World Bank Spring Meeting

Development Minister Müller calls on World Bank to change tack and "move away from free trade to fair trade"

Ursula Müller (Executive Director), World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Federal Minister Gerd Müller

19.04.2015 |

Washington D.C. – At the end of the spring meeting of the World Bank, Germany's Development Minister Gerd Müller called upon the World Bank to work on furthering fair working conditions worldwide.

"As the largest development finance institution, the World Bank has considerable influence and the ability to change the lives of millions of people worldwide for the better, by moving away from free trade to fair trade. And I wish to see the World Bank making a significant move in that direction. To achieve this, we need first and foremost to have clearly defined environmental and social safeguards. The World Bank is going through a process of reform in order to evolve these. Following international pressure, also from Germany, the Bank is now making good headway in this respect and is responding to mistakes made in the past. For safeguards are only good if they are actually put into practice. I am confident that the World Bank Group has learned some lessons, such as: directives are useful, but to monitor them is even more useful."

Minister Müller took the opportunity during the "Development Committee", in which the 25 governors of the World Bank met with World Bank President Jim Kim, IMF President Christine Lagarde and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in order to call for a new partnership between industrialised countries, emerging economies and developing countries. He also called for backing for the new goal of a more fairly distributed "shared prosperity".

"In addition, we must address what is probably the biggest problem ever in the history of humanity: climate change.  Sustainability must become the World Bank's 'leitmotiv', meaning that it will not make any more investments in activities that damage the environment or have a harmful effect on the climate. We need to invest in a sustainable future, not a fossil past."

This year's spring meeting of the World Bank focused primarily on the issue of how to fund development and the fight against global poverty in future.

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