World Bank Group announces comprehensive suite of crisis response measures

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The World Bank Group has announced a range of new and expanded initiatives at the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact. These measures are intended to provide countries with the necessary tools to respond promptly and effectively to an increasing number of crises.

Ajay Banga, speaking at the summit, disclosed an all-encompassing toolkit for crisis readiness, response, and recovery. This approach includes the provision of debt repayment relief, redirection of funding, fostering stronger links between crisis preparedness and financing, fortification of development projects through private sector support, and the creation of enhanced catastrophe insurance that does not contribute to national debt.

Operating with a mission to eradicate poverty and foster sustainable living, the World Bank Group is committed to enhancing global readiness for any form of threat. The group aims to achieve this through sharing expertise, fortifying resilience, and promoting risk insurance.

The proposed toolkit comprises the following elements:

Climate Resilient Debt Clauses: In an effort to ease financial stress during crises, the World Bank Group is launching the ‘Climate Resilient Debt Clauses’. This measure will afford the most vulnerable nations a pause in debt repayments during times of crisis or catastrophe, enabling them to focus on their immediate needs. The initiative will initially be available to the most vulnerable clients, with a plan to expand coverage through iterative learning and collaboration.

Rapid Response Options: To ensure immediate cash access during emergencies, the World Bank Group is introducing a new rapid response option. This will allow all client countries to quickly reallocate a part of their lending portfolio for urgent needs during a crisis, such as redeploying unspent funds in longer-term infrastructure projects for immediate disaster response.

Advanced-Emergency Systems: To assist governments in building comprehensive emergency systems, the World Bank Group will increasingly link preventative and preparatory investments with financing for catastrophe and crisis response support. The organisation will also amplify its expert advice and analytical support to all countries, aiming to aid the design of a crisis preparedness and response financing strategy.

Backstop Insurance for Development Projects: The World Bank Group will expand its tools to better support private sector clients in crisis readiness and response, enabling businesses to maintain operations, protect employment, and build resilience. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency is partnering with the private insurance industry, through the Insurance Development Forum, to create an innovative parametric insurance product. Additionally, the International Finance Corporation has designed a private sector-led crisis response solution to mitigate the impact of climate change-induced natural disasters.

Enhanced Catastrophe Insurance: Building on its existing catastrophe insurance solutions like Cat Bonds, the World Bank Group will give all nations the option to incorporate catastrophe insurance into lending products. To make these products affordable for lower-income countries, the group will collaborate with donors, creating funds that can help lower insurance premiums, offering resources to disaster-struck countries without exacerbating their debt.

As a result of these combined initiatives, billions of dollars could be mobilised globally for crisis response, offering much-needed resilience against a broad spectrum of threats and helping secure a more sustainable future for all.

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