The UN at the World Bank – IMF Spring Meetings

The World Bank – IMF Spring Meetings brought together world leaders from the UN, government, private sector and civil society to address the world’s most pressing and persistent challenges.  We were there.  Here is why and what happened.

UN-World Bank Partnership

On his first visit to Washington as United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres highlighted the continued importance of the UN-World Bank relationship.

Addressing Fragility

Secretary-General Guterres and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim unveiled a partnership framework to build resilience and sustain peace in conflict areas  As laid out in a joint statement, the framework is in response to global calls for the two institutions to work more closely together on prevention and reducing needs, risks, and vulnerability as the world faces a spike in violent conflict.  The two leaders discussed the UN-World Bank partnership earlier in the day at a flagship event: Financing for Peace: Innovations to Tackle Fragility.


Gender Equity

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed joined Christine Lagarde of the IMF and Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam for a high-level discussion of women’s economic empowerment. The Deputy Secretary-General said that while we know what the solutions look like, we will only realize them if women are involved in all levels of the decision making process.  A video of the event is available here: Gender and Macroeconomics: What’s Next?



The Deputy Secretary-General sat down with the World Bank on Facebook.


The Sustainable Development Goals

The President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed joined a discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals. The event, Implementing the 2030 Agenda: From Commitment to Action, covered a wide range of issues including private sector involvement, data collection and financing. The World Bank highlighted the SDG Atlas, which measures the progress societies are making towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals


Photos from the World Bank – IMF Spring Meetings

World Bank Spring Meetings 2017

Senior United Nations officials attended the 2017 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF. 



Public events with senior UN officials

Partners’ Roundtable on Investing in the Early Years: Identifying Synergies and Catalyzing Action
Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director
Building Resilience in the Face of Increasing Threats
Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
Gender and Macroeconomics: What’s Next?
Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Implementing the 2030 Agenda: From Commitment to Action
Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Peter Thomson, President, United Nations General Assembly
Toward Water and Sanitation for All
Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
Boosting Women’s Economic Empowerment
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director
FRIDAY – APRIL 21, 2017
Addressing Refugee Crises in Middle-Income Countries: Lessons Learned
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Financing for Peace: Innovations to Tackle Fragility
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
Unlocking Financing for Climate Action
Erik Solheim, UNEP Executive Director

Addressing ‘fragility’ of societies key to preventing conflicts, stresses UN chief

Addressing ‘fragility’ of societies key to preventing conflicts, stresses UN chief

Noting that a key trigger common to nearly all conflicts is the element of fragility – fragility of States, of institutions, or of societies – United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has called for increasing investments in preventative measures that address the problem of fragility before it turns into conflict.

“This means strengthening States, strengthening institutions, strengthening civil societies [and] combining the peace and security approach with the inclusive and sustainable development approach and with human rights,” explained Mr. Guterres, speaking at a World Bank-European Union event in Washington DC, where the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are holding their annual Spring Meetings.

In his remarks at the panel discussion on , the UN chief noted that the traditional forms of development aid are not enough and said that new approaches that create the conditions for investments in building resilience of communities and addressing fragility is needed.

He also praised the World Bank for the innovations it has already in place in countries like Jordan and Lebanon, to help them cope with the refugee crisis in the region.

“In my opinion, this is essential and, [given the scale of needs] should also include the private sector,” he said, adding that it is essential to find ways to divert the massive use of resources in managing crises to what is necessary to do to prevent them and to build the capacity of societies to solve their own problems.

Prior to attending the panel discussion, Secretary-General Guterres met with top United States officials, including President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster at the White House.

According to the UN chief’s spokesperson, Mr. Guterres and Mr. Trump had constructive discussion on cooperation between the US and the UN and agreed to meet again in the near future.

Also today, Secretary-General Guterres joined the High-level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child as its third and senior Co-Chair, joining Co-Chairs President Michelle Bachelet, of Chile, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, of Ethiopia, alternate Co-Chairs former Presidents Tarja Halonen, of Finland, and Jakaya Kikwete, of Tanzania, as well as other 16 members of the Group.

“In a time of complex development challenges, the investments we make today in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing will help build the peaceful, sustainable and inclusive societies we have promised to achieve through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” affirmed Mr. Guterres.

“Peace cannot exist without development and development cannot exist without health and wellbeing, for healthy and empowered women, children and adolescents can bring about the change needed to create a better future for all,” he added.

As a global multi-stakeholder partnership, Every Woman Every Child, launched in 2010, provides a unique platform to unite stakeholders across sectors to deliver on an integrated agenda for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing.

“Every Woman Every Child welcomes the UN Secretary-General as Co-Chair of the High-level Steering Group, as we work together to ensure that global advocacy is translated into local action and impact for results,” Steering Group Co-Chair President Bachelet of Chile noted, highlighting that the movement is ready for its next phase under the leadership of the Secretary-General.

UN seeks more ‘cost-effective’ flight logistics in peacekeeping, political missions

UN seeks more ‘cost-effective’ flight logistics in peacekeeping, political missions

Secretary-General António Guterres today launched an initiative to boost efficiency of United Nations planes and flights, as it was revealed that the Organization spent close to $750 million from 2015 to 2016 on air assets in its peacekeeping and political missions.

“While these assets provide essential logistics and military enabling capabilities, given their significant cost implications, the Secretary-General has asked the heads of field missions to systematically analyze and adjust the composition and utilization of their air fleet and to seek alternative solutions that may be more cost-effective,” UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York.

Immediate changes include reducing fleets, limiting passenger movement to essential needs and cutting the number of non-mission passengers traveling on UN flights, and reducing the number of special flights.

The UN currently deploys 58 fixed-wing and 157 rotary-wing aircraft in 12 peacekeeping missions and 6 special political missions, the Spokesperson said.

The effort to reduce costs is being led by the Department of Field Support, which provides logistical support to the Department of Peacekeeping and the Department of Political Affairs.

The policy change is part of the Secretariat’s “ongoing review of costs and the use of resources provided by Member States,” the Spokesperson added.

UN blue helmets and Malian forces targeted in ‘cowardly’ terrorist attacks

The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali today strongly condemned the “cowardly” attacks that took place against its personnel as well as members of the national armed forces, and voiced deep concern at ongoing insecurity in the northern and central parts of the country.

Early this morning, a vehicle belonging to the peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) struck an improvised explosive device or mine about 30 kilometres south of Tessalit in the Kidal region, according to a news release issued by the mission. Two peacekeepers and one civilian were seriously injured; the vehicle, part of an escort of a logistics convoy, was damaged.

Also today, unidentified armed men targeted positions of the Malian Armed Forces and the National Guard at Gourma Rharous, located about 120 kilometres east of Timbuktu, according to the mission.

MINUSMA deployed its attack helicopters to the site in support of the Malian Forces and facilitated the medical evacuation of the wounded by air.

“There is hardly a day when reports of abominable acts of terrorism committed by the enemies of peace and the enemies of this country and its people are not received,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, calling the attacks “cowardly.”

“Their real target is the failure of the peace process and their goal is to impose the reign of violence and chaos,” he said, adding that the UN remains more committed than ever to support the Malian authorities and the country’s defense and security forces.

Mr. Annadif also stressed the need for all Malian parties to redouble their efforts to advance the peace process.