Washington D.C: Ambassador Robert Zoellick ‘s confirmation today as the new president of the World Bank is a vital opportunity for a new deal at the Bank, following the controversial exit of its previous president, said international agency Oxfam today.
“Zoellick must begin a series of reforms in his first 100 days to create a new deal between the Bank and the world’s poor. We can’t continue with business as usual,” said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.
This would include changing the goals of the Bank, stopping inappropriate strings to Bank lending, reforming the governance structures, and overhauling the Bank’s research work.
“For too long the Bank has paid lip service to the Millennium Development Goals but has never genuinely put them at the heart of its work. World Bank success should be measured by what contribution it has made to helping countries achieve the MDGs – not by the amount lent, or whether or not they’ve implemented certain blueprint policies,’ said Barbara Stocking, executive director of Oxfam Great Britain.
Oxfam says Zoellick should also ensure the Bank plays a role in addressing the effects of climate change in developing countries. It must make it clear that finance to help poor countries adapt to climate impacts is additional to existing aid commitments.
‘He should give clear support for a transformation of the institution’s governance, guaranteeing his successor is chosen in an open, transparent manner,” said Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.
One of the first litmus tests of the Zoellick presidency, Oxfam says, is the on-going IDA replenishment process. Oxfam is calling for full replenishment of the Bank’s coffers, while pointing out that tax payers still need convincing that the World Bank is the right place to put the money.
“We know that tax payers in donor countries want to be sure that the money is being spent to fight poverty in the most effective way, so the Bank will need to commit to changing the way it operates to be more accountable and transparent if the public is to be convinced of this,” said Hobbs.