Speech by minister Schreinemacher at the World Bank Group

Speech by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher at the meeting of the Development Committee of the World Bank Group, April 22, 2022 in Washington

Madam Chair, president Malpass, managing director Georgieva, ladies and gentlemen,

Our constituency condemns the unjustified and illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. It has led to an unnecessary toll of terrible human suffering and destruction. This was supposed to be a year of celebration, since Ukraine and several other countries in our constituency joined the Bank 30 years ago this August and September. Since then they have made enormous progress with the help of the Bank and others. Instead it has become a year of senseless tragedy and setbacks. 

It is very relevant to discuss the Russian invasion here. Not only does it wreak devastation on Ukraine, it also leads to serious worldwide setbacks for achieving the SDGs, while the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt. In the region we will see negative growth and uncertainty about the future that could dim the prospects of new generations. Worldwide the poorest risk again being hit hard, as a food crisis is looming.
I salute the authorities of Ukraine for their perseverance in keeping their country running during these most difficult times. I am also pleased to see the presence of a high level delegation, safe and sound, for the high level round table for the support of Ukraine.

Ukraine, a member of our constituency, needs the Bank’s full support, in cooperation with other multilaterals and European institutions. So do several other countries within our constituency that are also affected by the impact of the war, as they are hosting refugees and weathering the economic storm. Meanwhile we should stand ready to support those countries and communities that are affected worldwide by the economic fall out of the invasion.
We thank the Bank and IDA deputies for the quick response and making resources available to Ukraine, and we welcome the recent endorsement by IDA deputies to make resources available to Ukraine and Moldova under IDA19.

Our constituency supports the Bank’s proposed roadmap for the response to the global impacts of the war in Ukraine. We appreciate the Bank’s holistic approach, which includes direct support to Ukraine and the wider region, as well as a response to the worldwide economic and social spillover impacts of the war. This approach is true to the calling of the Bretton Woods institutions. We need to step up our efforts to help cushion the blow for the poorest countries and the poorest people.

Obviously I have focused today on a very pressing issue to our constituency and the world. At the same time, we of course should not forget the other compounding crises and challenges in particular for the poorest countries and people, in which the Bank must play its role.

We therefore welcome the proposals on debt and on digitalization and development, as well as the discussion yesterday on staying engaged in fragile, conflict and violence affected countries. We commented on these issues in our written statement. We also continue to encourage the Bank to fight climate change, including through increased support for adaptation, which will help the most vulnerable communities in the world cope.
May peace prevail soon in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Thank you.