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FEATURE STORY October 15, 2019

Parliamentarians Unite in the Fight Against Inequalities

Parliamentarians Unite in the Fight Against Inequalities

“We are here today to fight together to ensure that no one is left behind.” Ricardo Leite MP, Portugal and Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Network

Sixty-two parliamentarians from 32 countries gathered at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. on October 15, 2019 for the Global Parliamentary Workshop themed “Fighting Inequalities in a Shifting Global Landscape.”

The event, co-organized by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF, brought together Members of Parliament (MPs) from every region of the world alongside leading experts from the World Bank and IMF to explore how legislators can work hand-in-hand with the two financial organizations to foster inclusive, sustainable growth at the country-level.  

"While our work is global, our focus must be granular and must be local. You’re just about the most important censors we have for how our work affects the people you serve."
Sheila Redzepi
Vice President, External and Corporate Relations, World Bank Group

Sessions focused on digital technologies; debt management; fragility, conflict and violence; IDA; taxation; and trade. MPs learned strategies and shared best-practices for eradicating inequalities in these key areas of development. Throughout the discussions, in addition to the session topics, the importance of human capital and good governance were emphasized to level the playing field for people within and among nations.

“At the end of the day, it’s about people – and we need to empower people through policies.” Boutheina Guermazi, Director, Digital Development, World Bank

Few individuals are better positioned to push for policies and reforms tailored to the population as national legislators. “The role of parliamentarians is key if we are to focus on policies that benefit people.” said Gerry Rice, Director, Communications Department, IMF. Indeed, parliamentarians are essential to drafting laws, approving budgets, and monitoring the work of their governments as well as development actors.

The workshop closed with several conclusions to for participating parliamentarians to commit to in their countries:

1.       Develop inclusive growth agendas by designing and implementing policy in their home countries and supporting World Bank and IMF programs that allocate resources to fight inequalities.

2.       Increase parliamentary cooperation and diplomacy in trade for growth and jobs creation.

3.       Build and sustain spending on Human Capital by taking into account technological innovations

4.       Play a key role through parliamentary oversight in fiscal policy as well as managing debt to fight inequality.

5.       Continue to support a successful IDA 19 replenishment in individual countries.

“Radical change towards a more inclusive economy will be difficult. Our trick is to be able to cross the river, stone by stone. What that pathway looks like in different countries is unsure, but there is a real premium on working together to share ideas, to share experience, and crucially, to share an agenda.” Liam Byrne MP, UK and Chair of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF