We established this site to open up the process for selecting a new person to run the world’s most powerful development institution. We covered the post-Wolfensohn selection process from beginning to end, and we’ve refreshed this site’s look and functionality to enhance our ability to track, comment on and – hopefully – influence who comes after Wolfowitz and what they say and do.
If enough of us make an effort on this blog, other blogs, and in campaign organisations, foreign ministries, newspapers etc across the world, it must be possible to shift the archaic process for choosing World Bank presidents. Tapping American politicians or business-people on the shoulder and shoving them into the Bank is clearly not sufficient to get the best person at the top of a multilateral body. And getting your position on the basis of patronage rather than competition leaves you open to attack later on when the going gets tough.
That certainly proved to be the case with Paul Wolfowitz. In March and April 2005, we helped kick up a huge fuss with letters, petitions, articles summarising Mr W’s track record and why he’d be wrong for the Bank. We feel viudicated: in just two years Wolfowitz managed to alienate so many people within and around the World Bank that he paved the way for his own downfall much sooner than we’d expected. It’s hard to say what part this site played in keeping the Riza story alive, drawing journalists’ and officials’ attention to the multiple other allegations against Wolfowitz and his coterie of senior advisers and managers. Or in casting doubts on parts of the Wolfowitz defence, including some dubious documents. But certainly many journalists have used the site to track what is going on. Others have interviewed site authors (e.g. Nova TV, FT), or even written about us as a story in ourselves (e.g. Business Week, Reuters).
We look forward to more journalist contacts as this story unfolds. The key questions for us are:
– Will another government dare to nominate a candidate for consideration by the Bank’s board?
– What will the candidate or candidates say on the record about their plans for the Bank, on policies, on projects, and on cleaning up the Bank’s internal governance?
– How quickly will Bank staff and board settle down under the new boss?
– Will the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ which has governed World Bank leadership selection for over 60 years be declared dead, following the very ungentlemanly public squabbles of recent weeks?
We pledge to bring you our best and quickest coverage of these questions as the story unfolds. Our seven bloggers, in Belgium, the U.K., Kenya, Tunisia, the USA, and Canada are well-placed to obtain and filter intelligence on what is going on, and to comment on the tit-bits that emerge. We will of course open the opportunity for readers to give their own intelligent comments on selected posts. Please also tag posts that you like (many options available now that we’ve switched to WordPress), use the RSS feeds to feature content on your websites or in your news-readers. And send us tip-offs or any news we’ve missed. We rely a lot on these readers contributions.
Thanks to Abi at Riverpath for her great design work. We have given more prominence to articles covering the current phase, archiving the 750 posts from the 2005 Wolfensohn exit/Wolfowitz entrance phase and the April-May 2007 Wolfowitz scandal and exit announcement.