SIDS Meets the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and World Bank)
On 4 October, OHRLLS facilitated a consultation between the IMF & the World Bank and members of the AOSIS Bureau and other invited SIDS. Seven SIDS Ambassadors, who travelled to Washington D.C with the High Representative, participated in the consultations hosted by both IMF and the World Bank.
Photo credit: The World Bank
Focusing on the work undertaken by the Bretton Woods institutions on SIDS and small states issues, the consultations allowed for an open and frank exchange in the wake of the SAMOA Pathway, 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
The IMF illuminated on the capacity building aspects of its work, a lesser known focus of its mandate. SIDS appreciated an exchange of views on the ongoing work by the IMF on small states’ resilience to natural disasters and climate change. SIDS were encouraged by the focus by the IMF on building resilience but also underscored the need for the IMF to also focus on SIDS specific vulnerabilities as well. Given the high interest in the work of the IMF in small states and SIDS, it was agreed that OHRLLS will facilitate a follow-up consultation between the IMF and SIDS in New York prior to December 2016.
Consultations at the World Bank Group focused on a number of themes, including, climate change and resilience, SDGs implementation, and strengthening engagement with small states and SIDS. Discussions on Climate Change, Resilience, and Climate Vulnerability highlighted the World Bank Group’s commitment to the small states and SIDS agenda; given that it is the single largest player in climate and disaster resilience for small states. The Bank also highlighted the Small Islands States Resilience Initiative (SISRI) which was launched by the World Bank in September 2014 at the Samoa Conference, in response to calls by Small Island States for greater and more effective support to build their resilience to climate change and disaster risk. SISRI seeks to bring together experiences from Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and climate resilience to help reduce fragmentation of the financial landscape, provide technical.
The World Bank Group also made a presentation on a report which highlighted the fragmentation of climate finance highlighting the concerns consistently raised by SIDS, including on the complexities of access to finance for SIDS. The report was a joint collaboration between the Bank and OECD. SIDS appreciated the fact that the Bank is working specifically on SIDS issues and welcomed the report. They also underscored the need for continued focus on the issue of vulnerability, which they see as different from the work on fragility.
Discussions on the SDGs and 2030 Agenda highlighted the unprecedented global collaboration as the world came together and agreed on a transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to address the needs of the poor and vulnerable. The consultations heard that unlike the MDGs the SDGs are already aligned with the World Bank Group twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity, measured as the income of the bottom 40 percent in any given country. The World Bank Group offered its assistance to client countries, including SIDS, in three primary areas of finance, data, and implementation. This requires leadership, innovation, and strong collaboration with countries as they set their priorities. Country ownership will be pivotal, and the World Bank Group is committed to provide support.
Discussions on strengthening Engagement with Small States focused on the findings of a stocktaking of what the institution is currently doing for small states and SIDS, including its support through special programs, trust funds, and standard IBRD/IDA funding. The consultations heard of presentations of the findings of the 2016 report. A briefing on the 2016 Small States Forum, titled “Towards a Resilient and Equitable Future: Opportunities for Financing and Partnerships” was also made.
A focus on the growth drivers of small states was underscored as being critical. The consultations highlighted the opportunities for financial assistance to help small states address the nexus of low growth and high debt are of utmost importance as well as the opportunities that the blue economy offers for equitable growth with many SIDS already engaged on the issue. SIDS also raised the issue of de-risking which also has serious implications for many SIDS, particularly those in the Caribbean. The consultations heard that de-risking threatens trade and financial integration, which has poverty and sustainable development implications.
SIDS appreciated the facilitation by OHRLLS to consult with both the IMF and the World Bank Group and expressed their gratitude to both the IMF and the Bank for hosting. It was agreed that such consultations were very helpful and enhanced collaboration between the BWIs and the UN on issues that were pertinent to SIDS. Follow-up consultations would contribute towards better understanding and appreciation of the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS and their ‘special case’ particularly as the international community turns its attention to implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda, Sendai Framework, the AAAA, and the Paris Agreement.