IMF and World Bank meetings spark global protests for debt cancellation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are two of the biggest development banks in the world. Their lending policies have profound impacts on millions of people in lower income countries – driving the climate crisis and keeping countries trapped in debt. Last week they met in Washington for their annual Spring Meetings.  

Both these huge institutions play an important role in shaping what solutions are being offered to lower income countries in crisis. But right now, their policies are forcing countries further into debt – 90% of the climate finance that development banks provide to climate vulnerable countries is still in the form of loans, not grants.  This is forcing lower income to pay for the devastation caused by a climate crisis that is not of their making.  

These two western dominated development banks are also attaching climate wrecking conditions to loans. Just this month a new report outlined how the IMF is pushing Argentina into fracking to repay debt. There has been fierce resistance from local and indigenous communities who are already experiencing the environmental and human harms of these projects.  

That’s why last week thousands of activists around the world took action to resist their damaging policies. In Washington we joined with protesters from around the world to demand they #FixTheFinance and cancel debt for climate justice – watch our video below!


A dizzying array of protests took place outside the meetings in Washington, and around the world. Here are some images from just a few of them…

And we know our campaigning is having an impact. Last week the chief economist at the World Bank admitted that the G20 process for debt cancellation (The Common Framework) has so far spectacularly failed to help lower income countries. 

“The common framework is not working […] there hasn’t been a single dollar of debt relief from the common framework.” 

Indermit Gill, chief economist at the World Bank

We need to keep the pressure up and keep demanding debt cancellation so lower income country governments aren’t forced to cut their budgets for healthcare, education and fighting the climate crisis.  

You can stand in solidarity with campaigners around the world by adding your name to our campaign for a new debt justice law. Will you join us? 

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