Civil society organizations from 41 countries, urge G-20 leaders to make concrete progress towards the introduction of an internationally coordinated financial transactions tax (FTT) at the upcoming summit in Seoul.
The second half of 2008 saw unfold one of the most significant financial crises in history that started in the United States and then spread to Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. The response was just as historic. To stave off regional and global recessions and restore stability and confidence in the market, northern governments are pursuing a massive and unprecedented program of government intervention, nationalizing banks, injecting massive subsidies into ailing institutions and re-regulating their financial sectors.
This response sits in direct contrast to the austere neoliberal policies pressed on developing countries by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and developed countries for the past thirty years in a complete and unacceptable double standard.
The international financial system, its architecture and its institutions have been completely overwhelmed by the scale of the current financial and economic crisis. The financial system, its architecture and its institutions are being questioned and they need to be completely rethought.
But what are the implications for the South? The crisis has already begun to impact developing countries as their stock markets and currency rates drop, private capital flows are being reduced and large investment projects are cancelled because its ultimate profitability is now in doubt.
The slowdown in the global economy has already compelled many companies to retrench workers and stop hiring. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecasts that the crisis will result in the loss of as many as 51 million jobs worldwide, with migrant workers among the most likely to be retrenched.
This unprecedented global financial and economic crisis requires an unprecedented global response. However, the most powerful countries in the world gathered in the G-7, G-8, G-10, or G-20 have been the first to call urgent meetings on the crisis leaving the rest of the international community out of negotiations on international economic and financial reform.
Many developing countries resent being silent victims of the crisis they clearly had no part in creating. Also civil society organizations have come together through different campaigns to demand a major international conference to tackle the crisis, convened by the United Nations and that includes all countries, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.
In the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, set up a commission of experts chaired by Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, whose mandate includes putting forward “credible and feasible proposals for reforming the international monetary and financial system in the best interest of the international community”. The Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System will present its final report in early April 2009 including civil society views collected in previous consultations.
The numerous global summits that have taken place so far have addressed the economic crisis as a core issue in the discussions. Whether it is at the International Conference on Financing for Development, the United Nations General Assembly, the G8 meeting, the World Economic Forum in Davos or the World Social Forum in Belém, there is no doubt of the urgent need to come up with a solution for the global crisis of capitalism that addresses the comprehensive range of reforms needed, and fairly allocates their burden.
This new paper, authored by the Centre's Special Economic Advisor, Dr Yilmaz Akyuz, deals with the global financial crisis and developing countries. The first part is on what is needed to support the required policy response in developing countries. The second part is on the required reform to the international financial architecture. A summary of policy conclusions and proposals is at the end. May 2009.
As the financial crisis continues to unfold, events are making it painfully clear that trade is the main channel by which the financial crisis will make its impacts fall on them, especially on their real economies. This does not come as a surprise after years of reforms that have placed export-led growth as the central paradigm in a context that did not give an equally central place to mechanisms for ensuring the financial gains of exports accrue to developing countries. November 2008.
The 2006 report by Social Watch, "Impossible Architecture", focuses on the urgent need to reform the current international financial structure in order to ensure the means to meet these commitments, and provides new perspectives and ideas for a viable blueprint for action. 2006.
As the world’s most powerful leaders propose a global economic reform summit – a Bretton Woods II – Eurodad publishes a guide to what is being planned, what it means, and what civil society groups are demanding. October 2008.
The financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 only reached the developing world with a time lag. At least in parts of the Global South the crisis is having a huge social and economic impact. As a result, the prospects of achieving the internationally agreed developing goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by 2015 are receding ever more into distance.
The report highlights the lack of appropriate regulation and the global monetary (dis)order that have been at the heart of the current financial crisis. The absence of appropriate coordination and adjustment mechanisms of global monetary policies, and the unfettered liberalisation of global financial markets led to dramatic global imbalances and global economic disaster. The report summarises key existing proposals to reform the global monetary system in the short term, as well as deeper reforms of the global financial architecture that give a stronger voice to developing countries. March 2010.
