Realigning the Governance Architecture After COVID-19: City Diplomacy and Multilateral Institutions

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led governments at all levels into intense fiscal stress and reports of significant drops in their respective economies. International organizations including the G20, IMF, UN, and World Bank, have responded with aggressive moves to support national economies. Within two weeks of WHO’s March 11, 2020 declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, national governments and international organizations devised massive recovery programs. For example, that year, the G20 rallied an extraordinary leaders’ meeting on March 24 to issue an Action Plan that in broad strokes pledged to pour more than $5 trillion into the global economy. G20 leaders tasked the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors to detail a plan within a month. And in October, the finance ministers, working with health ministers, updated the plan with new commitments in response to the growing magnitude of the crisis. By the time the leaders met in November, they had received two progress reports on the plan and the additional initiatives to soften the pandemic’s health, economic, and social effects.[1] So too, the multilateral development banks, led by the World Bank, offered $200 million in loans. The IMF both postponed interest payments on outstanding loans and provided some debt forgiveness to the poorest countries. While far from perfect, the institutions tasked with global economic governance responded quickly and boldly to the challenge. The following year, as the pandemic continued, vaccine policy, recovery, and pandemic preparedness dominated the G20 communiqué.[2]


COVID-19, governance

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Columbia Journal of International Affairs