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International Organizations & Activism

This guide is intended as a source for students and researchers interested in the economic, environmental, and human rights issues surrounding international financial institutions (IFIs). It includes links to international financial organizations, as well as activist groups and a select bibliography.

International Financial Institutions | Activist Organizations | Select Bibliography

International Financial Insitutions (IFIs).

The best known international financial institutions (IFI's) are the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. In addition here are numerous other regional development banks and financial institutions.

African Development Bank. Regional developmentinstitution engaged in mobilising resources towards the economic and social progress of its member countries.

Asian Development Bank. Multilateral development institution focused on economic development in the Asian region.

Bank for International Settlements. International organization devoted to policy analysis and cooperation among central banks and international financial institutions.

Caribbean Development Bank. Regional financial and economic development institution for the Caribbean. Includes Caribbean and selected industrial nations.

Central Banks Web. Comprehensive listing of Central Banks, from the Bank for International Settlements

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Development bank founded in 1991 to provide project financing for Easterm Europe and Cental Asia.

European Central Bank. Central Bank for the currency of the European Union (the euro).

InterAmerican Development Bank. Regional development bank focusing on economic development and technical cooperation projects for Latin America.

International Monetary Fund. One of the original IFIs or Bretton Woods Institutions, the IMF's primary mandate is to foster global monetary cooperation and to secure international financial stability.

World Bank Group. The other of the original Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Bank is an association of five institutions with a mandate for fighting poverty and improving living standards worldwide. The institutions include:

World Trade Organization
. International organization dealing with trade between nations. See also the WTO section on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.


Activist Organizations

The following activist organizations are involved with the activities of international organizations, in particular international financial institutions. Some sites feature online publications, press releases, blogs, and other reports.

50 Years is Enough. Coalition of grassroots organizations dedicated to the transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

ActionAid USA. Advocates reforms in the areas of poverty reduction, trade, education, agriculture, and expenditure of IMF and World Bank funds.

AfricaAction. Oldest organization in the U.S. working on African affairs. Includes position papers on the World & IMF as well as the UN involvement in Darfur.

Alliance for a Corporate Free UN. International coalition exposing the human rights and environmental records of companies partnering with the UN. Part of Corpwatch, which opposes the UN Global Compact in which the UN has partnered with businesses to support environmental and social principles.

Alliance for Responsible Trade. Network of labor, family-farm, women's, environmental, development and research organizations promoting equitable and sustainable trade and development.

Bank Information Center. Partners with civil society to influence the World Bank and other international financial institutions (IFIs) to promote social and economic justice and ecological sustainability.

Bretton Woods Project. Works to scrutinise and influence the World Bank and IMF. Through briefings, reports and a bimonthly digest it monitors the projects, policy reforms and the overall management of the Bretton Woods institutions, with special emphasis on environmental and social concerns.

Centers of Concern. Faith-based Organization dedicated to "exploring global issues from an ethical perspective based on Catholic Social Teaching." Includes a section on Rethinking Bretton Woods and a publications section.

Citizen's Network of Essential Services. Works to democratize international institutions like the World Bank, IMF and WTO who are engaged in influencing policy about basic services such as water, power, education, and health care.

Development Gap. Organizaiton seeking to close wide gap between Third World realities and the perception of Northern policymakers. Focuses primarily on the Worldbank/IMF structural adjustment/poverty reduction strategy debate.

FoodandWaterWatch. Includes a World Bank Watch link and other information on privatization of water services and international trade in food.

Friends of the Earth International. World's largest grassroots environmental network, with 5,000 activist groups on every continent. Includes the publication bank notes which focuses on international banks and export credit agencies.

The GATS and Libraries. Information about the likely impact on libraries of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the WTO.

GATSwatch. Provides links to organizations and documents critical of the General Agreement in Trade in Services (GATS), the WTO agreement on liberalization of trade in services. Clever and amusing spoof site from the makers of the film "The Yes Men"; this is NOT the official GATT/WTO site.

GenderAction. Organization dedicated to promoting gender equality and women’s rights in International Financial Institution (IFIs), e.g. the World Bank.

Global Trade Watch. Promotes government and corporate accountability in the globalization and trade arena, with a focus on the WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.

Halifax Iniative. Goal to fundamentally transform the international financial system and its institutions, namely the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and export credit agencies.

