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Washington, DCDelegates from the youth organization SustainUS convened near the World Bank Main Campus in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to unveil a list of seven demands called the “World Bank’s To-Do List”. After a week of engaging inside the World Bank Group’s Annual Meetings, the young people urged the financial institution to make changes in its policies and procedures so that it fulfill its mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. . The to-do list calls for an end to investments in fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure and non-consensual projects that negatively impact indigenous communities. These seven points were painted on a banner and publicly announced on Pennsylvania Avenue as participants headed to the Main Campus buildings to see Ivanka Trump’s speech.


“Despite their public recognition of climate change as a serious threat to development, the World Bank’s current portfolio includes lucrative fossil fuel projects and limited finance for those living in energy poverty, for whom finance is most difficult to access,” stated Gloria Oladipo, a delegate and Freshman at Cornell.“These meetings are a critical way for globally marginalized people to reclaim their place in organizations that are now doing more harm than good.”


In response to these failures, the delegation created a list of priorities, delivering a physical copyto Dr. Jim Kim, World Bank president, and Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.  


Julia Grifferty, a student at George Washington University hailing from Abu Dhabi, captured the significance of the youth action: “This symbolic action was a way for us to amplify our voices in a space where Civil Society activism has become increasingly silent.  We were the only youth out of 10,000 participants so we had to make our voice stand out.”


Joyce Zhou turned 18 just before arriving at the World Banks as SustainUS’s youngest delegate.  She too reflected on the importance of the delegation’s presence at the bank: “It is about making meaningful impacts. Youth have marched, and it is time that we participated in the global decision-making processes about our future, our education, and our growth.”


Aneesa Khan

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