Every year, governing bodies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank gather to take historical decisions (or just to try to), often in Washington, less often somewhere else, now it’s in Peru.
This means that financial ministers and central bankers from all over the world are here, with a good number of staff, IMF and WB officials and a bunch of other important people…. and lots of press, of course!
Civil society is here too and, yes, that means I’m here as well, to participate, observe and comment.
Being here, for some of us, is already something: great opportunity to listen to experts, to network, to discover sometimes that we are not less expert than official experts.
Nonetheless, after some years of attending the big kermesse, you start to see how things could simply go better.
I am not complaining! Lima is the navel of the world today and I’m sincerely grateful and glad to be here. Besides, the role of civil society increased over the last ten years and now it seems just normal that we can meet Madame Lagarde and Mr Kim in a dedicated session and ask questions, even if sometimes the tough ones don’t receive an answer.
Or that we have our own spaces and propose our own panels and discussions
But still, we ask – year after year – that our panels and activities are open to press and officials and national delegates, which in principle is such a simple thing to do. it would be easy to make our program of seminars circulate together with the official programs for everyone who is interested and I just wonder why this doesn’t happen.
Our candid demand for visibility still remains unanswered.
What are civil society seminars about? Fair taxation, Impartial procedures for sovereign debt restructuring, transparency, participatory tools, indigenous rights, green economy and so on and so on. Panels often host highly qualified experts and offer a comfortable venue for an open discussion.
Journalists are just a few rooms away, too busy covering official press conferences and delegates walk from a meeting to another -the G20, the G24, the Caribbean, the EU ministers and so on and so on – and some look lost in this babel of interests and activities.
So, mostly, we “civil society people” ( recognizable by our pink badge) just speak among us, easily agreeing on better procedures, better governance, better financial tools, great proposals that unfortunately nobody listen too.
A great democratic exercise that mostly get wasted, a lost opportunity for real dialogue, for many and for the institutions as a whole.
But we keep on asking visibility and offering great content, for free.