The intrinsic links between climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated global calls for policymakers to take immediate action on both fronts. Fiscal stimulus supporting recovery from the pandemic can be designed to simultaneously address climate change. In turn, this could help reduce the spread of future pandemics as climate change is a threat multiplier for pandemics. Destruction of the environment and biodiversity makes pandemics more likely while pollution and other man-made factors driving climate change weaken the health of human beings, raising their vulnerability to viruses and other diseases.
Every second, the region has averaged 106 new internet users.1 This fast-paced digital revolution holds the promise of transforming economies and people’s lives. It takes on added importance as countries across the region grapple with the unprecedented health and socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. All policy levers are being deployed to protect lives and livelihoods. Digital solutions have helped to provide more resilience and allowed for rapid, flexible, and inclusive policy responses to the pandemic.
Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis. One that threatens to throw the region off its stride, reversing the encouraging development progress of recent years. Furthermore, by exacting a heavy human toll, upending livelihoods, and damaging business and government balance sheets, the crisis threatens to slow the region’s growth prospects in the years to come. Previous crises tended to affect countries in the region differentially, but no country will be spared this time.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Devastating Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on March 13, destroying a large share of housing, infrastructure, tourist facilities, crops, and livestock. Estimated damage and losses to the economy exceed 60 percent of GDP.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
On December 24, 2013, a tropical trough system impacted St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The heavy rains resulted in severe floods and landslides, with damages and losses estimated to be equivalent to about 15 percent of GDP. With most of the impact falling on infrastructure, including bridges, roads and hydroelectric facilities, emergency relief costs and rehabilitation and reconstruction expenses are opening a balance of payments gap in 2014.
Samoa has suffered severe social and economic shocks. The outlook is challenging and subject to considerable uncertainty. Because of the tsunami’s potentially severe impact on tourism, real GDP is likely to contract this financial year. The fiscal strategy to shoulder the rebuilding costs, minimize capacity risks, and ensure fiscal sustainability is appropriate. Prudent management of monetary policy and the basket peg will be critical. The Samoan economy will have to rely on the private sector for growth. Executive Directors welcome the commitment to structural reform.
This paper discusses a request from Samoa's authorities for a Disbursement Under the Rapid-Access Component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility (ESF-RAC). The tsunami that hit Samoa on September 29, 2009 has undercut Samoa’s economic resilience and prospects for a quick recovery from the global recession. Real GDP is likely to contract in 2010. The authorities have requested a disbursement equivalent to 50 percent of quota (SDR 5.8 million) under the IMF’s ESF-RAC. IMF staff supports the request on Samoa’s low public debt and credible commitment to sound macroeconomic policies.
This Climate Change Policy Assessment (CCPA) takes stock of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)’s climate response plans, from the perspective of their macroeconomic and fiscal implications. CCPA explores the possible impact of climate change and natural disasters and the cost of FSM’s planned response. It suggests macroeconomically relevant reforms that could strengthen the national strategy and identifies policy gaps and resource needs. FSM has made progress toward its Nationally Determined Contribution mitigation pledge by beginning to expand renewable power generation and improve its efficiency. The authorities plan to continue this and encourage the take-up of energy efficient building design and appliances. Accelerating adaptation investments is paramount, which requires addressing critical capacity constraints and increasing grant financing. It is recommended that FSM needs to increase its capacity to address natural disaster risks following the expiry of Compact-related assistance in 2023. It is advised to improve climate data collection and use, including on the costs of high and low intensity disasters and disaster response expenditure.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper sets out options to demonstrate how the authorities could supplement their cash balance target and public debt limit with an anchor to help discipline annual budget decisions. The paper introduces the current fiscal framework and effective fiscal rules based on international experiences, including the characteristics of each rule. It also discusses the need for a new fiscal anchor, given high revenue volatility, high infrastructure needs, and the country’s exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters. Contingency warrants for unforeseen expenditures, including from natural disasters, should be included in the budget in line with international best practices. Furthermore, if a disaster does not occur, this allocation could be saved in a contingency fund for natural disasters, which would enable swift disbursement in the aftermath of the disaster. The fund would be set up once fiscal buffers have been rebuilt. The IMF Staff suggests a target for the overall fiscal deficit of 1.5 percent of gross domestic product as a possible fiscal anchor, which would strike a balance between safeguarding debt sustainability and addressing the severe infrastructure gap.