FY18 Omnibus: IFI Contributions
The FY18 Omnibus included nearly $1.5 billion in funding for the IFIs. At a time when the U.S. commitment to multilateralism is in question, this spending bill suggests that using the multilateral development banks to reach the world’s poorest countries remains a priority for now. Over the last year, the U.S. contribution to the International Development Association (IDA)—the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries—was the subject of debate both within the administration, which cut the most recent U.S. pledge to IDA, as well as in Congress which saw the House further cut the administration’s number by nearly 50%. The omnibus puts the debate to rest for now by restoring the funding level to that which the administration requested, ensuring the U.S. remains a “top donor” to both IDA and the African Development Fund.
Breaking it Down: The FY18 omnibus included authorization and appropriations for all of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) to which the U.S. pledged funds. It did not include funding for the GCF, which the administration zeroed out in its budget request to Congress last year. Appropriations in the omnibus for the IFIs were therefore largely consistent with the administration’s FY18 budget request, except for the GEF to which Congress appropriated 36% more than what the administration requested. This higher number matches the number owed by the U.S. according to the pledge made to the GEF in 2014.
Congressional Mandates: The omnibus maintained language from the FY17 appropriations bill aimed at reforming the IFIs, including on issues relating to evaluations and reporting, safeguards, compensation for executive directors, human rights, fraud and corruption, beneficial ownership information, and whistleblower protections. The language generally puts restrictions on how the U.S. executive director at a given IFI can vote on specific projects that come before the Board of directors, or requires the ED to proactively advance certain policies at the IFIs. An important provision that will likely come into play later this year would potentially prevent the U.S. Executive Director from voting in favor of projects at the World Bank that fall under the new safeguards regime–which is arguably weaker on certain issues than the policies it replaces. The omnibus provision requires the U.S. ED “to vote against any loan, grant, policy, or strategy if such institution has adopted and is implementing any social or environmental safeguard relevant to such loan, grant, policy, or strategy that provides less protection than World Bank safeguards in effect on September 30, 2015.”
While the omnibus included IDA authorization at the same level as the House Financial Services Committee’s separate authorization bill that passed earlier this year, it did not include the same conditions on the U.S. contribution to IDA. The authorization bill, the World Bank Accountability Act, aimed to place conditions on a portion of future appropriations unless reforms were accomplished related to institutional incentives, accountability of trust funds and gender based violence, among others. The bill was passed in the House, but was not taken up in the Senate.
IFI Appropriations (in millions)
Asian Development Fund: 47.4
African Development Bank GCI: 32.4
African Development Fund: 171.3
International Fund for Agricultural Development: 30.0
IFI Authorizations (in millions)
International Development Association (over 3 yrs): 3,291.0
Asian Development Fund (over 4 yrs): 189.6
African Development Fund (over 3 yrs): 513.9