World Bank, IMF Warn Global Recession Could Cause ‘Human Calamity,’ Meeting MDGs Unlikely
The global financial crisis could "drive more than 50 million people into extreme poverty, particularly women and children," the World Bank and International Monetary Fund warned Sunday at a conference of member countries. Bank officials urged donor nations to continue sending money to avert a "human and development calamity," and to honor and expand commitments made before the crisis deepened last fall, the AP/Forbes reports (Dunphy, AP/Forbes, 4/2).
World Bank President Robert Zoellick also told finance ministers from the bank's 185-member countries that the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were unlikely to be met, according to Reuters. The goals include measures to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and expand primary education everywhere by 2015 (Wroughton, Reuters, 4/26).
A World Bank report (pdf) released in anticipation of Sunday's conference also warned that countries "which depend extensively on external donor HIV/AIDS financing" are particularly vulnerable to financial shortfalls. The supply of life-saving treatments for 1.7 million people with HIV is already in immediate danger in 15 of the poorest countries. "The findings highlight the danger to human lives and of drug resistance following the rapid expansion in HIV treatment to 3.4 [million] people round the world since the start of the decade," writes the Financial Times (Jack, Financial Times, 4/27).
Last fall, ministers and international organizations remained optimistic about the MDGs, when in September the U.N. and international organizations, including the Bank, renewed their pledges to attain those benchmarks. Now, the Bank estimates a financing gap of as much as $700 billion in the developing world and last week announced plans to draw $100 billion from its coffers over three years to help close it, Reuters reports (Reuters, 4/26).
As part of that effort, the Bank will triple its spending on health financing to $3.1 billion this year, according to a press release, and will target infectious disease prevention and treatment efforts, child and maternal health and sanitation. Spending on social protection and safety net programs will rise to $12 billion (World Bank release, 4/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.