IDB.50: Fifty years financing inequality Enough already!

IDB.50: Fifty years financing inequality Enough already!

For several

The fifty years of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), show the failure of the institution in the fulfillment of its objectives, as well as its consequences for the peoples and the environment of the region. The Fiftieth Annual Meeting of Governors of the -BID- to be held in the city of Medellín, Colombia, from March 27 to 31, 2009- is an occasion of celebration for the Bank, and of deep concern and rejection for a group of popular movements and social organizations throughout the region that will face said assembly in a series of alternate events.


At the end of the 1950s, the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean were preparing to initiate a cycle of reforms that would allow the region to advance along the path of development. Among the institutions that were created to carry out this task, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stood out, founded in 1959 by means of an agreement between the inter-American countries. The Constitutive Agreement (CC) of the IDB entered into force on December 30, 1959. The first article of said
The document indicates the purpose of the institution: "To contribute to accelerating the process of economic and social development, individual and collective, of the developing regional member countries."

After a 50-year history, a good part of the social and economic policies promoted and leveraged with IDB loans and conditionalities have shown their failure to achieve an “equitable and developed” Latin America. The poverty and inequality rates are alarming. According to the latest estimates available for Latin American countries, in 2007 34.1% of the region's population was in poverty. For its part, extreme poverty or indigence encompassed 12.6% of the population. Thus, the total number of people surviving in poverty reached 184 million people, of which 68 million were indigent. In addition, and if that were not enough, inequality in Latin America also presents very worrying indices, being the highest levels of inequality in the distribution of income in the world. The per capita income of the richest 10% is, in many countries, nearly 20 times that of the poorest 40%.

Additionally, we see a growing environmental deterioration, largely as a consequence of the development model that the IDB has promoted, based on the extraction of non-renewable resources in an intensive and polluting way, which undermines the rights of the populations where these activities take place. . An agricultural model is also promoted that favors monocultures,
land concentration, loss of soil, water grabbing and the disappearance of peasant economies. These and other projects are to a greater extent export-oriented and many of them supported by IDB loans, making this financial institution responsible for a gigantic social and ecological debt with the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
among which is the debt due to climate change.

On the other hand, the regional integration process that the IDB also recognizes as one of its objectives, continues unevenly. The integration that the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean want is not promoted by multilateral institutions such as the IDB, nor by most national governments. Always relying on infrastructure integration initiatives such as IIRSA, which will deepen the socio-environmental impacts of the towns where their development is planned, a modality of integration is favored in which openness to American and European financial and industrial capital is favored. and Japanese, as well as the strengthening of the region's enclaves, over and above a social, economic, financial and commercial integration emanating from the rights, needs and cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean, aimed at strengthening the peoples and the countries that promote it.

Debt processes with the IDB have multiplied based on the interests of the lenders and in some cases, it has been favored by situations of chronic fiscal deficit. This was especially evident in the mid-1990s. With the Eighth Replenishment of Resources, the IDB designed a lending strategy with an annual average of US $ 7,000 million, making
emphasis on projects that contribute to issues related to technological and productive transformations, the so-called (1) (2) modernization of the State and the strengthening of the private sector. Its objective was not exactly to reduce inequities in the region, but to move decisively forward in the process of privatization of basic human and social rights, such as education, health, and water, as well as to favor the expansion of private interests in the extraction and plundering of the wealth of the region.

We cannot ignore the complicity of the IDB, as well as of the other International Financial Institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund), in financing the military dictatorships that devastated our region in the 1970s and 1980s. Nor the role that it has played. fulfilled in relation to the development of corruption, already almost endemic in some countries, and the appropriation by many officials, politicians and military of the credits granted to governments.

The urgency of the fight against impunity with which the Bank operates in our countries, in the face of serious human rights violations and economic and environmental crimes, is a necessary conclusion of any assessment of these first 50 years. That is why a good part of the projects promoted by the IDB have been widely questioned for their consequences
social, political, economic, and environmental issues for the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the resulting debts rejected as illegitimate. These questions refer to the development model to which they respond, to the weakening of the social and environmental structure, to the deficient processes of comprehensive evaluation of the costs and benefits of the projects in which it participates, to the
ambiguous social and environmental safeguards, poor supervision and oversight of the different stages of projects, limited transparency in the provision of information and access to participation, among others.

The 50th anniversary of the IDB is an unbeatable occasion to broaden and deepen the initiatives that have been promoted for a long time in the region in light of the consequences of its management and the economic, social and environmental impact of its projects. The campaign that we have started aims to demonstrate the failure of the IDB during its 50 years of existence by financing a development model that widens inequalities, destroys nature, sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples.
Especially in the current situation, marked by the global economic, food, energy and climate crisis, largely a reflection of the policies promoted by the IDB and other multilateral financial institutions, it is urgent to avoid a new stage of illegitimate indebtedness in our region. We do not want or need in the region a bank that finances inequality, climate change, repressive policies and integration subordinated to a hegemonic model of development that, today more than ever, shows the world its failure.

For this reason, and with the objective of continuing to advance in the strengthening and articulation of resistance actions and construction of alternatives, we have organized a 3-day popular meeting, parallel to the 2009 Annual Meeting of Governors to join and follow up on the Multiple ways in which rejection of IDB policies has been expressed, throughout its 50 years.

