Tuesday, April 17

More advice for Captain Wolfy: throw Robin Cleveland and Juan Daboub overboard

The Wolfy saga has fallen off the Google headlines but it is roaring along in Europe. My favorite Brussels Guy, Alex Wilks, has revived his blog on the World Bank and with a vengeance. Go to World Bank President for all the news and gossip about Paul Wolfowitz's embattled presidency of the World Bank.

Alex provides a list of issues related to the furor, which gives the reader an idea of the scope of resistance to Wolfy's Bank leadership; follow the links and you'll get an education on current battles inside the global development community.

Wolfowitz's anti-corruption drive is on the right track but he has made serious mistakes since he's taken the helm at the World Bank. That's made it easy for opponents of strong Bank action on government corruption to garner support for ousting Wolfy.

The most frightening mistake was not blocking the appointment of Juan José Daboub, a former member of the ruling conservative party in El Salvador, to the position of the Bank's managing director. On April 13 the Financial Times reported
An internal [World Bank] e-mail, dated March 8, headed "[Managing Director] clearance" and obtained by the FT, said the managing director had made a request "to take out all references to family planning" from a country assistance proposal for Madagascar. [...]

A separate draft proposal for a new worldwide health strategy due to be circulated at this weekend's bank meeting also places less emphasis on contraception than in the past, according to staff contacted by the FT.

Staff said the proposed changes were widely seen within the bank as a departure from long-standing strategy of promoting contraception to fight Aids in poor countries. The issue has revived internal discussion about pressure to alter policy on family planning to reflect religious teachings. [...]
The same article reported that Wolfowitz "ruled out any change to reproductive health policy" and said, "I want to make it clear personally, I think reproductive health is absolutely crucial."

A pity Wolfowitz didn't make the statement until earlier, and directly to Daboub. It is unthinkable that after all the work done by countless organizations to raise awareness about the importance of condoms in warding off AIDS that the World Bank would tie loans to "family health" measures that exclude strong emphasis on contraception.

Wolfy should lobby for demoting Daboub or find a way to keep Daboub's paws off family planning issues at the World Bank.

As to Wolfy's hatchet man, Robin Cleveland (nicknamed "Dragon Lady") with about half the senior positions at the Bank shaken up and the rest fearing for their jobs, it's time for Wolfy to make some friends among what's left of the Bank's mandarins and pack off Ms Cleveland to GOP headquarters.

No comments: