World Bank Group

04/12/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/12/2021 13:10

April 9, 2021 – Toward a resilient recovery: My reflections on the World Bank Group’s Spring Meetings

As the 2021 World Bank Group - IMF Spring Meetings come to a close, I was very pleased with strong support from all shareholders, the G7, G20, and Development Committee for the World Bank's actions on climate, debt, vaccines, and other development priorities. The World Bank Group has acted quickly to help as many countries as possible respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While I am pleased with the speed, scale, and quality of the WBG's activities, I feel no complacency about the challenges that lie ahead. It's time to move urgently toward opportunities and solutions that achieve sustainable and broad-based economic growth, and it is our collective efforts on poverty, climate, and inequality that will be the defining choices of our age.

Below, I would like to summarize some of the events I had a chance to attend or speak at.

In a speech to the London School of Economics, I discussed the World Bank Group's role in 'Building a Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Recovery' from COVID-19, focusing on three core elements to address: climate, debt, and inequality. As we work together to address these challenges, we need to find integrated, long-run strategies that achieve green, resilient, and inclusive development. This will be key to a broad and lasting global recovery.

I was pleased to address the United Nations' meeting on International Debt Architecture and Liquidity, joining UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and others to highlight the importance of effective debt solutions. To achieve a more positive future, we will need to reduce unsustainable debt burdens in order to unlock resources for health, education, and climate.

The COP26 Climate and Development Ministerial offered a good platform to highlight the World Bank Group's climate-related actions and plans, and I thank COP26 President Alok Sharma and the United Kingdom for convening the meeting. As President Sharma noted, the climate challenges faced by the poorest and most vulnerable represent a 'searing injustice'. As the biggest provider of climate finance to the developing world, the World Bank Group is actively working to help our partner countries address climate change.

I was very pleased to announce the key elements of the World Bank Group's new Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), which was presented to our Board at the beginning of April. Integrating climate and development is essential to our twin goals of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and the CCAP is strongly focused both on achieving impact on mitigation and adaptation. The World Bank Group is working hard on diagnostics to help countries maximize the impact of climate finance.

The World Bank's Human Capital Conclave highlighted the importance of 'Investing in Human Capital for a Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Recovery'. As we work to recover from the global pandemic, I was glad to discuss the need for investments in people, efficient expenditures, and good governance.

It was my pleasure to host U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva for a wide-ranging discussion on the path ahead 'Toward a Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Future'. We discussed the urgency of addressing climate change, the need for greater resilience in the global recovery, and the steps being taken by the U.S., the IMF and the World Bank Group in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

During the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, I commended Italy for using its G20 Presidency to support the most vulnerable countries. In my remarks, I addressed our actions on climate change, debt, and the resource needs of developing countries as they work to rebuild.

Addressing unsustainable debt burdens of developing countries is a key priority for the World Bank Group, and I was pleased to host Angolan Finance Minister Vera Daves de Sousa, Citi Managing Director Julie Monaco, and Save the Children CEO Kevin Watkins for an engaging panel discussion on the ways we are 'Rethinking Debt'.

The World Bank Group is committed to working toward sustainable development, and at our event on 'Green Transitions', I was pleased to host U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and Macquarie Group MD and CEO Shemara Wikramanayake for an excellent discussion of climate change priorities including the financing of the infrastructure needed to achieve lower carbon intensity. In my first two years as World Bank Group President, we delivered the largest climate investments in our institution's history - and we're on track to do even more.

Deploying vaccines in developing countries will be key to a global recovery. At our Spring Meetings event on 'Vaccines for Developing Countries', I noted the importance greater transparency in contracting arrangements to increase vaccine access for developing countries and vaccine production. My thanks to Pope Francis, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, UNICEF Executive Director Henriette Fore, GAVI CEO Seth Berkley, and all those who participated.

I was pleased to close out the week by speaking with the Development Committee. As the principal forum in which the governments of developed and developing countries, and both creditor and borrower countries, come together with a primary focus on development and resource needs for developing countries, its role is unique and truly essential as we work to rebuild from COVID-19.In my remarks, I emphasized the importance of addressing debt sustainability and transparency, COVID-19 vaccines, and the need for long-run strategies that help countries achieve green, resilient, and inclusive development.

Throughout our Spring Meetings, I was very pleased to meet bilaterally with a number of leaders, including:

I was glad to meet with African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; G24 Ministers and Governors; The Bretton Woods Committee; G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors; the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action; and others.

Finally, I would like to thank Kristalina Georgieva for the IMF's co-hosting of the Spring Meetings. The ongoing close collaboration between our institutions on debt, climate, and other key issues is strong, and our staffs will continue to work together toward a truly resilient global recovery.

I appreciate very much all of our staff and partners who came together to make this year's Spring Meetings an informative and productive event. As we work to rebuild, I am positive that we can together generate a recovery that ensures a broad and lasting rise in prosperity across the world, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.