The report of the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Ms Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, looks at the consequences of the global financial crisis on the rights of people living in extreme poverty, and underlines that the crisis provides an opportunity to move beyond the re-structuring of the global financial and monetary systems. October 2009.
The report People First includes dozens of in-depth reports from grassroots civil society organizations, which prove that the poorest countries played no part in causing the crisis, yet they are experiencing its worst effects. September 2009.
With much of Africa facing an effective re-colonisation in the wake of the global financial crisis, William Gumede underlines the importance of ever increasing cooperation and trade between African countries. As forces to the east and west alike plunder the continent's mineral wealth, it remains the task of African countries themselves to develop a continental common market and political union based on sound democratic foundations, Gumede concludes. September 2009.
Technical or political, friendly or heated, several debates have explored all the aspects of the tumultuous relationship between the IMF and Latin America, except for one: What Fund do we want? How should we reform the Fund, if we could? This is the precise question that the IMF has formulated to a group of academics, unionists, and NGO activists, who have been convened to participate in an off- the-record, experimental but potentially transforming dialogue with the institution. August 2009.
At this time there is an urgent need to increase financial flows to the poorest countries. However, there is a serious concern that this will be done through new lending, often on more expensive terms, therefore increasing unpayable debts in the longer term.
"The Voksenaasen Statement on a necessary response to the global financial and economic crisis" is endorsed as of 19 June 2009,by: Ha-Joon Chang, UK/Korea; Doug Hellinger, USA; Lidy Nacpil, The Philippines; Njoki Njehu, Kenya; Charles Abugre, UK/Ghana; Tore Linné Eriksen, Norway; Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Norway; John Y. Jones, Norway.
A Commission of Experts set up by the U.N. makes recommendations that promise to address adequately the biggest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s. The very fact that this plan was prepared on behalf of the United Nations with 192 member-states and would be debated at such an inclusive forum makes it noteworthy. This in itself is an advance on the efforts still under way to negotiate and formulate recovery plans in self-constituted, unrepresentative, and, therefore, partly illegitimate groupings like the G-8 and the G-20. April 14.
Africa and the global South should break free from failed neoliberal policies and the institutions that have promoted them and define their own paths to development, writes Demba Moussa Dembele, director of the Forum for African Alternatives.
The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank have announced dramatic increases in lending to Latin America in the wake of the global credit squeeze triggered by the U.S. financial collapse. Crowded to the margin in recent years by demands for financial independence backed by high commodity prices and steadily growing reserves, the World Bank, IDB, and IMF are happily back in business. January 2009.
The present financial crisis afflicting the global economy should not be seen from the narrow focus of the credit crunch and its relationship to the subprime mortgage crisis in the Western countries, especially the US. The crisis goes to the very foundations of the global capitalist system and it should be analysed from that angle.
Many developing countries are still growing strongly despite the current global financial downturn, but forecasts are worsening. This background note from ODI questions how long this growth can persist. There are different channels through which the crisis could spread and some countries are more at risk than others. High inflation is a danger for Africa, as is a possible downturn in growth in Asian countries. The magnitude of the crisis will depend on how well the US and EU are able to respond with rescue measures. October 2008 (pdf).
It is clear from the past few weeks that the developing world is far from immune to the financial crisis originating in the West. Stock prices in emerging markets have gone on similar roller coaster rides to those in New York and Europe. 28 October 2008.
Financiers have engineered a “shadow banking system” that has subverted regulation and dumped risk. Complex derivative trades have fuelled a decade or more of cheap credit and destabilised the financial system. The financial and human costs are now being revealed as the massive borrowing spree unwinds, leaving the public purse to pay for failed corporate structures and the threat of a major economic recession. October, 2008
In February 2008, the Halifax Initiative organized a conference on “The Changing Face of Global Development Finance – Impacts and implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions”. This report includes a summary of the presentations and discussions at the conference. April 2008.
