Ukraine War Derails Release of IMF and G20 Communiques
World leaders attending the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings failed to agree on communiques usually issues during these meetings. On Wednesday, G20 finance ministers failed to release a communiqué over Ukraine wording. On Thursday, the International Monetary and Financial Committee failed to release their communiqué and as of the writing of this article, the Development Committee did not release their customary Friday communiqué.
The war in Ukraine loomed large at the meetings, as the Fund forecast it will cut almost an entire percentage point to global economic growth this year. Talks addressed COVID response and recovery, food prices, inflation, debt crises and climate.
“Before the shocks from the Ukraine war, developing countries faced a series of crises,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Another casualty of the war is that world leaders can’t fully focus on pandemic response, inflation, climate change and rising poverty rates.”
The shock threatens a fragile pandemic recovery, with more than 100 countries not on track to vaccinate 70% of their people. Rising food and fuel price inflation will add to the 100 million people that fell into poverty since the pandemic.
“Developing countries now have little room to protect their most vulnerable from rising food prices,” added LeCompte. "The pandemic and the Ukraine war are making food, fuel and fertilizer inaccessible to many developing countries."
In the face of war impacts and rising interest rates, a growing number of countries face debt defaults. Three countries applied to the G20 debt reduction process set up in late 2020, and none of them has received relief.
“The discussion on debt remains perhaps the most difficult in the G20,” shared LeCompte. “The IMF and World Bank leadership put forward valuable and practical proposals to move forward debt relief, but no decisions were made on the proposals.”
“The IMF trust is an example of how wealthy countries can aid developing countries in pandemic prevention and dealing with the impacts of climate change,” stated LeCompte. "Unfortunately, the meetings failed to make decisions on vaccine distribution and economic aid for struggling developing countries."
At the meetings, the World Bank gained G20 backing to set up a new fund for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.