By Adva Saldinger

NEW YORK - The United Nations Development Programme administrator shares his insights on the political complexities and real barriers to progress in this special edition World Bank-IMF podcast episode.

The Group of 20 leading economies’ failure to act on debt is threatening the confidence countries have in the institutions aimed at addressing financial crises, according to Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

“Let me put it very bluntly: The G-20 economy does not believe that the debt problem of the non-G20 economy of the world matters in terms of global financial markets and stability,” he told Devex.

More than 50 countries are seeing more money flowing out than coming in and face an arduous recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, let alone improving development. The solutions will need to focus on country priorities and country needs.

“One of the things we do have to address right now is how do we get away from institutionally driven plans and platforms that essentially simply either duplicate or do not necessarily represent the perspective of that country,” he said in a special episode of Devex’s weekly This Week in Global Development podcast that centered around the World Bank-International Monetary Fund’s annual Spring Meetings.

Steiner also discussed the preparations underway for the International Conference on Financing for Development next year, which will set the agenda for the following decade on how to finance development and climate objectives.

“This is a dangerous moment,” he said. “My perhaps greatest concern, we have lost confidence in one another, and the public in many countries doesn't necessarily believe that there is something good coming out of these investments, particularly in the traditional donor countries, we have lost the debate over why is it worthwhile investing in the country that you may never visited in your life, but whose decisions actions may fundamentally affect the future of your children. That's a conversation that I hope we will rediscover and in a sense, create for the 21st century in the lead up to that conference.”