March 24, 2006
February 28, 2006
The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
Dear Minister Flaherty:
On behalf of the Halifax Initiative Coalition, I would like to congratulate you on your recent appointment as Minister of Finance. Over the past ten years, the Halifax Initiative has developed a good working relationship with the Department of Finance, and in the coming years we hope to strengthen this relationship.
Every month, the Halifax Initiative produces a two-page monthly update on various issues related to international finance. This month:
- IMF Board of Directors approve debt cancellation for 19 countries
- Guatemalans meet with World Bank President Wolfowitz about mining
- World Bank gets creative in accounting for its renewable energy investments
- New discussion papers
- Upcoming Meetings
- JUST THE FACTS - What are the IFC Safeguard Policies?
SELECTED ISSUES on INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Two delegates from Guatemala traveled to Washington D.C. to voice their concerns and demands regarding the Marlin mine directly to World Bank President Wolfowitz on December 9th. Glamis Gold, a US-based, Canadian registered mining company owns Marlin mine, which was built with the help of a World Bank loan. Mario Tema, an indigenous leader from Sipacapa, and Magali Rey Rosa, a representative of the Guatemalan environmental NGO, Colectivo Madre Selva formed the delegation. Mr. Tema presented Mr. Wolfowitz with a statement from numerous Sipakapense leaders, outlining their demands regarding operation of the Marlin mine. Mr. Tema also presented President Wolfowitz with a statement from the community of San Miguel Ixtahuacán. The delegate from San Miguel was unable to participate in the meeting as he was denied a US visa. Both Sipacapa and San Miguel are affected by the Marlin mine.
The World Bank revised its own figures upwards in regards to investments in renewables and energy efficiency (RE & EE), in time for the inter-governmental meetings on climate change in Montreal that ended early this month. The Bank’s latest report shows that 60 per cent of its support for renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE & EE) is in fact for big hydro projects.
The World Bank claims in a November 30 press release that it more than doubled its investment in RE & EE from fiscal year 2004 to FY 2005. The press release compares 2005 lending with its commitment to increase RE & EE support by an average of 20 per cent per year from 2005 to 2009. The Bank made this commitment at the June 2004 international conference on renewable energy held in Bonn, Germany.
The Bonn target excluded large hydro (greater than 10MW) and loans and guarantees from the Bank’s private sector and insurance arms (IFC and MIGA).
Friends of the Earth USA, Power Failure: How the World Bank is Failing to Adequately Finance Renewable Energy for Development: http://www.foe.org/camps/intl/institutions/renewableenergyreport10242005.pdf
New discussion papers (HI Members or Associates, government) on IFI issues:
Upcoming IFI-related conferences or meetings
World Social Forum, end of January 2006 in Bamako, Mali, Caracas, Venezuela and Karachi, Pakistan.
December 15, 2005
Stale Government Response to SCFAIT Mining and Human Rights Recommendations
"Balderdash!" summed up New Democratic Party MP Ed Broadbent's thoughts on the government's response to a set of recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) on the issue of Mining and Human Rights. Although the Government's response, released October 18th, acknowledged a need for action to address the often devastating impacts of the mining sector, it dismissed the majority of the Committee's recommendations. Citing a number of challenges that prevent more concrete action, the government focused on purely voluntary measures.
G8 Debt Proposal gains support at World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have advanced a plan for cancelling debts owed by 18 low-income countries, at their September 23-25, 2005 annual meetings. The plan, first proposed by the Group of 7 (G7) Finance Ministers last June and then ratified by G8 (G7 plus Russia) heads of government at their July Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, applies only to those countries that have graduated from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative (See Issue Updates July and August 2005, respectively, for more). It would cover 100 % of their debts owed to the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), the IMF and the African Development Bank's African Development Fund (AfDF).
World Bank, International Monetary Fund write off some debts
January 3, 2006
Mr. John Mihevc
Halifax Initiative Coalition
Suite 104, 153 Chapel Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H5
Dear Mr. Mihevc:
Thank you for your letter of September 12, 2005 regarding Canada's contributions to the global fight against poverty. I regret the delay of my reply.
The United Nations Millennium +5 Summit and the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) were extremely important opportunities to secure commitments to advance international efforts toward poverty alleviation. Canada was very active in the lead-up to these events and Canadian officials worked hard to ensure that there was no erosion of existing international commitments in the United Nations Summit Outcome document. In this, I believe, we were largely successful.
A leaked internal audit assessing the World Bank's involvement in a controversial Canadian gold mine in Guatemala has