The World Bank and IMF formally instituted standard conditions on lending in the mid-1980s when they began using Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Structural adjustment is the name given to a set of "free market" structural macroeconomic policy changes to be made by country governments to essentially increase government revenues and decrease expenditures. The set of conditions soon became known as the “Washington Consensus” -  ten key macroeconomic policy conditions that policymakers at the Washington-based International Financial Institutions (IFIs) seemed to agree were necessary to put recipient countries back on the right track. Replaced in 1999 by "state-owned" Poverty Reducation Strategy Papers, these policies are imposed on countries by the World Bank and IMF as a condition for receiving financial assistance or debt relief. While the Bank and IMF have made efforts over the past decade to streamline conditions, to this day, conditionality still remains the object of strong criticism for its ideological bias, its impacts on economies, people and the environment, and the extent to which it has undermined democratic ownership of development policies by countries.

We work to:

  • monitor and expose conditionalities imposed on countries through debt relief and cancellation, and through the IMF and World Bank's structural adjustment facilities;
  • educate Canadians about the impacts of conditionality;
  • put an end to all conditions in favour of a borrower-lender relationship based on mutually agreed arrangements that help to guarantee respect for shared obligations under international human rights law and probity in public financial management.

General Resources