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After the Crisis—World Bank President lays out vision for new global system

Angie Gentile's picture

Zoellick SAIS speech, After the CrisisOn the eve of the 2009 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Bank President Robert Zoellick called on world leaders to reshape the multilateral system and forge a “responsible globalization”—one that would encourage balanced global growth and financial stability, embrace global efforts to counter climate change, and advance opportunity for the poorest.

“Coming out of this crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our policies, architecture, and institutions,” Zoellick said, speaking at the DC-based Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

“As agreed in Pittsburgh last week, the G-20 should become the premier forum for international economic cooperation among the advanced industrialized countries and rising powers. But it cannot be a stand-alone committee,” the Bank’s president noted.

In a speech laden with historical references, he spoke of the legacy of institutions established to deal with the global economy some 60 years ago and how the economic crisis is contributing to a changing multilateral global architecture.

"Bretton Woods is being overhauled before our eyes," Zoellick said.

The crisis has underscored the growing importance of the large emerging economies. “The current assumption is that the post-crisis political economy will reflect the rising influence of China, probably of India, and of other large emerging economies,” Zoellick said. “[T]he Greenback’s fortunes will depend heavily on U.S. choices.”

The global trading system, he added, is failing to keep up with the demands of the global economy. “With an agenda framed almost a decade ago, the Doha Round is fast falling behind the new challenges. We should get the Doha Round done promptly—and then look ahead.”

The old international economic order was struggling to keep up with change before the crisis, he said. The economic upheaval has revealed the stark gaps and compelling needs.

President Zoellick addresses the audience at SAIS

Zoellick noted that to be effective and strengthen their legitimacy, the international institutions must also evolve. “Their voting shares should reflect the weights and new responsibilities of emerging powers, while assuring a voice for the poor.”

Read the speech. Watch the webcast. See the press release.

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