The extent to which growth and stability in Asian emerging markets can be decoupled crucially by this financial crisis depends on prevailing domestic economic conditions as well as the policy response to possible shocks from the crisis. (PDF). May 2008.
Civil society organizations from 41 countries, urge G-20 leaders to make concrete progress towards the introduction of an internationally coordinated financial transactions tax (FTT) at the upcoming summit in Seoul.
The Women’s Working Group believes that the current situation of severe economic crisis affecting the livelihoods of women and men in the whole world cannot be resolved with cosmetic changes designed from an informal group of powerful countries such as the G20. September 2009.
A number of civil society organizations are calling on the G20 governments meeting in Pittsburgh, 24-25 September and other countries to tackle inequality between and within nations, supporting concrete steps on the path towards changing the world for good. September 2009.
The following position paper was endorsed by Euro step, Social Watch, the Arab NGO Network for Development, Asociación Latinoamericana de Organizaciones de Promoción (ALOP), South Asia Alliance for Poverty Erradication (SAAPE) and Least Developed Countries (LDC) Watch. May 2009.
A conference has been held by 17 NGOs entitled The World In Crisis: Economies and Policies for Global Transformation. The declaration calls for a reform of global policies, transformation towards social justice and ecological sustainability, as well as space for alternative economic and political systems based on political, economic, social and cultural human rights. (PDF). April 2009.
"Why was there so little progress?" asks the statement released by the Transnational Institute Working Group on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis in reaction to the G-20 Summit held 15 November 2008.
"The Northern governments and financial system are responsible for the current financial crisis, but the costs and the impacts are paid for by the entire world and by the poorest countries in particular. Moreover, climate change is threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, in the North and the South." say civil society organizations gathered at the civil society forum previous to the Doha conference on Financing for Development. November 2008.
The people of the world suffer the greatest from the current economic and financial crisis, the worst in a century. Supposed measures to deal with the crisis further aggravate the hardship of the world’s poor and flagrantly serve to bail out and perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative system of monopoly capitalism. A radical overhaul is needed and societies must be built that deliver livelihoods, incomes, education, health and housing for the people. December 2008.
The 10 measures presented by the Social Watch coalition to Stiglitz Commission on Reforms to the Global Economic and Financial System were based on the experience and evidence gathering from the grassroots as well as on previous Social Watch reports on how the financial and economic structure is not working for the poor. February 2009.
Even though the G20 is broader than the G8 any reform which excludes most of the world’s nations is doom to fail: it will lack the necessary legitimacy to set the scene for a new era of fairer economic and financial relations worldwide. Two UN processes offer hope for a more inclusive process, including an opportunity for civil society groups to input. 22 January 2009.
While initially scheduled to attend the Doha Financing for Development Review in Doha, the IMF Managing Director Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has hinted he is no longer planning to attend. This is very unfortunate and difficult to explain, especially given the extraordinary influence that has been given to the IMF in the drafting process. November. By withdrawing representation at the highest level, the gesture would send a political signal that seeks to undermine the strength of the UN process as it enters into critical matters of reform of international finance and at a very critical juncture in the negotiations addressing such issues at this moment in New York. November 2008.
Trade union leaders from the G20 countries will put forward a comprehensive plan to turn around the global economy, in meetings with world leaders in Washington DC on the eve of the financial crisis summit hosted by the US government on 15 November. (PDF). 13 November, 2008.
This statement by the BankTrack network, a collective of NGOs specialised on private finance, recognizes that the world financial system is at the brink of collapse. It characterizes the current crisis as not only an economic and financial crisis, but one of governance and sustainability. (PDF). 6 November 2008.
In a new report, "If Not Now, When?", Oxfam says that people living in poverty are already being hit hard by the financial crisis and this will get worse unless urgent action is taken. The poor should not have to pay for rich countries' mistakes. November 2008.
