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.
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.
- See Development Committee Communique for more info.
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.
Referring to the issue of "voice," Zoellick said that “This crisis is changing the world and the World Bank must change with it. It was widely recognized at the meeting that developing countries should have more influence in how the World Bank is run. The committee therefore agreed that the work on a second round of reforms to the bank’s voting structure should be accelerated. The aim should be to reach an agreement on these changes by the Spring Meeting in 2010. I have urged governments to be bold and far-sighted. “