What Happened at the World Bank / International Monetary Fund Meeting, October 2021?

by Annabel Solnik


The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors from the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) took place virtually from 11th to 17th October [1]. The event is significant as every year it brings together finance and development ministers, central bankers, private sector leaders, civil society and academics to discuss the most pressing global issues. It is also an opportunity for civil society to interact with policymakers in a global setting [2].

What did it cover?

Every year the meeting covers (among other topics): the world economic outlook, global financial stability and aid effectiveness [2]. This year, the central discussion was around the climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, with several countries sharing their experiences. Also covered was the need for global and unified climate action, gender equality in the workplace and the creation of  a more resilient world that can absorb the impacts of global challenges [3, 4, 5].

Main outcomes

The participants called for strong international cooperation and policy action, both to solve the climate crisis and to pursue equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic [3]. The IMF, World Bank Group, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) set an ambitious target to have at least 40% of people in all countries vaccinated by the end of this year [5]. In the IMF’s World Economic Outlook 2021 report, climate change was highlighted as one of the three threats impacting global financial stability, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and cryptocurrency [6]. The IMF representatives called for a comprehensive approach to resilience, including resilient people, planet and institutions as a way to succeed in a fast-moving world full of global challenges.  

Looking ahead to COP26

In the lead-up to the largest climate event of the year, the climate crisis was high on the agenda with several high-level attendees regarding this as the number one global challenge we must address [7].

During the fireside chat between the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and the COP26 President Alok Sharma, both parties were hopeful that the transition to a low-carbon future will happen. However, they were unsure if it will happen fast enough. Having talked to high-level policymakers over the last 8-9 months, Alok Sharma brought up the four consistent demands of negotiators in the lead up to COP26 talks [7]:

  1. Every country should step forward with ambitious plans to cut emissions and build a net zero economy by the end of the century;
  2. Developed nations need to step up and provide the 100 billion dollars per year required for developing countries to fight the climate crisis;
  3. Countries need to have plans in place on how they will adapt to climate change that is already happening;
  4. Countries have to come together at COP26 and finally agree on the Paris Agreement (Article 6).

Ms. Georgieva highlighted the need for more (private sector) finance for climate action as currently only a fraction of investments are channelled into climate solutions. She also raised the  lack of tools that make finance available for those who need it the most. The IMF approaches policy engagement with countries and financial authorities through a climate lens [7]. As they oversee resources for development and recovery across the world, it should send a strong signal to all stakeholders that the climate crisis is something we all need to take action on now.


1.       The World Bank, 2021. Annual Meeting Overview. Available from: https://www.worldbank.org/en/meetings/splash/annual/overview Accessed on 17.10.21

2.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. Annual Meeting. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/Annual-Spring-Meetings#:~:text=The%20Annual%20and%20Spring%20Meetings%20of%20the%20World%20Bank%20Group,the%20world%20economic%20outlook%2C%20global Accessed on 18.10.21

3.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. IMF annual meetings update, October 14th. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Campaigns/2021/Annual-Meetings-Update-Day-4 Accessed on 17.10.21

4.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. IMF annual meetings update, October highlights. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Campaigns/2021/Annual-Meetings-Update-Day-5   Accessed on 17.10.21

5.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. IMF annual meetings update, October 12th. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Campaigns/2021/Annual-Meetings-Update-Day-2 Accessed on 17.10.21

6.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. World Economic Outlook 2021 Report. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2021/10/12/world-economic-outlook-october-2021 Accessed on 17.10.21

7.       International Monetary Fund, 2021. Countdown to COP26: With Kristalina Georgieva and Alok Sharma. Available from: https://meetings.imf.org/en/2021/Annual/Schedule/2021/10/13/imf-seminar-countdown-to-cop26 Accessed on 18.10.21

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