At this weekend's IMF and World Bank spring meetings, Global ministers warned that the economic crisis risks derailing the MDGs and, in the closing communiqué, "urged donors to accelerate delivery of commitments to increase aid, and for us all to consider going beyond existing commitments." But, in the end, they did very little to provide immediate relief to the world's poorest.
The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War Two, with growth at least 5 percentage points below potential. World Bank forecasts show that global industrial production by the middle of 2009 could be as much as 15 percent lower than levels in 2008. World trade is on track in 2009 to record its largest decline in 80 years, with the sharpest losses in East Asia.This is especially troubling for those least responsible for the crisis -- the extreme poor. The study goes on to warn of financing shortfalls of anywhere between $270-700 billion as commodity prices continue to decline, global trade collapses, trade finance and private capital flows dry up and remittances drop. The poorest countries lack the social safety nets to deal with the crisis and are becoming increasingly dependent on overseas development assistance.