Global economic leaders have warned the world economy is in a dangerous phase, with a narrowing path to recovery.
Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund both gave speeches as their organisations met in Washington.
In his opening address, Mr Zoellick said: "I still think a double dip recession for the world's major economies is unlikely.
"But my confidence in that belief is being eroded daily by the steady drip of difficult economic news."
Mr Zoellick also warned that Europe, Japan and the US must act now to tackle their financial problems before they spread to less well-off countries.
"A crisis made in the developed world could become a crisis for developing countries," he said.
His comments come on a day that has seen stock markets globally lose ground.
Speaking after Mr Zoellick, IMF head Christine Lagarde said there was a path to global recovery - but that it was narrower than it was three years ago.
She added that in order to progress along this path, global leaders needed to show political determination and show an ability to look to the longer term.
The IMF and World Bank say their meeting this year comes at a "critical time for the global economy" due to stock market turbulence and increased risks.
Around 10,000 policymakers, business and civil leaders, academics and journalists are in Washington for talks on Friday and Saturday, which aim to discuss the policy actions needed to tackle economic challenges.