WASHINGTON -- March 17 -- ActionAid International USA, the American office of a nonprofit operating in nearly 50 countries, says the recent US nominations of Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank President, and John Bolton as American Ambassador to the UN forms the wrong kind of dream team.
Says executive director, Atila Roque, "these nominations form a dream team for those who wish to shape UN and World Bank policy at the expense of the poor. They ignore international trends and debates both on the governmental and civic levels towards the reclaiming of the post-war ideals of a world of peace and social justice based on international cooperation and solidarity."
In addition, says policy analyist, Rick Rowden, "As much as we are disappointed in the particular posting of Mr. Wolfowitz, ActionAid is also deeply troubled by the undemocratic process by which the World Bank president was selected behind closed doors by the United States."
Adds Roque, "My concerns go beyond the absolute lack of political and technical capacity of Paul Wolfowitz to handle the huge challenges facing the World Bank. I am really worried about the clear indication that the Bush administration will move its conservative agenda even further within the multilateral system."
Steve Tibbett, head of ActionAid's UK policy and campaigns, said: "In a year when we are trying to unite the world to make poverty history, the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz is a step backwards for the world's poor. As well as lacking any relevant experience, he is a deeply divisive figure who is unlikely to move the World Bank in a positive direction."
According to Rowden, "Beyond the leadership selection process, this nomination raises even broader questions about the undemocratic governance structure of the World Bank and its sister-institution, the International Monetary Fund. Top-down, unaccountable and nontransparent international organizations may have been acceptable in the 1940s when these institutions were founded, but today we must ask ourselves if such structures are still appropriate for global foreign aid institutions in the 21st century. We think they are not. The real question citizens of all countries must now ask is: Can the World Bank and IMF be reformed enough to bring them into compliance with contemporary standards of transparency and democratic accountability? If they can not be so reformed, then what other kinds of global democratic organizations can we envision for the 21st century?"
ActionAid International is a nonprofit bringing relief to 13 million people in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean every year. Working hand in hand with 2,000 civil society partners, 90 percent of ActionAid's employees herald from developing countries.