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Source: Government of Norway

Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein gave this statement at the World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meeting Development Committee on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic consistuency.

Rows – from left to right: Thambo E. Gina (Eswatini), Emmanuel Moulin (France), Dag-Inge Ulstein (Norway), Ingnazio Visco (Italy), Salman Khalifa Al-Khalifa ( Bahrain), Arkhom Termpittayapaisith (Thailand), Harald Waiglain (Austria), Kun Liu (China), Aleksej Oversjuk (Russia), Felix Moloua (Central Africn Republic), Gerd Müller (Germany), Funke Tshazibana (IMFC), Diariétou Gaye (DC Executiv Secretary), Ken Ofori-Atta (DC Chair), David Malpass (president, WBG), Kristalina Georgieva (Managing Director, IMF), Brent McIntosh (USA), Mohammed Aljadaan (Saudi Arabia), Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (Nigeria), Carlos Dominguez (Philippines), Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch (Switzerland), James Duddridge (UK), Nirmala Sitharaman (India), Arturo Herrera (Mexico), Taro Aso (Japan), Sigrid Kaag (The Netherlands), Karina Gould (Canada) and Gustavo Osvaldo Beliz (Argentina). Credit: World Bank

We thank the World Bank Group and the IMF for immediate response, joint action and leadership in addressing the pandemic and its dire consequences. We welcome the Bank’s mobilization of up to 12 billion dollars for global access to Covid-19 vaccines. Strong partnerships with other MDBs, the UN and Covax are crucial. We welcome the collaboration to accelerate development, production and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines through ACT-A.

Although the pandemic is far from over, we must focus on the Post-Covid-19 “next normal”. Build Back Better and Greener, aligned with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. The Bank should take on a global lead for sustainable, inclusive recovery, with much reduced use of fossil fuels. Based on an ambitious Climate Change Action Plan. Supporting ambitious partner country NDCs, climate neutrality by 2050, and SDG7.

In the recovery, revenue generation will be essential. Tax bases must be increased, loopholes closed. Progressive taxes and rolling back corporate tax avoidance will be key. The Bank, the Fund, the EU, G7 and G20 should join forces on fair and equitable taxation.

The pandemic is not gender neutral. Harvesting the benefits of gender equality should be at the forefront in our efforts to re-ignite growth, reduce poverty, share prosperity. Building Back Better and Greener is a window of opportunity to apply smart gender economics. The Bank should aim for a quantum leap.

Covid-19 has put acute emphasis on the need for social protection, safety nets, cash transfers. The Bank should target the most vulnerable, counter rising inequalities, safeguard human capital.

We welcome the extension of the Paris Club/G20 debt moratorium into 2021. We call on all bilateral creditors to participate. Private creditors should walk their talk. Beneficiary countries should use every DSSI dollar on Covid-19 response. We welcome a World Bank/IMF action plan on debt reduction for IDA countries with unsustainable debt. We support conditional debt relief for Sudan.

Private capital mobilization is urgent. We still expect the IFC to engage more in fragile states,  LICs, difficult markets. We need a new MIGA strategy, with higher ambition, new products. We call for an update on what has been achieved – and what not – with the Cascade Approach.

The Bank should strengthen its support for digital innovation and inclusion. With strong focus on women, poor, and underserved.

As for increasing the WBG’s financial capacity, donor resources are now very stretched, so the Bank must use existing resources wisely. We call on the Bank to turn every stone to optimize balance sheets before calling for more donor capital or for an extra IDA replenishment.

As for Shareholding and IDA Voting Rights, we request gradual adjustment for all underrepresented countries.

We stress the importance of semi-annual DC meetings.

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