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The Banks and Civil Society

The Banks and Civil Society

(p.180) Chapter Seven The Banks and Civil Society
Behind the Development Banks
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores how increased congressional activism in the banks created an opening for civil society groups to shape U.S. policy toward them, emphasizing on human rights in the 1970s, the environment in the 1980s and 1990s, and heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) debt relief in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. There has been a rise of civil society advocacy around the multilateral development banks (MDBs). It argues that the debt-relief initiative was the most successful and human rights the least so. Human rights advocates won some important victories. The congressional activism around the MDBs and the environment are addressed. Over the past three decades, social movements working through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have had a growing impact on U.S. policies toward the MDBs and, thereby, on the banks' activities. It is shown that each wave of social movement involvement has paved the way for greater future activism.

Keywords:   congressional activism, civil society, U.S. policy, human rights, environment, debt relief, social movements

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