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Posted: Thursday 18 April, 2024 at 2:04 PM

IMF Managing Director affirms continuity in climate resilience criteria for vulnerable nations

By: Staff Reporter at the IMF/World Bank,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- THE Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, confirmed that there are currently no plans to alter the qualifying criteria for climate-vulnerable countries to access the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). The RST aims to assist low-income and vulnerable middle-income countries in building resilience to external shocks and ensuring sustainable growth.


    Concerns have persistently arisen regarding the eligibility criteria for various IMF and World Bank programs, particularly for vulnerable small island states such as those within the Caribbean region, including St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua-Barbuda, and Barbuda, to qualify under these initiatives.


    When questioned about potential changes during a media conference on Thursday (Apr. 18), Georgieva disclosed that a review of the RST's performance is underway. She noted that any changes would be implemented based on the outcome of this review and if a consensus is reached.


    Georgieva addressed concerns about removing the current program's qualifying requirements, stating that there is currently no justification for such action. She elaborated on two main reasons for maintaining the existing criteria:


    "...because for us to help countries integrate climate in their macro policies, it is helpful to have an active and intense engagement on macro policies overall. So when we plug recommendations on climate policies, be it mitigation or adaptation or transition, we do it in a context of intense engagement with the country and that makes our job likely to be more impactful."


    "Two, right now we have many programs, both financing and non-financial programs, and more countries are coming to us. Sometimes they don't need money, but they do want to use the fund as an anchor for their macro policies.”


    Georgieva highlighted the case of Iraq, which approached the IMF for a non-financial arrangement, stating, "We would like to benefit from the anchoring that you offer."


    She revealed that the IMF has approved 18 programs thus far, with approximately 30 countries expressing interest in both financial and non-financial arrangements. However, she cautioned that the IMF's capacity to respond is already strained, emphasizing the importance of maintaining intensive engagement to effectively assist countries.


    Georgieva acknowledged the positive impact of non-financial arrangements on countries like Barbados and Jamaica, stating, "They are very happy to have these non-financial arrangements because of the attention and expertise it provides."


    The Managing Director asserted the IMF's commitment to maintaining a strong portfolio of programs. She assured that these programs will be continually reviewed and assessed, and changes will be made if deemed necessary.


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