Independent Evaluation Group
(IEG), said its response to this crisis compared well with
previous events, but said the IEG was monitoring progress
The speed and volume of the World Bank group response
really is much bigger than ever, Thomas told Emerging
Markets, citing figures showing total commitments had
risen to $59 billion in the year to June from $38 billion the
He also said the bank has learned from mistakes made in
previous crises, of leaving social and anti-poverty programmes
towards the end of its anti-crisis interventions.
But he said he was concerned that the bank should include
considerations of climate change what he called the
third leg of the current crisis in the way it responded
to appeals for help from low- and medium-income countries.
The three are connected, he said. But the
third one is the most dangerous. It is seen as a long term but
if you have people on the ground they will tell that [climate
change] is something they have seen before.
Thomas said the IEG would publish a memorandum in December
outlining its conclusions on the banks activities over
the previous six months. It will follow this up with in-depth
reports by June 2011.
This is a prospective evaluation, he said.
You might have an idea of what results a programme should
produce and then look at what is actually going and put up,
red, yellow or green flags.