Wolfowitz resigns, but necessary change has only just begun
20 May 2007
Following the decision by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to step down on 30 June, Jubilee Debt Campaign is joining hundreds of other organisations worldwide in calling for radical changes in how the World Bank works, and how it selects its next leader.
We have written to UK Prime Minister Elect Gordon Brown asking him to commit to a transparent and merit-based process for choosing Wolfowitz's successor, and, along with 350 others, signed an Urgent Recommendation to the World Bank and IMF Executive Directors on Leadership Reform
. We are also calling for substantial changes to the way the World Bank works, in order to ensure that it properly reflects developing country priorities, rather than imposing the rich world's favoured policies, implemented by their favoured official as President.
The joint statement on leadership reform points to the structural causes of the credibility crisis that has toppled Paul Wolfowitz, arguing that his "problems at the World Bank stem in part from a widespread perception that he disproportionately represents U.S. interests rather than objectives that command a global consensus". This perception is fed by a number of factors: the convention whereby the US chooses the World Bank President, whilst Europe chooses the head of the International Monetary Fund; the lack of voice for developing countries in these institutions' governance structures; and the fact that both impose policy conditions on borrower nations, undermining democratic processes.
The statement goes on to call for an end to the "outdated convention" for choosing the World Bank head, and instead for "selection procedures that reflect two key principles: transparency of process, and competence of prospective leadership without regard to national origin."
We are urging the UK and other governments to commit publicly to an immediate end to the current selection procedures for choosing the World Bank and IMF leaders, and to work rapidly towards reform of these organisations.
Full list of signatories
>> Take action: Get the World Bank to stop attaching harmful conditions to debt cancellation