JubileeUSA. Group of religious denominations, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the cancellation of debt in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

International Accountability Project. Public interes organization offering legal support to people seeking to hold international financial institutions (IFIs) accountable for violations of environmental and human rights law.

International Forum on Globalization. Alliance of activists, scholars, economists, researchers and writers formed to stimulate new thinking, activity, and public education in response to economic globalization.

New Rules for Global Finance. Coalition of development, human rights, labor, environmental, and religious organizations and scholars dedicated to the reform of the global financial architecture.

Odious Debts. Site dedicated to challenging the legitimacy of third world debt. Very rich site; browseable by country.

Probe International. Canadian based group exposes the environmental, social, and economic effects of Canada's aid and trade abroad.

Religious Working Group on the IMF & World Bank. Coalition of faith-based organizations opposed to IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs.

South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People. Civil-society network designed to bring together organizations of civil society, governments, and the World Bank in a review of structural adjustment programs (SAPs).

Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Information Networ (SAPRIN). Civil society group working with the World Bank to review structural adjustment programs.

Third World Network. Non-profit international network of organizations involved in issues relating to development, the Third World and North-South issues.

World Development Movement. UK based NGO focusing on world poverty; site includes publications on a wide range of development topics - climate change, debt relief, World Bank & IMF reform, etc.

World Social Forum. "Open meeting place" created to discuss strategies of resistance to the model for globalisation formulated by large multinational corporations, national governments, IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.

Select Bibliography

The following is a select bibliography of books that address international institutions in the context of globalization. The UC Berkeley libraries have many similar titles. Use the Pathfinder or Melvyl catalogs to do subject searches on topics like "globalization economic aspects" or by the name of the institution.

Adams, Patricia. (1991). Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption and the Third World's Environmental Legacy. London, Earthscan.

Cavanagh, John, and Mander, Jerry (eds.). (2004). Alternatives to Economic Globalization : A Better World Is Possible. San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler.

Bandow, Doug, and Ian Vasquez (eds.). (1994). Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing World. Washington, DC: Cato Institute.

Ariel Buira (ed.) (2003). Challenges to the World Bank and IMF: Developing Country Perspectives. London: Anthem Press.

Cavanaugh, John, Daphne Wysham and Marcos Arruda (eds.). (1994). Beyond Bretton Woods: Alternatives to the Global Economic Order. London: Pluto Press.

Coh, Theodore. (2002). Governing Global Trade: International Institutions in Conflict and Convergence. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Danaher, Kevin (ed.) (1994). Fifty Years Is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Boston: South End Press.

Darrow, Mac. (2003). Between Light and Shadow: The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and International Human Rights Law. Portland, Ore.: Hart Publishing.

De Gregorio, Jose, Barry Eichengreen, Takatoshi Ito and Charles Wyplosz. (1999). An Independent and Accountable IMF. Geneva and London: International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies and Centre for Economic Policy Research.

Isaak, Robert A. (2005). The Globalization Gap: How the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Left Further Behind. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

James, Harold. (1996). International Monetary Cooperation Since Bretton Woods. Washington, DC and New York: International Monetary Fund and Oxford University Press.

Le Prestre, Philippe. (1989). The World Bank and the Environmental Challenge. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses.

McLellan, Elisabeth P. (2002). The International Monetary Fund: Overview, Issues and Bibliography. Happague, NY: Nova Publishers.

Mikesell, Raymond F. (1994). The Bretton Woods Debates: A Memoir. Essay in International Finance No. 192. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University.

Peet, Richard, Born, Beate, et al.(2003). Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank, and WTO. New York: Zed Books.

Pettifor, Ann (ed.). (2003). Real World Economic Outlook: The Legacy of Globalization: Debt and Deflation. New York : Palgrave Macmillan.

Pincus, Jonathon and Winters, Jeffrey A. 2002. Reinventing the World Bank. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Stiglitz, Joseph. (2002). Globalization and its Discontents. New York : W.W. Norton.

Stiglitz, Joseph. (2004). The Development Round of Trade Negotiations in the Aftermath of Cancun. London : Commonwealth Secretariat.

Vines, David and Christopher Gilbert. (2004). The IMF and its Critics: Reform of the Global Financial Architecture. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press.