India demands much greater voice for developing nations in World Bank

October 14th, 2008 - 10:07 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 14 (IANS) India has demanded “substantial and effective enhancement” of the voice of developing and transition countries (DTCs) in the World Bank Group, saying a proposal approved by global financial leaders failed to live up to promises.The proposal approved at a meeting Sunday of a key panel of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Word Bank “on the important dimension of ‘Voice as voting power and shareholding’ has failed to live up to the promises made at the Spring Meeting of 2008,” Finance Minister P. Chidambaram stated Monday.

“While in the interest of consensus, we agreed to the proposals at the Development Committee yesterday, we believe that the efforts now to be made on realignment must lead to substantial and effective enhancement of the individual as well as collective voice of DTCs,” he said.

In the absence of Chidambaram, who has stayed back home to deal with the impact of the global meltdown on the Indian economy, his statement at the plenary session of the Fund Bank annual meeting was read out by Economic Affairs Secretary Ashok Chawla.

“The ongoing Voice and Participation reform process at the Bank is a great opportunity to make a far reaching reform of its governance structures so that it continues to play a vital developmental role in global economic affairs,” Chidambaram stated.

According to a communiqué issued Sunday, the proposal approved Sunday DTC voting shares in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) will increase, giving special emphasis to smaller members.

But further realignment of Bank shareholding would be taken up a review that “will consider the evolving weight of all members in the world economy and other Bank specific criteria consistent with the WBG’s development mandate, moving over time towards equitable voting power between developed and developing members.”

“The Board would develop proposals by the 2010 Spring Meeting and no later than the 2010 Annual Meetings, with a view to reaching consensus on realignment at the following meeting,” the communiqué added.

Turning to the issue of development and climate change, Chidambaram said, “Issues relating to finance and technology are fundamental to the success of any global strategy to address climate change.”

As at the Development Committee meeting Sunday, he again emphasised that developed countries must provide new and additional resources that do not detract from the Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“It is equally important to transfer clean, environment friendly technology to the developing countries at affordable prices,” he said.

The basis of international cooperation on climate change, Chidambaram said, lies in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) principle of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability”.

“There is no escape from the reality that emerging and developing countries will consume more commercial energy,” he said. But “India is committed to evolve and pursue a strategy of environmentally sustainable development.”

“We have formulated our National Action Plan on Climate Change and are committed to ensure that our per capita carbon emissions will never exceed the average of the per capita emissions of developed countries,” Chidambaram said.

The last summit of the UNFCCC at Bali in December 2007 estimated that developing countries would need $1.3 billion a year to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

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