Global crisis imperils development goals: IMF-World Bank

April 24th, 2009 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 24 (IANS) The global financial crisis is imperilling the UN Millennium Development Goals and could hamper development, warned an International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank report released Friday.

Most of the eight globally agreed goals are unlikely to be met by the targeted 2015, including those related to hunger, child and maternal mortality, education and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases, the report said.

‘The Global Monitoring Report 2009: A Development Emergency’, warns that although the first goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 from its 1990 level is still reachable based on current projections, risks abound.

New estimates show that more than half of all developing countries could experience a rise in the number of extreme poor in 2009. This proportion is likely to be still higher among low-income countries and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa - two-thirds and three-quarters, respectively.

The report also estimates that an additional 55 to 90 million people will be trapped in extreme poverty in 2009 due to the worldwide recession.

The number of chronically hungry people is expected to climb to over one billion this year, reversing gains in fighting malnutrition and making the need to invest in agriculture especially urgent.

“With simultaneous recessions striking all major regions, the likelihood of painfully slow recoveries in many countries is very real, making the fight against poverty more challenging and more urgent,” said IMF deputy managing director John Lipsky.

The crisis will affect all developing countries over the next two years, through contracting export volumes, lower prices, slowing domestic demand, declining remittances and foreign investment, reduced access to financing, and shrinking revenues.

Developing world growth is projected to fall to 1.6 percent in 2009, from an average of 8.1 percent in 2006-07, according to new IMF projections. Global output, meanwhile, is projected to contract by 1.3 percent this year.

“Worldwide, we have an enormous loss of wealth and financial stability,” said World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin.

“Millions more people will lose their jobs in 2009, and urgent funding must be provided for social safety nets, infrastructure, and small businesses in poor countries, for a sustainable recovery.”

The IMF-World Bank report cautions that while the crisis calls for a special focus on social protection programmes and services that shield poor and vulnerable people from immediate hardship, it is also vital to speed up progress toward the human development goals, particularly those related to health where prospects are gravest.

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