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IMF calls for more action on sustainable growth

Updated: 2012-06-19 16:22
( Xinhua)

IMF calls for more action on sustainable growth

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks during a media briefing, before attending the international conference "Against The Odds: Lessons From The Recovery In The Baltics", in Riga June 5, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund chief has called for more action on sustainable development ahead of the Rio+20 conference, to be held in Rio de Janeiro this month.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said, 20 years after world leaders last met in Rio to commit to sustainable development, they would return there to affirm their commitment to strive for economic growth, environmental protection and social progress.

"Today, I believe that we are facing a triple crisis -- an economic crisis, an environmental crisis and, increasingly, a social crisis," Lagarde said in a prepared speech for delivery at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

She said the global economy was still rocked by turmoil, the planet was warming rapidly and, across too many societies, the inequality gap was getting wider. "These different threats feed off each other in an intricate interplay," she said.

Lagarde urged the leaders to get the growth engine working. "This must start with the advanced economies, especially in Europe," Lagarde said, adding policymakers needed to take decisive steps to break free of the crisis by rekindling demand.

She said the IMF needed more resources for concessional lending to help vulnerable countries navigate an increasingly volatile world.

She also stressed the urgency of tackling climate change, which she said was one of the great challenges of the generation, by adopting environmentally sensitive fiscal policies, such as environmental taxes.

Moreover, Lagarde said world leaders needed to get inclusive growth right and put jobs at the forefront of any strategy. She highlighted the vital role government spending and taxes played in reducing inequality.

"Recent research shows that countries with more equitable distributions of income are associated with greater macroeconomic stability and more sustainable growth over the longer term. It is all bound together," Lagarde said.

She also said the IMF was collaborating closely with the International Labor Organization, the World Bank, and other United Nations agencies on the social protection floor initiative, which helps poor countries set up basic levels of protection at an affordable cost.

"Social protection should not be seen as a cost but as an investment -- an investment in sustainable development," she said.