Development Committee Communiqué, Spring Meetings, April 21, 2012

April 21, 2012

Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries
Washington, DC April 21, 2012

1. The Development Committee met today, 21 April 2012, in Washington DC.

2. The global economic outlook remains challenging. Policy adjustments and improved economic activity have reduced the threat of a sharp global slowdown. Growth in emerging and developing economies continues to be relatively strong, but poor countries still need support. Implementing policies and structural reforms to promote poverty reduction and inclusive growth must continue.

3. The likely achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve global poverty by 2015 is welcome news, but we remain vigilant and continue to work with all stakeholders to advance the other MDGs and to learn from experience. We call on the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support the implementation of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. We call on the WBG to develop more innovative and stronger partnerships with middle income countries. Providing knowledge and financing for global public goods will also remain key. We welcome steps being taken by the IMF to implement the agreed funding package for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which should enable it to meet likely demand for the IMF’s concessional support through 2014.

4. Higher, more volatile food prices threaten poverty reduction and other lagging MDGs, especially reducing hunger and child and maternal mortality. Food insecurity and malnutrition have devastating effects, especially on women and children. The Global Monitoring Report: Food Prices, Nutrition and the MDGs is timely and builds on our discussion last spring and the G20 conclusions at Cannes. We call on the WBG to continue to pursue multi-sectoral solutions to food insecurity and malnutrition through instruments such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program.

5. Social protection makes sound development sense. Social safety nets bolstered poor people’s resilience to the last financial crisis and are also an important component of longer-term poverty reduction when they are well-targeted, affordable, gender sensitive and sustainable. The WBG has increased support for social safety nets, including conditional cash transfers, public works, and school feeding. We welcome the report Safety Nets Work: During Crisis and Prosperity, with its focus on improving the design and efficiency of existing social safety net programs and building new ones where needed, particularly in low income countries. We urge the WBG to promote south-south learning and to allocate sufficient resources to this work, continuing to collaborate with relevant institutions such as the IMF, the regional development banks and the International Labor Organization.

6. A vibrant private sector is crucial for growth, jobs and poverty reduction. We therefore welcome the report on the WBG’s Innovations in Leveraging the Private Sector for Development. Building on its mandate of poverty reduction, the WBG is uniquely placed to innovate and advise clients about how to harness the private sector for development and to promote an enabling environment. The IFC has effectively supported development through the private sector and grown its investment portfolio and advisory services, and innovative products such as local currency and short term finance, while maintaining its focus on IDA countries and frontier markets. MIGA has also expanded its guarantee portfolio. We ask management to prepare a group-wide approach that assesses the implications for priorities and use of resources, and optimizes synergies between IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA to enhance responsiveness to clients and provide integrated solutions.

7. We are encouraged by progress on the modernization agenda, designed to improve the Bank’s effectiveness and efficiency to deliver more and better results. Cultural and organizational change will be needed and we fully support management in bringing this about. The Update on the Bank’s Business Modernization: Results, Openness and Accountability indicates a clear way forward. Critical areas for reform include human resources and knowledge building and sharing. Promoting staff diversity is vital to enhance operational effectiveness and attract motivated talent. The Corporate Scorecard is beginning to drive a results culture through the organization. Building on recent World Development Reports, the incorporation of gender equality and greater focus on fragile and conflict affected situations (FCS) will incentivize improved WBG performance. The momentum behind modernization must be maintained, and we look forward to a progress report next spring and to an updated Corporate Scorecard this autumn. Modernization, innovation, and greater creativity in the use of capital will achieve a more efficient WBG and contribute to its long term financial sustainability.

8. The Ministerial Dialogue on Sustainable Development, with the participation of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sent an important signal about the need for global partnership to advance this demanding agenda. We look forward to continued discussion about inclusive, green growth in the context of poverty reduction and sustainable development, natural capital accounting and oceans, feeding into the Rio + 20 and G20 processes.

9. We express our profound appreciation and gratitude to Robert B. Zoellick for his leadership of the WBG over the last five years. He has positioned the WBG at the forefront of effective and timely responses to food and financial crises and natural disasters, as well as reinvigorating delivery of longer-term poverty reduction and tangible results. He has championed gender equality, better performance in FCS, adaptation to climate change, and renewed attention to agriculture and infrastructure. Under his leadership, the Bank secured the first capital increase in over twenty years and two unprecedented IDA replenishments, and launched a host of private sector initiatives, such as the IFC’s Asset Management Company. He has helped transform the WBG, making it more open, transparent, accountable and ready for a new era of “modernized multilateralism”. Reflecting this change, Mr. Zoellick has overseen the rise in the voting share of developing countries to 47%, to be followed by a further review of voice by 2015.

10. We congratulate Dr. Jim Yong Kim on his selection as President of the WBG and commit to working in close partnership with him. We thank Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr. José Antonio Ocampo for their candidacies and for sharing their valuable ideas for the WBG.

11. We welcome Mr. Marek Belka as the new Chair of the Development Committee and look forward to working with him. We also note with satisfaction the proposed revision of the Development Committee’s membership to reflect the addition of a third chair for Sub-Saharan Africa in the WBG’s Board.

12. The Development Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 13 October 2012, in Tokyo.


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