Statement at IMF-World Bank spring meetings

Statement by Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim at International Monetary Fund (IMF) - World Bank spring meetings in Washington DC.

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Your Excellences, Ministers and Governors, Development Committee Chair, World Bank, and IMF Leadership,

At the outset, let me express the Nordic-Baltic countries’ full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia's unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression against Ukraine.

The Bank responded quickly and decisively to the crisis. With contributions from the Nordic-Baltic countries and others, the Bank established ‘FREE’ for Ukraine.

Multilateral cooperation and coordination are key for Ukraine’s recovery and for addressing the wider regional and global economic and social implications.

Even as Ukraine demands our highest attention, today we call on the Bank to take leadership on the global response to three challenges facing the world’s sustainable development agenda.

First, addressing the challenges of fragility, conflict and violence is critical for ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Second, strong leadership is essential to realize the cuts in carbon emissions needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Now is the time for the Bank to present an ambitious plan for ending all investments in fossil fuels. Now is the time for the Bank to support its members in setting targets that are more ambitious on climate action, and by mobilizing financing, both public and private.

Third, strong leadership is key to strengthen international and national systems for preventing, preparing, and responding to health emergencies. We call on the Bank to address the structural inequalities aggravated by COVID-19. The global pandemic has shown again how women, girls, and populations in vulnerable situations are disproportionately affected in crises. Gender equality must be at the core of the Bank’s operations. By aiding the economic recovery though sustainable solutions, we can push our societies into a more equal, green, inclusive, and digital future.

Digital technologies and access to the internet are helping to lift millions out of poverty. Mindful of inherent risks, the Nordic-Baltic countries recognize the potential development impact of digitalization. We therefore urge the Bank to emphasize opportunities to support fair and progressive tax systems, bridge the digital gender divide, provide access to people with disabilities, and to promote democratic governance and human rights.

Finally, we welcome the focus on addressing debt vulnerabilities. We underline the need for the Bank’s strong leadership to help client countries generate revenues in a manner that achieves wealth distribution to reduce debt burdens. We call for immediate progress in the implementation of the Common Framework and are open to consider all four proposals set forward by the Bank and the IMF to improve the Common Framework for debt treatments. We call on the Bank and the IMF to continue to strengthen cooperation. Only through strong multilateral cooperation can we realize our common sustainable development agenda – creating hope and opportunities for millions of people.

Thank you.