We are facing one of the most challenging times for development since the creation of the World Bank in 1944. The COVID-19 pandemic has spared no country or segment of society; it has gravely impacted the lives of millions, small and large businesses across the world, and the modern global economy as we know it. Through combined efforts to address this pandemic, the World Bank Group has taken swift and comprehensive action. We express our heartfelt thanks to the staff, who have worked tirelessly to mobilize resources in fighting these unprecedented global health, social, and economic crises. Guided by our twin goals of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity, and the COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper: Saving Lives, Scaling-up Impact and Getting Back on Track, the Bank Group has committed to provide as much as $160 billion over 15 months to help countries respond to the crisis — as of the end of fiscal 2020, we were already providing support in over 100 countries. We envisage this funding will help improve resilience and inclusion, as well as foster transformative investments that will in turn help countries build back better. We believe our continued cooperation with governments, private and public sector partners, and a wide range of stakeholders is key to returning to a sustainable path of recovery and development.

To support further progress toward the twin goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, we endorsed the World Bank Group’s Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV) Strategy. Building on the ongoing, successful implementation of the 2016 Forward Look and the 2018 capital package, the strategy aims to enhance effectiveness in helping countries address the drivers and impacts of FCV and in strengthening resilience, with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Earlier in fiscal 2020 we discussed strategic and operational issues related to jobs and economic transformation, migration, global value chains, and digital transformation. We discussed trade and trade finance, manufacturing, equity and portfolio approaches, IFC’s financial capacity, state-owned enterprises, and equity investing.

We discussed critical matters to our organization, such as having staff located closer to our clients and how we measure development results, our independent accountability mechanisms, and the governance framework and the 2020 Shareholding review. In addition, we discussed and endorsed the strategy and business outlook for IFC for fiscal 2021–23 and budget for fiscal 2021 that help shape the Bank Group’s direction over the coming year.

The Board strongly supports racial justice and equality within the Bank Group and in our work. We will continue prioritizing diversity and inclusion across the institution and in our support to clients and communities. We believe that it is critical to embed concern for race and ethnicity in our development work and programs around the world, and that promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace reflects our institution’s core values. These efforts will remain an important focus in the year ahead.