Countdown to COP26: With Kristalina Georgieva and Alok Sharma


Climate change presents a major threat to the economic wellbeing of all countries. Ahead of COP26, this session focuses on policies to contain emissions, increase resilience to extreme climate events, and move toward a low-carbon economy.

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Kristalina Georgieva

Managing Director, IMF

Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and also served as Interim President for a time. Previously, she served at the European Commission as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources – and as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the European Union’s humanitarian response to crises.

Alok Sharma

President for COP26, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office

Alok Sharma was appointed full-time President for COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, on 8 January 2021. He was previously Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and President for COP 26 between 13 February 2020 and 8 January 2021. Prior to that, he was Secretary of State for International Development from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020, and Minister of State for Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions from 9 January 2018 until 24 July 2019. He was Minister of State for Housing and Planning, for the Department for Communities and Local Government from 13 June 2017 to 9 January 2018.

Seminar Report

Climate change presents a major threat to the economic well-being of all countries. Ahead of COP26, this session focused on policies to contain emissions, increase resilience to extreme climate events, and move toward a low-carbon economy.

Key Points:

  • Setting Priorities for COP26. Ahead of COP26, Sharma called on countries, especially advanced economies, to step forward with ambitious plans to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050; draw plans to adapt to climate change; finalize the outstanding rules of the Paris agreement; and provide $100 billion in financing to developing countries.
  • Relevance of Climate to IMF's work. Georgieva noted that integrating climate with IMF's policy advice matters for growth and prosperity and for getting countries ready for a low-carbon and climate resilient future. Georgieva highlighted climate as a defining factor in the way IMF approaches its policy engagement with countries, capacity building, and macroeconomic data.
  • Climate financing, adaptation, and mitigation. Sharma emphasized that climate financing and access to finance, especially for adaptation, are critical. Even though the US, Japan, Canada, and Germany have made additional financing commitments, Sharma noted that G20 nations need to firm up ambitious plans to cut emissions. Georgieva highlighted IMF's proposed Resilience and Sustainability Trust that aims to support resilient and sustainable growth in the post-pandemic period, including resilience to climate change.
  • Role of MDBs and IMF. Sharma commended MDBs for increasing the share of funding for climate-related projects but urged them to allocate more funds toward adaptation, align their financing with the Paris Agreement, and mobilize the private sector.


How we address climate change matters in reducing risks to people and economies; it also matters because it creates opportunities for green growth and green jobs.Kristalina Georgieva

Over the last few years, we've gone past the inflection point where the corporate world and the financial services sector are effectively singing from the same hymn sheet as governments and civil societies. They understand the challenge we are facing in terms of climate change and why we need to take action.Alok Sharma

Contributor: Smita Aggarwal, IMF, Secretary’s Department

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