Economic Policies for Social Justice

By Imene Cherif, FES MENA Program Manager.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Bretton Woods institutions. In line with the Spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, numerous CSOs utilized the gathering as a platform to deliberate on a range of issues concerning the global financial architecture and its repercussions on both people and the environment. These discussions are vital for amplifying the perspectives of CSOs, particularly those originating from the Global South, regarding the implications of debt and human rights. It is notable that there was a limited representation from the MENA region, despite the severe impact of IMF debt policies on these areas.

There was a consensus among CSOs, especially those from heavily indebted nations, on several critical matters. These included the elimination of IMF surcharges, the advocacy for fairer Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to create a fiscal space for climate finance, debt relief or cancellation, and significant reforms in the governance of IFIs, primarily focusing on quota reforms.

In addition to participating in the CSPF sessions, CSOs engaged in various side events and also took to the streets of Washington, D.C. They staged demonstrations calling for the World Bank to cease financing fossil fuel projects and urged the IMF to eliminate austerity measures from its conditions and to stop imposing surcharges on the most indebted countries.

This year's Spring meeting saw CSOs particularly highlighting the impact of IFIs on women and climate finance. CSOs from the Global South and beyond employed feminist and decolonial frameworks to analyze the policies of the World Bank and IMF, emphasizing a critical approach to understanding and reforming international financial systems.