In a wide-ranging speech that largely ignored the world's immediate problems, Ms Lagarde said her time at the IMF had taught her that there were four major challenges facing the world.
"We are in the ante chamber of a new economy," she said.
The four challenges that will usher in that new economy are a growing sense of individual empowerment, a shift of power to Asia which will be home to two thirds of the world's population by 2025, shifting demographics and lastly vulnerability to global climate change.
Without changes to climate rules "the next generation will be toasted, roasted and fried," she warned.
While Ms Lagarde largely chose to ignore the world's immediate problems last night, her officials published downbeat figures for growth in Europe this year although growth inn the rest of the world is seen rising. The Washington-based Fund now sees the euro zone economy contracting 0.2pc this year. The last IMF projections saw the economy expanding by the same amount.
While trimming forecasts for Europe, the Fund said the crisis was coming to an end.