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Summary of public comments received by the G20 Expert Group on Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs)

June 25, 2023

While drafting its report, the G20 Expert Group received recommendations from a diverse group of stakeholders through an online form hosted by the MDB Reform Accelerator website as well as individual submissions. The online form for public comment received fifteen responses from nine countries: the United States (4), Brazil (3), the Netherlands (2), Australia (1), Bangladesh (1), Colombia (1), Kenya (1), Switzerland (1), and the United Arab Emirates (1). Respondents came from a variety of fields including academia, civil society organizations, private companies, and government agencies. In addition to the online form, the Expert Group also received a number of written submissions following a meeting with civil society actors. Broadly, the comments received by the Expert Group fall under one of three categories: the nature of MDB financing, their approach to different kinds of recipients, and how they work as a system.

Comments related to MDB financing called for the embrace of innovative tools like FX hedging to have a more catalytic effect on the private sector. Though the prevailing focus on mobilization should not come at the expense of critical areas like social spending or the use of concessionality to support low-income countries and incentivize global public goods like climate finance. There was also an emphasis on including debt relief measures in MDB activities given the widespread risk of debt distress.  

Stakeholders also expressed concern about the use of a one-size-fits-all approach by MDBs. Small island developing states (SIDs) and countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) face different challenges and needs than middle-income economies. For example, some argued that the MDBs should work more closely with local governments or non-government organizations in FCV contexts. Respondents called for a more tailored approach to country strategies that incorporates an appropriate level of technical support.

The need for better coordination between MDBs and with the rest of the international system was another consistent theme in the comments received by the Expert Group. The MDBs should explore ways to better harmonize their activities in recipient countries while respecting their particular strengths. Stakeholders also highlighted deficiencies in MDB engagement with civil society organizations.

The comments received by the Expert Group were an important source of perspectives from across the system on the issues covered by the report.