By Claire West

MPs on the International Development Committee have cautiously welcomed The Department for International Developments (DFID’s) increased contributions to the World Bank development programme, but are calling for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of its spending and warn in a new report that the Bank must be reformed.

The report calls for:

a more open process for selecting the current President’s successor

a more equitable allocation of voting shares for developing countries

the Bank’s main watchdog to be strengthened

the promotion of girls’ education to be made an early priority

more support to improve the financial viability of renewable energy.

Chair of the Committee, Malcolm Bruce MP, said:

"It is right for the UK to be putting more money into World Bank aid programmes, but the institution desperately needs reforming.

The UK should use its clout as the second largest donor to the World Bank aid programme to demand it becomes fairer and more open and accountable.

We would also like to see more aid focused on meeting Millennium Development Goals on girls education and greater efforts made to promote low carbon forms of energy.

The Government must give MPs the chance to fully debate the key decisions taken by the Bank given the large sums of money being donated by Britain."

In December the Government announced that its contribution to the International Development Association (IDA) — the aid arm of the World Bank — would increase to an average of £888 million a year for each of the three years (a total of £2.7 billion) in its sixteenth programme.

The report says the UK should use its role as one of the largest contributors to the International Development Association to ensure that a robust system is put in place to evaluate the performance of the President during his or her tenure. The Committee is also calling for a more equitable distribution of voting shares between donors and developing countries and a bigger say for poorer countries.

The report calls for much greater Parliamentary scrutiny of the way aid flows through the World Bank. It urges the Government to allow a debate in the House of Commons before the increase in contributions is approved.