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Unprecedented call for reform of global finance to fix debt and climate crises

  • 100+ signatories of letter to G20 leaders

LONDON, ENGLAND – Eighty years on from the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, a coalition of leading actors, politicians, artists and economists have written to leaders of the world’s major economies, urging them to upgrade the global financial system to solve the debt and climate crises and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The letter is being published ahead of World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings and builds on calls for global public finance reform led by Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, Kenyan president William Ruto, and French president Emmanuel Macron.

It urges rich countries to triple their investment in multilateral development banks, end crippling debt, and make polluters pay for the environmental damage they cause.

Signatories include economist Mariana Mazzucato, businessman Dr Mo Ibrahim, actor Dia Mirza, former politicians Rory Stewart, Joyce Banda, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and filmmakers Richard Curtis, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and KondZilla.

“The institutions of world finance have lost their muscle,” the letter reads. “The world is rocked by conflict, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, and spiralling inflation. All of which are compounded by the devastation wrought by climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals are under threat. Too many feel scarcity, austerity, despair.”

Dr Joyce Banda, former president of the Republic of Malawi

“As African leaders, we need to invest in resilience, education, health and nutrition but we’re being held back by unfair debt. Climate change has brought untold suffering to our people through loss of infrastructure and arable lands, leading to incessant hunger. We have no choice but to borrow more, perpetuating the vicious cycle. This has to stop. It’s time to transform global public finance to pave the way for a fairer, more stable future for all.”

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee: “Climate, conflict and poverty are closely linked – the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected states are often the most climate-vulnerable. To end extreme poverty and unlock sustainable development, G20 leaders should back financial architecture reform, deliver more concessional finance via the World Bank’s International Development Association, and work with civil society to ensure the money gets to where it’s needed most.”

The letter – also signed by Save The Children, ONE Campaign, Oxfam, Project Everyone and Christian Aid – urges the leaders of the world’s major economies to seize the opportunity of reform.

“Change is already underway. The architects of the World Bank and the IMF earned their place in history. This is your chance to fulfil their promise: to transform these instruments for peace and prosperity and truly set them to work in our common interest.”

  • The letter is available here.
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