The global multilateral lenders were called on to establish a separate fund designated to be used in cases of epidemics, which could incite mass scale destruction into mankind and irreparable damage to those economies at large.
Releasing a statement at the end of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings last week, the Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors (The Committee) urged both institutions to explore the possibility of forming a ‘Pandemic Financing Facility’ with the coordination of other international organizations.
The objective of such a financial facility is to, “mobilize and leverage public and private resources, including insurance mechanisms, to help countries receive rapid funding in the face of an outbreak based on strong preparedness plans”.
The United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) in recent times came under severe flack due to its slow reaction to combat the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa which claimed at least 5,000 lives so far.
But WHO passes the blame on 194 contributing governments and its members for not raising its dues in decades. The global financial crisis has pummeled the organization by stripping of US$ 1 billion in funds and 1,000 bright minds.
If the world needs a stronger WHO, the organization says the governments need to plow more money into it.
Under this background, it appears that the suggestion by the Committee could not have come at a better time in a bid to create a financial resource pool by the financially richest multi-lateral lenders dominating the globe.
They also commended the IMF for its support to Ebola-affected countries and for creating the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust.
Meanwhile the Committee is looking forward to the renewed gender strategy by the World Bank Group later this year in order to accelerate gender equality as it is key to sustainable development.
While Sri Lanka is leading the South Asian pack in many of its gender related matrices, a lot still remains to be done in spheres of politics and corporate governance.
Further the Committee welcomed the efforts by the World Bank Group members, International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency to deepen local financial markets and improve the policy and regulatory environments to address risk, and catalyze investment from traditional and non-traditional, institutional and other public and private investment sources and the development of innovative solutions to global challenges.
IFC in recent times significantly increased its investments in Sri Lankan corporates.
The Committee also stressed that the international community taking a longer term view will set the development vision and agenda for the next 15 years this year. The third Conference on Financing for Development which is scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa in July, will determine the framework for financing the Post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals.