Delegates, civil society members and press from around the world are set to converge in Washington for the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings. (See the schedule of events.) The week is packed with meetings, briefings and lectures covering topics ranging from strategies for post-economic crisis recovery to the first effort in 20 years to raise capital for the World Bank.
But many continue to wonder what the fallout will be of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland last week--from the effects on countries to disruptions in international air travel.
Bank President Robert Zoellick said during a pre-meetings press call-in Monday that the institution is monitoring the effects of the eruption on African countries, especially food exporters that are suffering declines in exports.
At the same time, Bank and IMF staff have been working hard on making the meetings happen despite the disruptions, he said. "We have important decisions to be made however we assemble the shareholder representatives."
Zoellick pointed to $105 billion of financial commitments made by the Bank since the full force of the crisis hit in the summer of 2008, which he noted breaks all Bank records.
The meetings will focus on four major issues, with the Bank's 186 shareholders poised to:
- Decide on whether to give developing countries a bigger say in the institution.
- Review the institution's efforts to raise capital for the first time in over 20 years.
- Discuss the Bank's post-crisis strategy.
- Assess the institution's reform program to position the Bank Group as a modernized, multilateral institution.