Ministers and Governors, Managing Director Lagarde, President Kim and distinguished colleagues, welcome to the 93rd Ministerial meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development.
I am very pleased to welcome you all here to Washington, D.C. I am Alain Bifani, Director General of the Ministry of Finance of Lebanon and I am here representing Minister Ali Hasan El Khalil, who unfortunately cannot be with us today. At the table with me is Andres Escobar, Vice-Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia, serving as First Vice-Chair, and Mr. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Ethiopia, as Second Vice-Chair.
You all have the agenda for the meeting in front of you. I would like to propose one minor change, such that we discuss the communiqué before the ‘Deputies Report and Administrative Matters’, in the interests of finalizing it for circulation as early as possible. Unless there are any objections, may I suggest we proceed as I proposed?
Colleagues, while the global recovery is picking up in most large economies, it remains moderate and uneven across major economies and regions. It is, therefore, clear that collective actions to support global demand and boost confidence and investment are crucial in order to avoid a future of mediocre growth. In the short term, we need to be mindful of the potential for even greater volatility and spillovers resulting from monetary policy normalization.
At the same time, profound development challenges persist across all countries and regions. There has never been a more important time for us to cooperate to reach our common goals, and in the year ahead, the global community will convene to articulate our development aspirations and climate targets that will shape our sustainable development goals (SDGs) over the coming decades. Underpinning these goals must be an ambitious yet credible financing framework to guide individual country actions and collective endeavors. This is one of the main topics of our discussion today, and is a crucial issue for both the Group and the entire international community at this time.
Given that Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors are going to be key implementers of the post-2015 development agenda and financing framework, the G-24 is well placed to engage in the current and upcoming global discussions on this topic with the support of the international community.
Before beginning the discussions, I would like to take the opportunity to call attention to the widespread economic and social impact that my own country of Lebanon has been facing as a result of the influx of Syrian refugees in numbers equal to 50% of the population, an unprecedented occurrence in relative terms. We stress the urgent need for continued support and resources from the international community in order to address these profound challenges.
With that by way of background, I would like to now turn to three of our Ministers to begin the discussions and pose questions to Managing Director Lagarde and President Kim.