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An opportunity to project a dynamic post-crisis region

Sergio Jellinek's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

I’ve no doubt that the upcoming Americas Conference has the potential to become a platform to project a more dynamic, competitive and democratic Latin America as it exits its worst financial and economic crisis in decades.

Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias will attend the Miami forum as a special guest, whose voice is one of moderation and respect for the region’s diversity, but also of uncompromising commitment to the core values of democracy and peace.

His vision as chief mediator in the Honduras crisis and author of the San Jose Accord should provide an important contribution to discussions on the plight of this Central American nation.

Political stability in the region is, clearly, one of the key topics being addressed at the Miami conference, which lends particular relevance to the presence of former President and special UN envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton.

Post-crisis debate likely to heat up in Miami setting

Carlos Molina's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

Old rumors fill corridors and grand rooms mimmicking 12th century Sevillian architecture. Perhaps are distant echoes from heated discussions that shaped Government agendas in previous years.

Or maybe it’s just small talk. Either way, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to think about the Bushes, Clintons, Arias, Uribes or Bachelets of this world exchanging quick policy jabs within the corridors of the historic Biltmore walls as part of the decade-old Americas Conference, only a few days away now from trying to ignite once again an animated debate about the region’s political and economic future.

Cocooned in its limbo of palm trees and warm Miami breeze, the Biltmore Hotel seems to spur high stakes decision-making that has truly contributed to the region’s history -from Free Trade Agreements to Plan Colombia –while serving as a vacation hub for countless royalty and regional elites since the hotel was built in 1926.

In its first effort of this kind, the World Bank has joined this prestigious Conference as a partner, in the hopes of further engaging in a dialogue with the region as it exits the global financial crisis.

The latest move is part of the World Bank Group’s proactive approach to the crisis. It already has contributed an unprecedented US$17 billion in FY09 –triple previous annual commitments- to help countries in the region weather the financial crisis.

Annual Meetings History

Sameer Vasta's picture

 A bit of Annual Meetings trivia:

  • The first Annual Meetings were held on a boat on the Potomac River, with only a few dozen people in attendance. The purpose of the first Meetings was to inform shareholding countries of the Bank's work over the past year and to share the Annual Report.
  • The last time the Meetings were held in Istanbul was in 1952, when they were held on a boat on the Bosphorus.
  • This year's Meetings will be held at the Istanbul Congress Center, with several thousand people expected to attend. The 2009 Annual Meetings is a multi-faceted event with seminars, speeches, press conferences, as well as G7-8/G24 meetings.
  • About 800 representatives from civil society organizations and 700 registered journalists are expected to attend this year's Meetings.

Annual Meetings in the past were held on a boat.

2009 Annual Meetings to focus on road to recovery

Nina Vucenik's picture

2009 Annual Meetings

Every fall, Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF meet to discuss progress on the work of the two institutions. The joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee are also convened.

This year’s meetings will focus on the impact of the financial crisis and the ensuing global recession on developing countries, as well as solutions to help countries hit hard by the downturns in capital flows, trade, remittances, and tourism.

Governors are expected to discuss the Bank’s financial capacity as it continues to meet the demand from countries coping with the crisis. In fiscal year 2009, the Bank Group committed nearly $60 billion to help developing countries, which marked a 54 percent increase over the previous year and was a record high.

Other issues on the agenda include the impact of climate change on developing countries and the World Bank's role, against the backdrop of the upcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Climate change complicates efforts to reduce poverty in developing countries, but a “climate smart” world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently, according to the latest World Development Report.

Governors are expected to reflect on the results of IDA15 to date. The International Development Association (IDA) is part of the World Bank that provides grants and no-interest loans to the poor countries. A mid-term review of IDA15 gets underway in November.

Annual Meetings preparations under way

Sameer Vasta's picture

Istanbul, by maistora

You might be noticing a few changes over here on the World Bank Meetings Center over the next few days — the elements around the main blog post area are slowly changing in preparation for the Annual Meetings.

The Annual Meetings are being held in Istanbul in early October, and over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you updates about the run-up to the Meetings, as well as updates from Istanbul and the Meetings themselves.

Wrapping up the 2009 Spring Meetings.

