Turning away from the World Bank
Press Statement from The IGNIS Foundation
The new centre-left coalition that won last month's Norwegian parliamentary elections, installed its new government on 17 October, and stated that it wants to turn its resources increasingly towards the UN and away from the World Bank. The new minister for development, Mr. Erik Solheim, from the Social Left Party (SV) has been a key figure in Norwegian peace negotiations in Sri Lanka. The signal away from the former close partnership between Norway and the Bank and its Washington Consensus policies, has support from the other two government parties, the Centre Party and the larger Labour. For the first time in more than 20 years a Norwegian government is backed by a majority of parliamentary seats.
"This declaration along with the parliamentary constellation, is promising, and in line with the parties' programmes," says John Jones (IGNIS) who is a member of the international steering committee for SAPRIN, who recently disclosed the anti-poor effects of the Bank's structural adjustment policies. The government strategy paper also signalled that conditions pushing privatization and liberalization will be unacceptable, and expressed support for Tobin-like tax revenues for development.
Says Jones: "The statement must be seen as a part of the new government anti-poverty policy, and comes after a period of increasing Bank-critical sentiments in Norway, and is unpresedented in the history of Norwegian foreign relations. Reactions are anticipated, but there seems to be no turning back."
The IGNIS Foundation
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