Press Release: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Calls for Global Solidarity to Address Humanitarian Challenges

May 20, 2016

Press Release No. 16/234
May 20, 2016

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit being held in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23–24:

“The need for humanitarian assistance has reached levels not seen since the Second World War, leaving millions of people in desperate need of support. This is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The need for fundamental change in how humanitarian aid is delivered to ensure more effective use of scarce resources is now widely recognized.

“The UN Secretary-General’s decision to organize the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit is especially timely and deserves the full support of the international community. We all need to step up our game by boosting financial support for humanitarian relief from all countries that can afford to contribute, and by improving the organization and delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“To support global efforts aimed at improving the delivery of humanitarian aid, the IMF will leverage its track record of moving quickly to support governments facing humanitarian crises. The IMF can:

  • Speedily disburse financial support through special facilities that do not require full economic programs—the Rapid Financing Instrument and Rapid Credit Facility. Countries that have benefited from such support in recent years include Nepal and Vanuatu.
  • Increase the amount of financing provided to countries with whom we already have lending arrangements, adjusting economic programs to accommodate the new demands on budgets and foreign reserves—as we have done with Jordan.
  • Use its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to provide financing to low-income countries to meet debt service payments, as was done for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
  • Assist governments in designing macroeconomic policies to contain the economic fallout from humanitarian crises. This can help to provide bilateral donors with the confidence that the effectiveness of aid programs is not undermined by macroeconomic instability.

“The IMF is deepening its engagement with fragile countries by helping them build institutions that can deliver key economic services, from putting in place efficient tax systems to implementing sound public investment. We are also assisting countries exposed to natural disasters in designing macroeconomic strategies that enhance their resilience and expand their room for maneuver to respond to adverse shocks.

“Humanitarian crises require action on multiple levels—preventive engagement, relief provision, protecting and empowering those affected by crises to rebuild livelihoods. The IMF is committed to playing its full part, working collaboratively with governments and international agencies, using its financial resources, policy expertise, and technical assistance.”


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