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Joseph Stiglitz, Mr. Paul Collier, Mr. Dani Rodrik, Willem Gunning, Jeffrey Sachs, and Eisuke Sakakibara

Over the past fifty years, the approach to development assistance has undergone a major shift, moving from a narrow focus on macroeconomic stabilization and liberalization to a comprehensive framework, encompassing all aspects of the economy—including social and environmental issues and poverty reduction—and tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. Along with this comprehensive approach has come the recognition that ownership of the development process has to lie with the people and their government, not solely with donors or the aid-dispensing agencies. Much of the discussion at the Annual [World] Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE), held in Washington on April 18-20, centered on these new directions for development assistance, partnership, and cooperation at the national and international levels. Following are some highlights from the conference.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

A panel of leading economists grappled with the effects of the financial turmoil triggered by the crisis in the U.S. housing market in a seminar on globalization on October 19, one of three seminars on economic-related issues during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Climate change is likely to have an adverse impact on economic growth over the long run and will set back efforts to help the poorest countries unless the international community takes decisive action, IMF Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato told the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia.

Sanjay Kalra

Gross National Happiness—a concept closely identified with the tiny landlocked Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan—may draw a chuckle, but its four pillars— sustainable and equitable socioeconomic development, environmental conservation, cultural preservation and promotion, and good governance—form a large part of what sensible nations aspire to. This philosophy of holistic development has guided Bhutan now for over three decades of general political stability. This stability—and substantial external assistance, including from its large neighbor India—has fostered measured change, economic growth, modernization, and integration into the international community even as Bhutan has sought to overcome the constraints of a difficult terrain and limited natural resources.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In many countries, poverty and environmental problems are mutually reinforcing. The only way to break this vicious cycle is to promote sustainable economic growth, which is one of the IMF’s core objectives. To highlight possibilities for sustainable growth and environmentally friendly policies, the Statistics Department and the IMF Institute hosted a seminar on the environment and its implications for the IMF. The immediate motivation for the seminar was a new handbook on environmental accounting: Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting 2003 (IEEA, 2003), now in its final draft version. Five international organizations—the United Nations (UN), the European Commission, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank—worked with the London Group on Environmental Accounting (mainly composed of national statisticians with an interest in environmental accounts) to draft and publish the handbook. Adriaan Bloem and Russel Freeman, both from the IMF’s Statistics Department, give an account of the seminar’s main findings.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

On March 18, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus addressed a conference in Abuja, Nigeria, entitled “Nigeria: The Way Forward,” in which he described the IMF’s perspective on supporting Nigeria’s economic recovery. Following are edited excerpts of his remarks.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is an edited version of a speech delivered by IMF Deputy Managing Director Eduardo Aninat at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York on July 5.

Mr. Subir Lall

Heightened expectations of a slowdown in the U.S. economy; a downgrading of the long-run earnings potential of the technology, media, and telecom sector; and a deterioration in U.S. credit markets all took their toll on emerging bond and equity markets in the last quarter of 2000. In addition to analyzing the consequences of these developments, the latest issue of Emerging Market Financing, which is published quarterly and forms part of the IMF’s surveillance over international capital markets, also discusses the outlook for emerging market financing this year and the potential risks, notably those that would be engendered if the U.S. economy were to slow sharply. The report also examines episodes of contagion and periods of drought in emerging bond markets—two salient features of emerging markets financing.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

At a February 12 seminar organized by the World Bank and the IMF, Sir Nicholas Stern urged the two institutions to take on a greater role in mitigating climate change caused by human induced global warming. Stern, a former Chief Economist at the World Bank who led a review into climate change for the U.K. government, said it is still possible to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But the window for capping the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 450–550 parts per million (ppm) CO2 is closing fast. The current level stands at 430 ppm—concentrations that have already caused a rise in the earth’s temperature by more than half a degree Celsius, according to the Stern review on the economics of climate change, published in 2006.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Does economic growth have morally beneficial consequences? Celebrated economists and philosophers like Adam Smith and John Rawls have long recognized the connection between economics and morality. In his new book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Harvard University professor Benjamin Friedman argues that materialism and morality are not at odds with each other, that economic growth yields benefits far beyond the material, and that economic growth and moral growth go hand in hand, reinforcing each other. At a February 8 Book Forum sponsored by the IMF, panelists Sebastian Mallaby (The Washington Post), Nigel Ashford (George Mason University), Simon Johnson (MIT), and moderator the Reverend Andrew Small (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) joined Friedman for a debate on economic growth, morality, and policy.