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Multilateral Reform: Rethinking Humanitarianism Episode 6

As we close out a year in which the UN marked its 75th anniversary, we’re taking a hard look at whether reform of multilateral agencies has a chance. Two guests with extensive backgrounds in diplomacy and international service join co-hosts Heba Aly and Jeremy Konyndyk on this sixth episode of Rethinking Humanitarianism, the podcast series exploring the future of aid.

John Bolton Wants to Shut Down the World Bank

To say that John Bolton, President Trump’s latest pick for National Security advisor is a well-known UN critic would be an understatement. But it’s well worth noting that he has opinions about the IMF and the multilateral development banks too.

AIIB Has Another Opportunity to Establish Best MDB Practice

In advance of adopting a new Policy on Public Information, the AIIB is inviting suggestions on how it could best align public disclosure with its guiding principles of “promoting transparency, enhancing accountability and protecting confidentiality.” The adoption of the new policy provides AIIB President Jin Liqun and the AIIB shareholders an opportunity to demonstrate that this newest of multilateral development banks (MDBs) is serious about its commitment to adopting international best practices. I identified a number of actions that the AIIB could take to improve its disclosure practices. Here are my top three recommendations:

The Incredible Shrinking US Multilateralism

In 1944, the United States created a blueprint for economic statecraft that relied heavily on a new class of multilateral institutions to pursue US interests in the world. The blueprint itself is now under serious duress in the “America First” strategy of international engagement of the Trump administration. 

A New Agenda for the MDBs: Five Practical Reforms

Today, the Center for Global Development, the Brookings Institution, and the Overseas Development Institute released The New Global Agenda and the Future of the MDB System, a report we jointly prepared as input to the deliberations of the G20-convened Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance. We argue that current global economic challenges require a rethink of the role that multilateral development banks (MDBs) can play in developing countries. Here are the top five areas where MDB reform is needed to help meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:

Getting to Yes on a World Bank Recapitalization

World Bank President Jim Kim is hoping the bank’s 189 shareholders will agree to increase the current capital of the bank’s “hard” window sometime in 2018. But the US wants to link any support for a recapitalization to World Bank “graduating” China—and perhaps other member countries with good access to private capital markets who don’t seem to “need” the World Bank. There are sensible arguments on both sides of this divide.

AIIB, Tajikistan, and the Risks of Non-Concessional Lending

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB) second loan to Tajikistan in the space of a year raises questions about lending on “hard terms” to poor countries. In its eagerness to meet the investment needs of Asian countries, is the AIIB going to get burned by lending at non-concessional rates to poor countries? Or, if a country becomes unable to pay all its bills, will it treat the AIIB as a preferred creditor and prioritize debt service payments over the needs of the poor?

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