Press Release - Thursday, November 15, 2001

Movement criticizes irresponsibility of IMF and World Bank
Activists Issue 4 Demands & Rebuttal to World Bank’s Defense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                
November 15, 2001 - Thursday

Ottawa  – Activists issued four demands calling for the fundamental transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund today on the eve of their upcoming meeting and accompanying protests, in Ottawa. Also released was a rebuttal to the World Bank’s response to these demands. The list of demands was publicly announced in August in Washington in anticipation of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings scheduled originally for the end of September. Although the meetings were postponed, the World Bank posted a response to the demands on its website.
“The World Bank and the IMF have exacerbated inequities in the global economic system,” said Jamie Kneen, spokesperson for Global Democracy Ottawa, one of the groups organizing the non-violent protests. “Our four demands reflect calls made by civil society in countries which have spent years under IMF and World Bank programs.  But rather than engage seriously with the longtime complaints coming from borrowing countries, the World Bank and the IMF seek only to deflect or trivialize the widespread demands for systemic change in the global economy.”

The four demands, endorsed by over 200 groups from around the world are:
Cancel all impoverished country debt to the World Bank and the IMF, using the institutions own resources.
Open all World Bank and IMF meetings to the media and the public.
End all World Bank and IMF policies that hinder people's access to food, clean water, shelter, health care, education and right to organize. (Such structural adjustment policies include user fees, privatization and economic austerity programs).
Stop all World Bank support for socially and environmentally destructive projects such as oil, gas, and mining activities, and all support for projects such as dams that include forced relocation of people
Pamela Foster, Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative, commented on the need for the public to take seriously the critiques of the global lending institutions:  “People in rich countries like ours are looking harder now at the forces that institutionalize poverty and breed cynicism and resentment around the world.  After 20 years of failed economic austerity programs, the public in Canada and the other G-7 countries cannot afford to ignore the role of the IMF and World Bank in creating global instability.”
The IMF’s International Monetary & Financial Committee (the highest-level regularly-scheduled meeting of global economy decision-makers, dedicated to setting policy for the IMF) and the World Bank’s Development Committee (with a similar composition but a mandate to determine how best to encourage development) will take place this weekend.
Jamie Kneen, Global Democracy Ottawa – 613-265-8468
Marie Huot, CAZO (français) – 613-282-4340
Pamela Foster, Halifax Initiative – 613-266-8100
Soren Ambrose, 50 Years Is Enough Network – 202-285-5836
Steve Kretzmann, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network – 202-497-1033