Statement on publication of Joint International Financial Institutions Plan to Address Food Insecurity

Washington, DC – May 18, 2022: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva made the following statement today following the publication of a Joint International Financial Institution (IFI) Plan to Address Food Insecurity:

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has precipitated serious economic and social consequences around the globe. Among them, many countries are now facing dangerous food shortages and sharply higher prices for food, energy, and fertilizers. These pressures occur at a time when countries’ public finances are already stretched from the pandemic and public debt burdens are high. With inflation reaching the highest levels seen in decades, vulnerable households in low- and middle-income countries are most at risk of acute food insecurity. And history has shown that hunger often triggers social unrest and violence.

“If we have learned one lesson from the 2007-08 food crisis, it is that the international community needs to take fast and well-coordinated actions to effectively tackle a food crisis, by maintaining open trade, supporting vulnerable households, ensuring sufficient agricultural supply, and addressing financing pressures. I am honored to have been able to work together with the heads of other International Financial Institutions to propose concrete actions. Coordination between us will be critical for the plan to have maximum impact in quickly alleviating food insecurity, especially for the most vulnerable households in the most vulnerable countries.

“Working closely with the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions, the IMF will provide policy advice, capacity development assistance, and financial support to catalyze and complement financing from other institutions. The IMF is investing in its monitoring capacity to allow for timely identification of countries with the most pronounced financing pressures, especially fragile and conflict-affected states, which will particularly be affected by food insecurity.

“The IMF is working with country authorities on macroeconomic frameworks and policy priorities. A critical area of focus is to assist countries in their efforts to rapidly improve social safety nets to protect vulnerable households from the imminent threat of hunger. Helping members identify ways to safeguard food security without resorting to export restrictions has been another priority. These policy objectives are reflected in the IMF’s program engagement. IMF financial support forMoldova (recently augmented to help address the harmful effects of the war) andMozambique, for instance, includes a focus on strengthening social safety nets for vulnerable households.

“The IMF will also bring to bear its newResilience and Sustainability Trust, which will provide affordable longer-term financing for countries facing structural challenges, while countries with acute financing needs could access IMF emergency financing, where appropriate. The IMF is intensifying efforts with the World Bank and others to support debt restructurings where needed.”

Background: Following a meeting of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and global leaders convened by the US Treasury on April 19 “Tackling Food Insecurity: the challenges and call to action,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have worked together to formulate a joint action plan to address food insecurity. According to the plan, published today, the IFIs will pursue actions to step up, surge, and scale their work across six priority goals: (i) support vulnerable people; (ii) promote open trade; (iii) mitigate fertilizer shortages; (iv) support food production now; (v) invest in climate-resilient agriculture for the future; and (vi) coordinate for maximum impact.

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