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March 2, 2023

Should the International Monetary Fund Be Involved in Responding to Climate Change?

Event Series: Spotlight on the Americas

Photo of Amazon River

The climate crisis threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction, as well as further widen existing inequalities between and within populations. Since 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified climate change as “a potentially catastrophic global externality and one of the world’s greatest collective action problems.” Consequently, the IMF has helped its members address three critical areas where fiscal and macroeconomic policies are an important component of the policy response to challenges created by climate change: mitigation, adaptation, and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Georgetown Americas Institute and the Earth Commons welcomed Kristina Kostial and Uma Ramakrishnan, both deputy directors in the IMF’s Strategy Policy and Review Department, for a conversation on the IMF’s role in combating climate change. It was moderated by Alejandro Werner, director of the Georgetown Americas Institute.

Read the event summary here.


Kristina Kostial is a deputy director in the IMF’s Strategy Policy and Review Department. She leads on strategic issues for the institution and, in this context, coordinates the IMF’s work on climate change. In previous positions at the IMF, she led missions to members in Africa and the Middle East and also was the deputy head of the IMF’s trust fund management. Kostial holds a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

Uma Ramakrishnan is deputy director of the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department at the IMF. She previously held leadership positions in IMF missions across the world, including Egypt, Middle East & Central Asia, the Caribbean, Jamaica, and El Salvador. She served as IMF deputy division chief in the Emerging Markets Division and as senior economist for Asia and the Pacific. Ramakrishnan earned a Ph.D. in international economics from Georgetown University.

Alejandro Werner (moderator) is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from ITAM.