Eye on the World Bank and the IMF


New Canadian law requires human rights component in foreign aid

What does this mean for Canadian funds that go to the World Bank, which has no comprehensive human rights policy?

10% of Canadian foreign aid goes to the World Bank. T e Department of Finance is responsible for these funds, so from December 5 to 31, 2008, it invited input on whether the funding meets the three conditions.

The Official Development Assistance Accountability Act came into force in June, 2008, requiring that aid

1) contributes to poverty reduction;

2) takes into account the perspectives of the poor;

3) is consistent with international human rights standards.

The Social Justice Committee communicated to the Department of Finance the concern that it is impossible to gauge the extent to which World Bank projects that Canadian ODA supports are consistent with international human rights standards, taking into consideration:

1. The World Bank’s past and ongoing funding of projects around which human rights violations occur;

2. The World Bank’s continued unwillingness to incorporate human rights into its official policy to the acceptable international standards;

3. The Department of Finance’s incapacity to assess whether Bank projects eff ectively satisfy human rights criteria under the new Act.

The SJC made two recommendations about how the Department of Finance might try to ensure

that World Bank programs which are supported by ODA take human rights into account:

1. Seek World Bank reform, such that it formally and demonstratively adheres to international human rights standards.

2. Develop a departmental policy and capacity for assessing the human rights implications of World Bank projects and reporting the extent to which the World Bank promotes international human rights standards.

New Canadian law requires human rights component in foreign aid What does this mean for Canadian funds that go to the World Bank, which has no comprehensive human rights policy?

Canada is the seventh largest shareholder at the World Bank, having contributed a total of US$5.5 billion in capital subscriptions and US$6.4 billion in contributions. Payments in 2008 to the International Development Association, the World Bank agency that provides loans and grants to low-income countries, included $318 million in January and $34 million in February.  Canada commited to paying $384 million in April 2009.

Source : – “Canada at the IMF and World Bank 2008,” Dept of Finance.

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