As governments meet to discuss additional funding for the World Bank, trade unions are calling for the institution to promote quality job creation, universal social protection, debt relief and the international labour standards.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the arm of the World Bank that provides loans and grants to low-income countries. It is normally replenished every three years, providing an opportunity to improve policies and operations.
Due to the increased needs of developing countries for COVID-19 response and recovery, the twentieth round of replenishment is happening early. The Bank is negotiating with donor and borrower governments on 23-24 June, with the aim of reaching a final agreement by December.
The ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, said : “IDA acts as an important form of public investment and can help bridge the fiscal stimulus gap facing low-income countries. This replenishment is described by the Bank as ‘a moment of international solidarity’. We call on governments and the Bank to make this a reality by reaching a replenishment agreement with the resources and policies to promote the international labour standards and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The ITUC calls for five IDA action items :
- Measure the quantity and quality of jobs created by loans ;
- Align the Jobs and Economic Transformation strategy with international labour standards and just transition ;
- Fully implement of the labour safeguard protecting loan project workers ;
- Provide debt relief for borrower countries ;
- Rapidly help countries achieve universal social protection including social protection floors.
“These are practical steps to support quality jobs and sustainable economic transformation, and to hold the World Bank accountable to those goals. Working people and developing countries have not received the support they need during the pandemic. The IDA should assist them through debt relief and universal social protection. Taken together, this means creating a roadmap to sustainable recovery,” said Sharan Burrow.