Repaying the Ecological Debt: Pope Francis writes to the IMF and World Bank

Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are two sister institutions created in 1944 by the Bretton Woods Agreements. The Fund was established to support the international financial system, granting conditional credits to countries experiencing temporary difficulties with their balance of payments. The World Bank, meanwhile, by financing investment projects vital to the development of poor countries on very advantageous terms, is at the forefront of global efforts to end extreme poverty, promote shared prosperity, and foster sustainable development. The two institutions meet periodically to raise awareness and increase engagement with these issues, as well as to guide their respective agendas accordingly. Their Annual and Spring Meetings are the most significant.

On March 2, 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, the IMF’s chief operating officer, Kristalina Georgieva, and the World Bank’s president, David Malpass, issued a joint statement. It indicated that the two institutions are ready to help member countries address the human tragedy and economic challenge of Covid-19, that they are actively collaborating with international institutions and authorities in each country, and that they are paying particular attention to poor countries where health systems are weakest, populations are most vulnerable, and fewer resources are available to address these challenges.[1]

The 2021 Spring Meetings were conducted virtually from Monday, April 5 through Sunday, April 11, 2021. In addition to the meetings of the executive committees, which took stock of the progress of their projects, individual forums were devoted to international development, debt, economic recovery, vaccines and climate. The Spring Meetings are usually attended by approximately 2,800 delegates from member states, 350 representatives of organizations as observers, 800 members of the press and 550 accredited members of civil society.


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