World Bank - International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings 2016 | Washington, DC (October 7-9 2016)
Written by Head Delegate: Cerina Lee
From October 3-9, 2016, five Canadian Youth delegates attended the IMF/WB Annual Meetings in Washington, DC - led by Head Delegate, Cerina Lee. Delegates Cerina Lee, Isabelle Duchaine (Communications Coordinator) and Nicholas Schiavo attended the meetings from October 2, 2016, then were joined by Daniel Sorek on October 5, 2016 and finally, Andrej Litvinjenko on October 6, 2016. As only three delegates were present for the first few days of the meetings, our team strived to cover as much ground as possible in the numerous sessions that were provided by the Civil Society Forum, IMF and the World Bank.
Delegates were asked to choose their own sessions of interest, depending on their academic and work experience background. Since all of our delegates came from different backgrounds, this was great for covering different panels and sessions that could draw out the academic/work experience strengths of each delegate. The panels attended were also dependent on which advocacy briefs had been assigned prior to the Meetings - each delegate were assigned minimum 2 advocacy/meeting briefs to prepare in advance. Although the Civil Society Forum panel sessions were helpful in delving into specific issues, the Flagship panels were decided to be the most informative for the delegates (and were also attended by large numbers of participants and high-level stakeholders).
Concurrently, our team had a series of external scheduled meetings with influential leaders and high-level stakeholders throughout the week. Our team had to be flexible and adaptable with our schedule as some of these meetings overlapped with the panel sessions that we had originally intended on attending. This made it challenging to connect our prepared advocacy briefs to the actual session as we could not attend the panel. However, the stakeholder meetings were extremely informative, helpful and engaging as it was an opportunity for our delegates to ask questions, connect with influential government leaders and learn about international advocacy.
Key successes of the Meetings included meeting new delegates (Australia), connecting with high-level stakeholders, successfully discussing key issues in policy, and building rapport with them. Some challenges included miscommunication of Meeting dates, challenges in getting the team delegation altogether, and also some clarity in the expectations of delegates (which sessions must be mandatory to attend versus optional).
Key Forum Session Attended
Meeting with Canadian advisors working in the Executive Director’s office
Tina Gaddy - Associate Director of Employer Relations and Programming at George Washington University
● Opportunities at GWU on higher education for International Affairs
● What employers look for in applicants
● Job hunting & recruiters
The Trillion Dollar Challenge: A New Business Model to Finance the SDGs (New America)
● Exploring the role of private finance in boosting growth and development
Innovation and Livelihood Opportunities for Refugees
● Delegate asked if Canada’s “private sponsorship model” for refugees is viable at a global level.
Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Nutrition: How Civil Society Can Take Action and Keep Governments Accountable
● Make severe acute malnutrition a political and public health priority
● Develop effective ways to prevent acute malnutrition
● Mobilize more funding towards prevention
Meeting with Ambassador Jennifer Loten Permanent Mission
Meeting with Economic Counsellor Hussein Hirji Canadian Embassy
From Billions to Trillions: Combining Commercial Capital with Development Needs
Making Infrastructure Rewarding
● Use of productivity enhancing infrastructure within Canada / Liberal government investments hailed as important model for other states
Fiscal Policy in the New Normal
● Other governments urged to follow Canada’s model of increased spending, given existing levels of ‘fiscal space’
The Governance Gap: Why Does Half the World Distrust Government and What Can We Do About It?
● Making public policy and decision making processes more transparent by engaging civil society.
CNN Debate on the Global Economy
● Delegate asked: What previous time in history are you basing your forecasts off when supporting increased infrastructure investment and what are the risks to such a plan? Furthermore, what are tangible steps that can be taken to increase innovation?
Equity, Inclusion and Education: Examining Evidence on Low-Fee Private Schools
● Develop national plans to finance provide universal access to free, quality, public education
● Strengthen governance and equity
● Further pursuit of privatisation will undermine credible alternative of public funding
Adaptive Learning in Practice: What Are we Learning?
● CSO effectively reform how education is reformed and financed
● Ensure quality education for all citizens.
● Education is one of strongest tools for reducing inequality
Borrow without Sorrow: Managing Debt in a Volatile Global Economy
● Emerging market economies highlighted the importance of maintaining high credit ratings to support fiscal and development goals
● Managing debt denominated in USD is made easier by having deep capital markets and a strong investor base
● Economies should be aware that China’s role as a trading partner has historically made fiscal policy sustainable and countries should diversify their exposure
Asia in the Evolving International Monetary System
● China and Asia are no longer just “actors” in the international monetary system - they are leaders.
● States and institutions need to become more flexible to working within the Asian context.
Great Expectations: The Test of Multilateralism
● Can multilateralism (and free trade) work within the Trump-Brexit climate of isolationism? Yes - but there must be more inclusive policies and institutions must keep pace with modernization.
Inequality: Managing the Impact of Globalization and Technology
● Overall globalization has had tremendous benefits for the world’s poorest but has also had an impact on middle class wages and quality of life within developed states.
● It's about redistribution of wealth, not protectionism.
Overcoming Fragility: Why Jobs Are Key
● Without job creation, developing states cannot hope to pursue economic growth.
● Agriculture sector proving to be a strong source of sustainable job creation.
Government bonds and responsible finance
● Are sovereign bonds a prudent liquidity tool for Sub-Saharan economies (particularly commodity exporters)
● How can sovereign bonds be better regulated?
New Methods for a New Century: Planning for Energy Security and Energy Access in the Modern Era
● Misleading panel description - dealt exclusively with energy security/access issues on micro-scale
● Discussion of various projects around the world to help local communities develop practical energy security/access strategies and infrastructure
Toward A More Integrated East Asia - Economic Corridors and Infrastructure Connectivity
● Building infrastructure insufficient to ensure growth, must also ensure the infrastructure is efficient, ex: you could build more customs toll booths at the border to reduce wait times on goods but you can also streamline and improve regulations to make the existing process quicker
The Shifting Global Economic and Political Landscape: Intersection or Fragmentation?
● Delegate asked question on definition of “elites”
Financial Inclusion Not Exclusion: Managing De-Risking (WBG)
● Private sector success and progress toward Universal Financial Access
● Inclusivity continues to be a financial challenge
Accelerating Action on Universal Health Coverage: How to Increase Public Financing and End Out of Pocket Spending
● All developing countries can afford to increase their spending on health by making different policy decisions
● Decisions on tax and spending are vital
Trade: An Engine of Growth for All
● Featured Canadian Minister of of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland
Meeting with Minister Bibeau
● International advocacy experiences
● Importance of being engaged domestically and internationally
● The meaning of being a young diplomat
One on One with Christine Lagarde: Michael Lewis
● Frank discussion on whether the 2008 financial crisis had changed culture in financial institutions (public and private)