Can Activists Change the Ways of the World Bank and IMF?

IMF World Bank

All this week during the annual fall meeting of the IMF and World Bank, climate activists have been attempting to stop “business as usual” at the two institutions.

On Thursday, activists demonstrated in a “Drown them out!” across the street from the World Bank headquarters while a press conference was being held by the G-20 finance ministers to announce their decisions including how they will deal with climate change. The action called for making loud noise to symbolically silence the monetary funds voices. As with all protests this week, the event managed to attract attention with many attendees stopping to take photos and selfies when passing by as they hurried to their meetings.

Code Pink today along with For People For Planet (FPFP) organized a “Big Shift Global March” and rally by calling on the IMF and World Bank to stop funding fossil fuel projects. The FPFP have listed their demands for the institutions to invoke debit cancellation, climate and colonial reparations and to end destruction of people and planet.

During a morning plenary session and breakfast at the DAR Constitution Hall, IMF and World Bank delegates had to maneuver around activists who blockaded the streets and sidewalks to gain access to the building. Demonstrators called for a “New world, where we decarbonize and decolonize our global economy and create a new system that works for people and for our planet.” Summing up the international financial groups’ decisions by referring to them as “economic imperialism,” those present placed the blame for the current climate crisis on the continuing failed system the delegates and their leaders insist upon enforcing in an unrealistic and reckless manner putting the world at peril.

While at the building, activists began painting Climate Change in the street as police stood by. There was more action on the opposite side of the building where a group of demonstrators heckled and blocked the sidewalk as delegates made their way to the plenary session. A heavy police presence helped in keeping access for delegates open by removing those determined to interrupt the meeting.

Later a large group of Tigrayans demonstrated at both the IMF and the World bank entrances calling for defunding the Ethiopian government in its ongoing genocide in Tigray province. The group respectfully called upon delegates entering the buildings to inform them of the genocide and asking for their help in not funding Abiy Ahmed’s government.

At noon climate activists returned to a park across from the World Bank building where a bed symbolizing the World Bank in bed with Big Oil was on display. A sign above the bed called for the bank to break up with Big Oil in a humorous gesture to end special treatment for the corporations and to take up the cause of reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

While the end of this year’s meeting draws to a close, it remains yet to be seen what and how many reforms will take place regarding funding from the institutions and to what degree the calls for reform were heard and implemented.

Report and photos by Phil Pasquini

© 2022 nuzeink all rights reserved worldwide

(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.)

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

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