At their annual Spring Meetings, the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) addressed a range of issues, from climate change, financing for development (FfD) and the post-2015 development agenda, to the Ebola crisis, job creation, fiscal stability, and fragility and conflict.
On the sidelines of the Spring Meetings, the Development Committee held its 91st meeting.
20 April 2015: At their annual Spring Meetings, the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) addressed a range of issues, from climate change, financing for development (FfD) and the post-2015 development agenda, to the Ebola crisis, job creation, fiscal stability, and fragility and conflict. On the sidelines of the Spring Meetings, the Development Committee held its 91st meeting.
During the Spring Meetings, which took place from 17-19 April 2015, in Washington DC, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in numerous events, along with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and many other high-level officials. Addressing the Spring Meetings, Ban stated that: financing will be key for creating and unveiling an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, and for a comprehensive global climate deal; and the public and private sectors will need to cooperate to create incentives and regulatory frameworks to encourage long-term sustainable development. In separate remarks to the Development Committee, which met on 18 April, Ban reiterated the importance of the IMF, the WBG and regional development banks in helping the UN roll out the post-2015 development agenda, and called for “a paradigm shift in financing sustainable development.”
Climate-related sessions addressed how to mobilize the trillions of dollars needed globally to address climate change, including putting a price on carbon and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies to free up and increase public funds. Other sessions addressed the role development banks and central banks can play in encouraging greater investment in low-carbon growth.
During a climate change ministerial event, 42 finance and development ministers heard from CEOs, who explained how a stable carbon price can incentivize cleaner decisions and innovation. In remarks to the ministerial, Ban called for a “realistic” trajectory to mobilize US$100 billion per year by 2020, and stressed that least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) require assistance with tapping into international markets and attracting investors. He said that World Bank and the IMF can help by supporting economic drivers, like carbon pricing, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and stronger energy efficiency standards.
During another event, Sweden’s Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson described how her country has implemented a high carbon tax and, over time, decoupled emissions and economic growth. The Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, a coalition of eight countries, released a communiqué, which calls for phasing out subsidies in the lead up to Paris.
The President of the UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa also attended the Spring Meetings, holding bilaterals with ministers of finance and development cooperation, in order to underscore the importance of ensuring a successful outcome from the Third International Conference on FfD in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015. During an event on data for sustainable development, Kutesa underscored the importance of data for planning, monitoring and accountability, stressing that high-quality, timely and reliable data will be critical for reviewing implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
In a statement on post-2015 FfD and multilateral development finance, the Heads of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the WBG and the IMF said that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require moving from billions to trillions in resource flows.
During a panel discussion on how the international community might finance the SDGs, IMF Deputy Managing Director Min Zhu expressed concern that the proposed goals may be too ambitious, with 169 targets and 17 goals. Speakers stressed that the new development agenda will require huge financial resources for implementation in the trillions of dollars, and that the private sector must play a role in financing. While some speakers, such as Jeffrey Sachs, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), said a reduced number of goals and targets would be preferable, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo stressed that the UN’s 193 member states had chosen the targets “as a means to tackle unsustainable socioeconomic problems and environmental abuses.” Min Zhu suggested supplementing donor commitments with broader resource mobilization strategies, like subsidy reforms and carbon taxing, which could generate two trillion dollars. Other suggestions included reaching out to the world’s wealthiest and increasing corporate taxes.
UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark also addressed both the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings and the Development Committee. She characterized 2015 as a “once in a generation opportunity to mobilize for sustainable development,” and emphasized that a successful outcome at FfD 3 is a prerequisite for securing an ambitious post-2015 development agenda and a comprehensive climate agreement. She underscored that the range of proposed post-2015 goals and targets will require financing beyond what official development assistance (ODA) can provide, and welcomed proposals on the role of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the IMF to help unlock public and private resources. She highlighted ways to redirect private finance towards sustainable development, including through: enhancing financial inclusion for women and youth to support entrepreneurship; and tackling tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
Clark emphasized UN and World Bank collaboration, and said the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Working Group is supporting countries to “land” the post-2015 agenda and accelerate progress on the SDGs. She mentioned the special high-level meeting of UN Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as an important opportunity to discuss coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of FfD and the post-2015 development agenda.
The Development Committee resulted in a Communiqué that, among other things, encourages the WBG to: ensure the technical robustness of the SDGs and targets and to strengthen countries’ data capacity to enable development and to monitor progress towards the WBG’s goals and the SDGs; and further enhance its efforts and financing to contribute to the success of the Paris climate conference.
The 2015 IMF/WBG Annual Meetings will be held in Lima, Peru, from 9-11 October 2015, with the Development Committee scheduled to meet on 10 October. [IMF/WBG Spring Meetings Website] [World Bank Blog Post: Takeaways from the Climate Ministerial] [World Bank Climate Finance News Story] [IMF Press Release on Multilateral Development Finance Statement] [IMF Article: Financing for Development: The Way Forward] [UN Press Release, 18 April] [UN Press Release, 17 April] [UN Secretary-General Remarks at Spring Meetings] [UN Secretary-General Remarks to Development Committee] [UN Secretary-General’s Remarks at Climate Ministerial] [PGA Meetings, 17 April] [PGA Meetings, 18 April] [Helen Clark, UNDP, Statement at Spring Meetings] [Helen Clark, UNDP, Statement to the Development Committee] [AfDB Press Release] [Development Committee Communiqué] [Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Press Release] [IISD RS Story on the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform]