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Joint Statement on Development and Related Economic Policy Issues

22 October 2004

By the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the President of the WorldBank, and the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, 22 October, 2004

1. This afternoon, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council
of Churches (WCC), Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank
Group, and Mr Agustín Carstens, Deputy Managing Director of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), met together at the headquarters of the World Council
of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss matters of common interest,
particularly development and related economic policy issues. Mr Rodrigo de
Rato, Managing Director of the IMF, was unable to participate in the meeting
because of an official commitment, but met with Rev. Kobia earlier in the
day. These meetings of the heads of the three organizations, in which a number
of other representatives of the WCC and staff of the World Bank and IMF
participated, followed several preparatory meetings held since May 2002. The
series of meetings were initiated by correspondence expressing the wish of the
managements of the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) to engage in dialogue
with the WCC to improve mutual understanding of the organizations'
work in development. Reviewing the discussions held since February 2003,
including today's meetings, and looking forward, the leaders of the three organizations
issue the following statement.

2. These discussions have been significant and useful. The WCC and BWIs have
improved their mutual understanding of their positions on development and
related issues. Areas of common ground but also differences of view have been
identified. (See paper on "Common Ground and Differences of View between
the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and World Bank) and the World Council
of Churches", prepared by the staff involved in the discussions and attached).
Central to the common ground is the fight against global poverty — particularly
the extreme poverty that remains all too prevalent in much of the world.
We all agree that poverty reduction at the pace that is needed requires policies
to improve both economic growth and equity. We all emphasize the importance
of keeping the focus of the global agenda, national leaders, and international
organizations on the objective of poverty reduction.

3. In particular, at the present time, we all agree on the importance of the UN
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which focus on eradicating extreme
poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender
equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal
health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental
sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.

4. While each of our organizations can best serve the MDGs and the objective
of poverty reduction that they represent by working in the respective areas of
our mandates, responsibilities, and expertise, we believe that more can be
achieved in making progress to our shared goals by improved communication
and cooperation between the BWIs and the WCC, including through policy
dialogue, case studies and advocacy, which can help increase the effectiveness
of the international fight against poverty.

5. We agree on the need for sharing experience further on a range of policy issues
of common concern, on some of which the BWIs and WCC have differences
of view, including development issues such as approaches to development,
financial markets, and the impact of globalization, along with economic policy
issues such as those relating to macroeconomic stabilization, government
budgets, and international trade.

6. The three organizations are committed to a continuing dialogue to increase
further their understanding of their respective experience and learning, as well
as to build stronger alliances where appropriate. A key instrument for the continuing
dialogue will be a series of country and sector case studies.