IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings Emphasize Climate Change, Sustainable Development

worldbank_imf13 April 2014: The Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) brought together officials, academics, practitioners, and journalists from around the world for a series of meetings and events, many of which held climate change and sustainable development in special focus.

The joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, held on 12 April 2014, resulted in the Development Committee Communiqué. The Communiqué acknowledges the WBG's progress on implementing its strategy for ending extreme poverty. It further calls for integrating environmental considerations into policy-making, noting that climate-smart policies are “necessary for environmental sustainability and resilience, and could also generate side benefits for growth and jobs."

The Committee also recommends a number of investing, finance-raising, and assistance activities the WBG and IMF should take or continue, in order to realize the goal of sustainable economic growth in developing countries. The Communiqué lists sustainable agriculture (especially in Sub-Saharan Africa) and disaster risk management (DRM) among the areas in need of increased policy support.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) organized and chaired a meeting of multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the IMF, on 11 April. At the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a progress update on the UN's work toward a post-2015 development agenda; he was hopeful the sustainable development goals (SDGs) would be agreed over the next few months.

The seven MDBs at the meeting (EIB, African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Development Bank, and the WBG) and the IMF expressed their readiness to support the UN as it maps out the SDGs. They further pledged to organize a summit on the sidelines of the 2015 Spring Meetings dedicated to giving the UN concrete proposals for its work on sustainable development and for mobilizing the necessary finance.

Apart from the meeting of MDBs, Ban met with executive directors and senior managers of the IDB to discuss the SDGs and climate change. Building on a history of collaboration with the UN, IDB officials expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation. The two organizations partner on, inter alia: climate change adaptation and mitigation, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and sustainable and inclusive development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A meeting of finance ministers with the heads of the WBG and IMF, and Secretary-General Ban also convened on 11 April, focusing on practical fiscal policies, carbon pricing, private sector regulation, public procurement rules, and efficiency standards. These ministers convene twice a year to discuss the risks climate change poses to the world economy and potential actions.

Many of the events organized alongside the high-level meetings shone a spotlight on climate change and sustainable development, including: a screening of a documentary series, 'Years of Living Dangerously,' which illustrates the impacts of climate change; an event on 'China: A New Approach to Efficient, Inclusive, Sustainable Urbanization'; and a series of seminars on 'Enhancing Emerging Markets' Resilience.' [Development Committee Communiqué] [World Bank Press Release, 12 April] [World Bank Press Release, 11 April] [EIB Press Release] [ADB Press Release] [IDB Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Spring Meetings Schedule] [ILO Statement]