Monthly Issue Update - April 30, 2005

Halifax Initiative Analysis of Finance Canada Report to Parliament on Bretton Woods institutions
On the eve of the annual spring meetings of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, the Halifax Initiative Coalition (HI) released a new report critical of how the federal government publicly reports to Canadians about its relations with the WB and IMF. The federal government is required, by an act of Parliament, to report to Parliament on the operations of the Bretton Woods institutions (BWI) annually. The government report for 2004 was released on March 22, 2005.

Monthly Issue Update - March 31, 2005

Wolfowitz Nomination - Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
On March 31, the World Bank's Board unanimously appointed Paul Wolfowitz as the next President of the Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz is the US Deputy Secretary of Defense, and is often cited as the key architect and advocate behind the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Citing his role as Ambassador to the US Embassy in Indonesia, the State Department, and the Pentagon, US President George Bush said Wolfowitz would bring experience to the position of President both as a "skilled diplomat" and experienced manager.

Monthly Issue Update - February 2005

2005 Federal Budget
On February 23 Finance Minister Ralph Goodale released the government's Federal Budget. The budget contained several pieces of information relating to the International Financial Institutions and international development assistance. In general, the budget locked in the government's commitment from the 2002 UN Conference on Financing for Development to increase Canada's aid budget by 8% per year up to 2010. The budget confirmed a number of initiatives that were announced in advance of the budget release relating to the IFIs, including a 40% increase in Canada's contribution to the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and a multilateral debt-servicing package.

Monthly Issue Update - January 2005

Chirac Proposes International Taxes to Fight Poverty
French President Jacques Chirac, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called on all developed countries to substantially increase aid budgets to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Taxes designed to skim some of the wealth generated by globalization include levies on crossborder financial transactions, taxing aviation and shipping fuel, environmental taxes and air travel charges.

Monthly Issue Update - December 2004

International Finance Corporation Review
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank, is in the process of revising its social, environmental, and disclosure policies. These policies are currently the de facto international standards for export credit agencies, the Equator Principle banks, and the IFC - touching upon nearly three quarters of all international public and private project finance. The new Performance Standards are better integrated than the IFC's predecessor, the safeguards, but groups have individually challenged them on a number of fronts.