Sunday, September 17, 2006



IPF vs the IMF / WorldBank
The International Peoples Forum starts officially on 15 September, at 8:30 am

The official IPF website:
The official venue: Asrama Hajji Center
JL Engku Putri Batam Centre
Proponsi Kepulauan Riav
Batam Island, Indonesia

Registration for the IPF opens on 14 September, from 10am to 7pm at the Arafah Building at Asrama Hajji Center. Registration is USD20 for all non Indonesian participants to help cover the costs for venue, meeting halls and other Forum expenses.

The International Peoples Forum officially starts on 15 September, at 8:30 am

Claiming Our Right to Know
Launch of the
Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions

International People’s Forum vs the IMF and the World Bank

8:30 am - 10:30 am, 17 September 2006

Batam Indonesia

The right to access information held by public bodies, including inter-governmental organisations like the IFIs, is a fundamental human right. It is grounded in the right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas” as guaranteed under international law. In the context of development, transparency can help reduce corruption; avoid damage to communities and sensitive ecosystems; and identify potential social, environmental and economic benefits in the implementation of IFI-led activities.

Yet, the IFIs remain highly secretive. Their systems treat disclosure as a limited set of procedural requirements, providing only the information they choose and keeping everything else confidential, with or without legitimate reason. Notwithstanding the number of documents available on their websites, the IFI boards of directors operate behind closed doors, information is generally available only after relevant decisions have been taken, and many IFIs do not report on how their investments help reduce poverty.

The Global Transparency Initiative, a network of organisations committed to greater openness at the IFIs, calls on the IFIs to fundamentally transform their disclosure practices. The GTI believes in a rights-based approach with a genuine presumption of disclosure, generous automatic disclosure rules, limited exceptions, and a right to appeal denials of access to an independent body.

The Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions – a set of principles outlining the openness standards for IFIs – will be launched in Batam, Indonesia and Singapore in September 2006.

Joining the launch in Batam and Sinagpore are right to information advocates who will share their thoughts and experiences on access to information from the IFIs:

Suchi Pande will speak on the importance of access to information in international institutions. Suchi is an activist of the right to information movement in India. She is a member of Parivartan and the Right to Water Campaign in New Delhi. Parivartan has effectively used the right to information law in India to empower ordinary citizens in their fight against corruption and for better delivery of public services. It has also used this law to bring to light World Bank interference in the bidding process for consultants for the water sector in Delhi.

Hemantha Withanage will discuss his experience accessing information from IFIs. Hemantha is the Executive Director of the Manila-based NGO Forum on the ADB - an Asian-led network of non-government and community-based organizations. Prior to joining the Forum, Hemantha was the Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Justice and the Convenor of the Sri Lankan Working group on Trade and IFIs. Hemantha has a background in biological science and has vast experience teaching and working at the government and non-government levels through South Asia.

Toby Mendel will present the International Transparency Charter for IFIs.
is Law Programme Director at Article 19, an international human rights organization which promotes freedom of expression and information globally. He has worked extensively on media and access to information issues around the world, advising governments and local NGOs, including on drafting laws, running training seminars, critiquing laws and taking cases to both national and international bodies. He has also published widely on these issues.

Jennifer Kalafut will present an Assessment of World Bank Openness. Jennifer
is a Senior Policy Associate at the Bank Information Center, a non-governmental organization that advocates for the protection of rights, transparency, and public accountability in the governance and operations of multilateral development banks and the IMF. Jennifer coordinates the transparency project at BIC and has spent several years living and working in Central and Eastern Europe on sustainable development issues.

Nepomuceno Malaluan to moderate. Nepo is Trustee at the Action for Economic Reforms and Co-Convenor of the Access to Information Network (ATIN) in the Philippines. ATIN is at the forefront of the right to information campaign in the Philippines, and is now also engaging the issue of access to information in international financial institutions.

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