Sameer Vasta's picture

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank

The 2009 Spring Meetings have now come to a close. We hope that you enjoyed getting a quick look at some of the events and announcements coming out of this year's Meetings, and that this blog was a useful way to get quick snippets of information and insight from this past weekend's proceedings.

April 26 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Meeting. Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominiqu Strauss Kahn, Managing Director. International Monetary Fund. Photo: © Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank This blog will stay live in its current state (as will the Spanish version) until the next round of World Bank meetings, most probably the Annual Meetings taking place this fall. Until then, feel free to go through the archives, or click through the daily highlights (in the sidebar to your right) to get targeted information about some of the big events and announcements that took place.

I also encourage you to visit our Videos section on the blog, where you'll be able to find all the short interviews we did with some of the people attending the Spring Meetings, asking them about the Bank's role in the current financial crisis. Feel free to embed those videos on your own sites if you find them interesting — and if you can, let us know when you do!

I'll sign off now, but if you have any questions or feedback about the blog and why we decided to pilot it for this set of Meetings, feel free to use the contact form or leave us a comment. Thanks!

African ministers address financial crisis

Sameer Vasta's picture

At a recent press conference, three African finance chiefs chastised international credit rating agencies for failing to forecast the global financial crisis and challenged international financial institutions to do a better job of monitoring the global economy and of holding rich and developing countries accountable in the same way.

The Ministers from Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania spoke about the crisis and its effect on Africa. Mustafa Mkulo, Tanzania’s Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, said:

"This crisis has come when African governments have taken broad based measures to reform their economies, followed by significant achievements. It is now threatening to wipe out our gains of the past ten years and disrupt all our plans for further progress."

More information:

Bank to give Mexico $205 million for swine flu

Nina Vucenik's picture

Augustin Carstens, Development Committee Chair, Finance Minister, MexicoAt the Development Committee closing press conference, Bank President Bob Zoellick together with Agustín Carstens, who is Mexico's Finance Minister as well as Development Committee Chair, announced that the Bank is giving Mexico more than $205 million to help the country fight the Swine Flu virus.

According to news reports, the virus has killed up to 81 people in Mexico city and a sickened more than a thousand people since the outbreak began.

“We're extremely grateful for the prompt response by the World Bank -- such promptness is always very, very appreciated,” said Carstens. “But beyond resources, what is also important is all the experience that the World Bank has accumulated in precisely having assisted other countries in this type of situation."

The project will be fast-tracked so that funds can be disbursed within 3-5 weeks.

Spring Meetings conclude with Development Committee press conference

Nina Vucenik's picture

April 26, 2009 - Washington DC. World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2009. Development Committee Press Briefing. (l-r) Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank Group President; Augustin Carstens, Development Committee Chair, Finance Minister, Mexico; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

The Spring Meetings 2009 finished earlier today with the final Development Committee press conference, held by Development Committee Chair, Minister Agustín Carstens, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

(l-r) Augustin Carstens Developemnt Committee Chair, Finance Minister, Mexico; Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank President; Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Speaking on behalf of the Development Committee, Carstens in his opening remarks stressed that "All members of the Development Committee recognized that this is the critical time for developing countries. Impacts from the financial crisis are hitting them hard...The financial crisis is turning into a human and development calamity. Many people have already been driven into absolute poverty."

"In this sense, the Development Committee called on countries to translate their commitments into concerted action and additional resources.  We welcome member countries' commitments to a substantial increase in resources for the IMF and we urged all donors to accelerate delivery of commitments to increase aid, and to also consider going beyond existing commitments. We welcome the leadership of the Bank Group and IMF in helping developing countries respond to the crisis,” he said.

 

In his remarks, Zoellick stressed that “there is a widespread recognition that the world faces an unprecedented economic crisis, poor people could suffer the most, and that we must continue to act in real time to prevent a human catastrophe.”    

“Before this crisis, the Millennium Development Goals on overcoming poverty by 2015 already looked like a stretch. Our latest research shows that most of these eight globally agreed goals are unlikely to be met.”
 
“No one knows how long this crisis will last. We also do not know the pace of the recovery. The Bank’s finances have been prudently run and we are therefore currently in a strong position to help our partner countries,” Zoellick said.

  • See the Bank’s Financial Crisis webpage to learn more about the Bank’s initiatives to help poor countries deal with the crisis.

 

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