Speech/statement | Date: 17/04/2020 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
By Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein (Oslo, 17 April)
Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein's statement at the Development Committee, the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the IMF. The meeting was held virtually.
We have been hit with an unprecedented global crisis. The Bank’s response has been really impressive, taking the lead in addressing a global public bad. The Fast-Track Covid-19 Facility is rapid and forceful disaster risk response. We urge the Bank to be even more ambitious, and to focus on the most vulnerable countries.
We also stress the importance of coordination and cooperation with all key actors involved.
Many countries have little fiscal space to respond to Covid-19. The Nordic and Baltic countries support the quick, flexible and renewable bilateral debt service moratorium for all IDA countries, as agreed between the Paris Club and G20. We expect the freed-up resources to be fully allocated to Covid-19 response.
More than ever, unsustainable public debt financing must be avoided. The Bank and the IMF should take a co-lead role in establishing global principles on responsible borrowing and lending.
With only nine years to 2030, the Bank must continue its operations across the spectrum – full force. Recovery support must align with the SDGs.
- Climate change will remain the biggest crisis of our time. We look forward to ambitious targets in the updated Climate Change Action Plan. The Bank’s engagement must be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement. The Bank must be at the forefront in ensuring a sustainable and green recovery.
We find the language on climate change in the draft communiqué to be, quite frankly, a bit disappointing. Continued strong engagement from the Bank on climate change is an absolute requirement from us.
- In the aftermath of Covid-19, private sector led, jobs-intensive economic growth will be ever more important. We expect the IFC to engage much more in fragile states. We need a new MIGA strategy with higher ambition.
- We warmly welcome the strategy on Fragility, Conflict and Violence. The Bank should further deepen its work in FCV settings, and leave no-one behind – reaching the furthest behind first.
- Domestic resource mobilization will be critical to the world’s economic recovery. The Bank should promote tax policy choices that reduce losses from corporate tax avoidance, along with income and wealth disparities.
- Gender must be part and parcel of everything and anything the Bank does. If so, we will have a better chance to eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
The Nordic and Baltic countries see the World Bank Group and the IMF as centerpieces in efficient multilateral cooperation – which we need now, more than ever.
We call on all members to support the World Bank’s extremely important engagement in supporting green recovery to Build Back Better.