The complete list of IFC Board members is available here.
The past year has been immensely challenging around the world — especially for developing countries — as the COVID-19 pandemic reversed decades of progress in ending extreme poverty, achieving shared prosperity, and reducing inequality. The World Bank Group responded swiftly and extensively to the health, economic, and social impacts of the crisis to help spur recovery. But more needs to be done to address the needs of the marginalized and those who live in the poorest areas. The Board discussed and approved several important initiatives and programs in support both of countries’ immediate needs and of long-term development goals.
Vaccines. We have made key and timely decisions on proposals by Bank Group management to respond to the pandemic and finance vaccination efforts, including mechanisms for prompt delivery. The Bank Group is partnering with WHO, COVAX, UNICEF, and others, including private manufacturers, to help facilitate transparent, affordable, and fair access to vaccines for developing countries and to continue strengthening global preparedness for future pandemics.
Assisting the poor. To help start the process of recovery, the Bank Group registered a historic increase in the delivery of lending for projects and initiatives to assist low- and middle-income countries, including small states, in tackling multi-faceted challenges, safeguarding human capital, and providing social safety nets to target their most vulnerable people.
Given the immense financing needs, we agreed to bring forward the IDA20 replenishment process, which we expect will be completed by December 2021. At the 2021 Spring Meetings, the Development Committee also asked the Bank to scale up its work to address rising levels of food insecurity and to support countries in achieving SDG 2, and nutrition for all, along with other partners.
Green, resilient, and inclusive development. The Bank Group continues to support countries in achieving the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. In responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the Bank Group has an opportunity to help low- and middle-income countries build the foundations for a strong and durable recovery based on a framework that we discussed, which supports green, resilient, and inclusive development. We believe that this, in turn, can help address the longer-term challenge of climate change.
Climate. We hope that the ambitious new targets for climate financing outlined in the Climate Change Action Plan 2021-2025 and the alignment of the Bank Group’s financing with the Paris agreement — complemented by the approach to green, resilient, and inclusive development and efforts to build long-term resilience for food security — will help deliver on the twin goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Knowledge framework. We welcomed the discussion of the new Strategic Framework for Knowledge, which strives to better integrate knowledge into solutions for clients and the global community. We look forward to implementation of this framework, which will strengthen the Bank Group’s role as a source of solutions.
Debt. As countries face increasing debt burdens, our Governors, together with the IMF, have given the Bank Group a mandate to address fiscal and debt distress in IDA countries in a way that supports green, resilient, and inclusive development and poverty reduction. We are hopeful that the G20 Common Framework, along with extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the end of 2021, will allow beneficiary countries to dedicate more resources to tackling the crisis, investing in health care and education, promoting growth, and improving their long-term approaches on debt.
Private sector. Recognizing growing credit constraints, the private sector is a critical player in helping client countries attain their development goals, create and develop markets, mobilize resources, and respond to COVID-19, including through IFC’s Global Health Platform and MIGA’s response programs. We expect the Bank Group to keep building partnerships across a common strategic framework to help generate private sector solutions that address development challenges.
Racial justice. There were important efforts this year to address racial injustice within the Bank Group and with our clients, including a set of recommendations put forth by the End Racism Task Force to fight racism and racial discrimination. We look forward to implementation of these recommendations through an action plan that will reaffirm this institutional value, which is embedded in the Bank Group’s Code of Ethics.
Accountability mechanisms. We also reaffirmed the importance of accountability mechanisms for people and communities who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by Bank Group projects and investments. We have approved enhancements to the Bank Group’s social and environmental accountability framework, including changes to the World Bank Inspection Panel’s toolkit and to the reporting line of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman for IFC and MIGA.
Leadership, staff, and return to office. November 2020 marked the transition to a new Board of Executive Directors, and in February we welcomed Makhtar Diop as IFC Managing Director and Executive Vice President.
We look forward to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe, the safe return of the Bank Group’s staff to the office, and the overall return to a new normal. Our utmost appreciation goes to the staff for their ongoing dedication to the Bank Group’s mission and their perseverance and hard work over the past year, despite the immense and sudden change in their working environments.
The World Bank Group remains ready to help our clients on the path to recovery. We hope that the new fiscal year brings good health and strong development outcomes for all.