The work will examine three thematic axes:

The financial crisis. For multilateral banks, the current financial crisis is an opportunity to increase the debt with our countries. A detailed analysis will allow us to take stock of the processes of economic liberalization, trade integration and privatization; on the illegitimacy of the debts claimed by the IDB; The Challenges of Sustainability. Despite the environmental safeguards adopted for its project cycle, the IDB still does not include the use of planning and land use planning tools, prior to making decisions on large infrastructure projects; the lack of a Master Plan that frames the actions taken to
face the consequences of climate change and the recognition of ecological debt; Human Rights, particularly Economic, Social, Cultural, Collective and
Environmental We will debate the ineffectiveness of participation mechanisms for civil society; on the effects of labor flexibility and the generation of informal employment; non-compliance with the right of indigenous peoples to request prior consultation that includes the right to veto over projects; on the high cost and poor quality of public services that have been privatized, which has generated movements of users (“disconnected”) because they cannot pay for them; on the lack of inclusion of gender issues; on the care and inclusion of the migrant population, not only measured by the amount of remittances that arrive and must be channeled, but also by the proposed solutions that organized migrants themselves bring to the table.

Activists, intellectuals, artists and related government officials will be part of this great demonstration, which aims to contribute to the articulation of a social platform in front of the IDB, and directly influence the actions of the institution, questioning the 50 years of financing of economic inequality, environmental and social deterioration that are evidenced in:

A development model focused on the extraction, expropriation and export of primary products and on the savage liberalization that increased inequality, injustice in terms of human rights and greater inequality between the region and the rest of the world.

The inequality of power between transnational business groups and affected populations and the imposition of plans, policies and projects promoted and financed by the IDB.

Inequality and non-satisfaction of essential economic, social and cultural rights for the Latin American population, including water.

Exclusion in decision-making, perpetuating inequality between classes, genders, ethnicities and races.

The absence of a master plan to face the causes of climate change and other environmental and social damages.

The failure of agrarian reform policies and projects to change the scheme of expropriation, displacement, and concentration of land.

Their populist discourses (Verbi gratia: “opportunities for the majority”), which have had no effect on the persistent exclusion and discrimination of important populations, including women, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, among others.

The existence of 20 million Latin Americans who no longer live in their places of origin, as they have been displaced, expelled, having to seek citizen security and well-being in other lands, many living as refugees or in conditions of greater poverty and insecurity, and with the aggravating factor of being frequently excluded from their deserved measure of political participation.

The permanent and systematic violation of Human Rights.

The facts are compelling. It is not possible to affirm that the founding objectives of the IDB have been fulfilled. It is essential to rethink the development that we want as peoples and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, which guarantees a healthy environment and good living for the peoples of the region. We hope to count on your support to achieve this politically inescapable goal.

For more information, contact us at: Website:
1. Continental Social Alliance (Americas)
2. Amazon Watch (United States)
3. Civil Labor Association (Peru)
4. Bank Information Center - BIC (United States)
5. Popular Bloc and Coordinator of Popular Resistance (Honduras)
8. Center for Human Rights and Environment - CEDHA (Argentina)
9. Latin American Center for Social Ecology - CLAES (Uruguay)
10. Collective of Afro-Colombian University Students - CEUNA (Colombia)
11. Collective Litigation and Research in Human Rights - LIDH (Ecuador)
12. Committee for the Cancellation of the Debt of Third World Countries - CADTM (Colombia)
13. Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador - CONAIE (Ecuador)
14. Consortium for Global Action Week
(REPEM Colombia, Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education, Long Live Citizenship) (Colombia)
15. Environmental Law and Management Corporation - ECOLEX (Ecuador)
16. Environment and Natural Resources Law - DAR
17. Dialogue 2000 (Argentina)
18. Food & Water Watch (United States)
19. Social and Popular Front (Paraguay)
20. Esperanza Foundation (Ecuador)
21. Pachamama Foundation (Ecuador)
22. Regional Foundation for Human Rights Advisory - INREDH (Ecuador)
23. Seeds Group (Colombia)
24. INESC - Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (Brazil)
25. Third World Institute - ITeM (Uruguay)
26. Latin American Institute of Alternative Legal Services - ILSA (Colombia)
27. Popular Training Institute - IPC (Colombia)
28. M´Biguá. Citizenship and Environmental Justice (Argentina)
29. National Alliance Latin American Caribbean Communities - NALACC (United States)
30. Friends of Terra Nucleus (Brazil)
31. Observatório Ambiental - ObA (Brazil)
32. Colombian Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development (Colombia)
33. Plateforme haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif - PAPDA (Haiti)
34. Productivity, Biosphere and Environment - PROBIOMA (Bolivia)
35. Colombian Network of Action against Free Trade - RECALCA (Colombia)
36. Popular Education Network among Women - REPEM (Latin America and the Caribbean)
37. Red Jubileo Sur (Mexico)
38. South Jubilee Network (Peru)
39. South Jubilee Network (Americas)
40. South Jubilee Network (Brazil)
41. Rede Brasil on Multilateral Financial Institutions (Brazil)
42. REVIDA - Inter-American Surveillance Network for the Defense and Right to Water (Bolivia)
43. Permanent seminar for lifelong education (Colombia)
44. Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants (Ecuador)
45. Friends of the Earth Survival (Paraguay)
46. ​​Ecologist Workshop (Argentina)
47. National Union of Bank Employees –UNEB- (Colombia)

1. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Social Panorama of Latin America, ECLAC-United Nations, Santiago de Chile, 2008, p. 5.
2. Idem.

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