Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Leaked document: 74% staffers say there is no openness and trust in World Bank

By Our Representative
Nearly 74 per cent of employees the powerful international bankers controlled by the developed world, World Bank, think they do not agree with the view that the bank leadership "creates a culture of openness and trust". Another 59 per cent believe they are not confident that they could report "unethical conduct without fear of reprisal."
Revealing this, the International Consortium of Investigating Journalists (ICIJ) has said in a report, based on a leaked World Bank document, that the staff members of the top bank live an atmosphere of "fear and retaliation." The World Bank has a total of around 12,000 employees.
"Just 26 percent of employees who responded to the survey’s specific questions said they agree that bank leadership 'creates a culture of openness and trust'. Only 41 percent said they were confident they could report unethical conduct without fear of reprisal", the ICIJ report, prepared by Sasha Chavkin and Michael Hudson, says, even as releasing the 139-page World Bank confidential document for public perusal.
"Many World Bank Group employees complain the bank’s managers are shutting down internal debate and ruling by fear", says ICIJ, quoting from the confidential document, even as quoting employees' responses.
"The World Bank has evolved into a place of fear and retaliation,” one employee said, while another complained, “Intellectual debate is no longer welcome. Management is inept and there is no captain in this ship. Senior management does not know its own organization… only fear, fear, fear.”
The 163-page compilation of open-ended comments was submitted last year as part of an in-house bank survey. “Managers have a lot of power and use it for retaliation,” another employee wrote.
"Employee surveys that invite staffers to submit anonymous responses often reflect some dissatisfaction, especially in an institution with the size and reach of the World Bank Group, a global financier that backs dams, roads and hundreds of other development projects each year", ICIJ points out.
"But the harshly critical responses to the survey completed by about 12,000 employees – 79 percent of the bank’s workforce – appear to go well beyond typical gripes about pay and fairness. The survey shows a startling lack of support among the bank’s employees for senior management – and reflects deep worries about a culture that many characterize as toxic", it comments.
The ICIJ created a flutter recently by identifying several World Bank-funded projects which have adversely affected livelihood and environment of the local people, contrary to the top bank's claim that it "ensures" minimal adverse impact of the projects funded by it. In India, it singled out the Tatas' 4000 MW ultra mega power plant for this. The portion on India was published in The Huffington Post, a well-known online news portal.
Referring to this, the ICIJ report says, "The World Bank has come under fire from outsiders in recent months. ICIJ, Huffington Post and other media partners have documented the bank’s failure to protect people in the path of development projects. Human rights groups have criticized the bank for pushing to weaken 'social and environmental safeguards' designed to protect vulnerable populations".

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