who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Brookings Institution sign-on calls for leadership selection reform. Influential DC-based policy thinktank, the Brookings Institution, has called for the Americans and the Europeans to give up their stranglehold on the selection process for the heads of the World Bank and the IMF. Read the letter and send your support!

Leadership selection reform at the World Bank and the IMF

The leadership crisis at the World Bank is undermining not only the World Bank but potentially the International Monetary Fund. The world's nations -- not least the United States – have a vital interest in promoting the goals and sound management of these international institutions.

Paul Wolfowitz's problems at the World Bank stem in part from a widespread perception that he disproportionately represents U.S. interests rather than objectives that command a global consensus. The root cause of that perception is an informal convention, established in the 1940s, that the U.S. government designates the president of the World Bank while European governments designate the IMF's managing director.

In today's world, that outdated convention should be abandoned and replaced with selection procedures that reflect two key principles: transparency of process, and competence of prospective leadership without regard to national origin. With such selection procedures, the heads of the institutions would be seen as representing the international community as a whole, not a single country or region. If the outdated convention is not abandoned, the leadership crisis at the World Bank is unlikely to be fully resolved even if Paul Wolfowitz decides to resign.

We therefore call for timely adoption of reform of the selection procedures at both institutions. We recommend as an initial constructive step that European governments and the U.S. administration publicly state that the 1940s convention should be jettisoned and commit themselves now to reformed selection procedures whenever new leadership choices have to be made for either the World Bank or the IMF.

Please send signatures to Patrick Liddiard at pliddiard@brookings.edu by 3:00 PM today (DC time), or latest by 3:00 PM on Monday 14 May.

Jeff Powell ~ May 11, 2007

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