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Americas conference tackles Latin America's thorny Issues

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.

The Americas Conference got off to a good start today after addressing two of the most pressing issues facing the region: the impact of the financial crisis, that has engulfed Latin America for more than a year, and the political impasse that is rocking democracy in Honduras.

A group of World Bank experts told the meeting of Government and business leaders that Latin America is turning the corner vis-a-vis the financial crisis -one of the region’s worst-, as some countries were already showing signs of an early recovery.

A Renewed Faith in Public Investment

Marcelo Giugale'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.

As the dust settles in Latin America in the wake of the global financial crisis, along with the tough challenges ahead for the economic recovery, there seem to be unique opportunities to improve our region’s long-term outlook.

I have no doubt that this important Miami Conference –where Latin America converges in many ways, cultural and economic- is the ideal place to bring these ideas to the table and kick off a fruitful debate.

Ask your question and join the debate on 'What Now? The World Beyond the Crisis'

Nina Vucenik's picture

How should the world look after the global financial and economic crisis?

A special high-level panel will discuss the world post the global economic crisis on Friday, October 2, in Istanbul during the Annual Meetings.

The panel will feature Robert B. Zoellick, Bank Group President; H. E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia; H.E. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Minister of Investment, Egypt; Ms. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, CEO, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange; and Professor Paul Collier, Department of Economics, University of Oxford.

The debate will be recorded on Friday, October 2, and will be broadcast over the next two days on France 24.

The panel is taking questions from people from around the world. If you have any questions for the panelists, you can ask them directly through Speak Out, our online chat, and we will pass them on.

 

Lessons from Latin America’s experience with H1N1

Sameer Vasta's picture

Laboratory tests on the flu.

The World Bank announced earlier this year that it would back Mexico’s fight against Influenza A (H1N1) with $205 million in fast-disbursing funds. Since then it has supported more than a dozen countries in Latin America in their efforts to control the effects of the virus.

Latin America’s experience with the H1N1 virus in the last six months has revealed that early, aggressive and honest communication with the public and a strong public health surveillance system are critical in mounting an effective response to the virus.

Keith Hansen, World Bank Health Expert for Latin America and the Caribbean, recently spoke about the Bank's work in the region:

"Epidemics can be very costly for the economy, for business, and this is why it’s worth investing a great deal to strengthen and maintain good surveillance and public health control measures. Also, the economy is not the measure of all things. The fundamental issue is that people’s lives, health, productivity and happiness are all at stake. Epidemics aren’t entirely preventable but they can be minimized, and that’s the role of a good public health system, and partners, such as the Bank, can support this."

In the upcoming week, Keith Hansen will post a few videoblog entries here on the Meetings Center, explaining more about the virus, the Bank's work, and some of the issues being discussed at the Meetings.

If you have any questions for Keith Hansen, you can ask him directly at our Speak Out online chat on health systems.

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.”

Turkey: Host of 2009 Annual Meetings

Sameer Vasta's picture

Sunset in Istanbul by Nick Leonard

The 2009 Annual Meetings kick off in a few short days in Istanbul, Turkey. A dynamic emerging-market economy strategically located between Europe and Asia, Turkey joined the World Bank in 1947 is the World Bank's largest borrower in the Europe and Central Asia Region.

The Annual Meetings will be held in the newly-built Istanbul Congress Centre, a state-of-the-art conference facility that opened two weeks ago. The Meetings will be the first major event to be hosted at the new facility.

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.

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