The World Forum of Civil Society Networks (UBUNTU) declared their deep concern about the serious impact the implosion of neo-liberal capitalism will have on humanity and calls to sign a statement. 13 November, 2008.
U.S. President George Bush and other G8 leaders have called a summit of governments of 20 of the world's biggest countries on November 15 to respond to the international financial crisis. This summit is fundamentally flawed. It excludes many countries whose citizens will also suffer the impacts of the crisis and provides no space for the in-put of citizens groups, social movements, peoples organizations, and other civil society formations. November 12, 2008.
On 28 October, more than 40 representatives of NGOs, development organisations, labour unions, think tanks, academia and the media came together in London to discuss how to take forward demands for a fundamental redesign of the international financial system.
“There are no quick fixes in the transition from the current system - which has fostered instability and inequity - towards a just, sustainable and accountable one, which yields benefits for the majority of the world’s people” says the statement signed by major civil society organizations. 22 october 2008.
"The time has come: Let's shut down the financial casino" says this statement by the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC)and its associates. October 2008.
To correct the world economic imbalance, a new sharing of power and responsibility between industrialised and developing countries must now be examined, writes Peter Niggli, Director of Alliance Sud. July 2009.
The Third World Network prepared two presentations to be considered by the UN crisis commission: a note on how trade and investment treaties can hamper the effective implementation of recommendations to deal with the current crisis and how the new IMF financial loans could even worsen the crisis for the countries concerned. March 2009.
The financial crisis seemed to come out of the blue, but Paulo dos Santos of the University of London argues that the ground was laid by financial sector privatisation, liberalisation and deregulation. Far from these trends being confined to the rich world, the World Bank and the IFC have played a key role in pushing these policies throughout emerging markets, exposing them to the fallout of the financial crisis. November, 2008
Only the United Nations, with its universality of membership, has the credibility to ensure that a reformed global financial architecture will have the legitimacy, and confidence of the global community to make it viable, the Group of 77 and China said. November 2008.
"Now that the United States and Europe are in crisis and in need of the reserves of countries such as China, India and big oil exporting countries, the powers that control the IMF not only want poor countries to finance the recovery of the rich ones, they want them to do that through the institution they control!". 13 November, 2008.
The present global crisis shows that the financial system has become a beast that must be tamed by governments, and excessive financial innovation turned into "financial weapons of mass destruction", according to an UNCTAD assessment of what it calls "the crisis of a century." October 2008.
As global finance dries up, economic markets crash and banks go bust, criticisms mount of the IMF and its inability to convince its largest members to better regulate the financial sector or curb speculation. September 2008.
This issue of Global Employment Trends analyses the impact of the global economic crisis on labour markets worldwide. It provides global and regional estimates and projections of unemployment, vulnerable employment and the incidence of poverty among the world’s workers. February 2010 (pdf).
On 19 June 2009, the International Labour Conference, with the participation of Government, Employers’ and Workers’ delegates from the ILO’s member States, unanimously adopted “Recovering from the crisis: A Global Jobs Pact”, a global policy instrument addressing the social and employment impact of the international financial and economic crisis. It promotes a productive recovery centred on investments, employment and social protection. June 2009 (pdf).
The Korean government held the Civil G20 dialogue on 14-15 October in Inchoen, South Korea involving civil society representatives and representatives of each Head of State preparing for the G20 Summit
The UN conference on the global economic crisis ended on 26 June in New York. In analysing the causes of the crisis, the outcome document uses clear language. Yet the industrialized countries neither allowed the necessary conclusions to be drawn nor any decisions to be taken on concrete measures at this stage. By Mark Herkenrath. July 2009.
The high-level policy dialogue on the first day of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) ministerial meeting involved top officials from the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as from the UN agencies of UNCTAD, the International Labour Organisation and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The high-level segment of ECOSOC focuses on the theme of global public health and the financial and economic crisis. July 2009.
In its latest Global Employment Trends update of May, the ILO has revised upwards its unemployment projections to levels ranging from 210 million to 239 million unemployed worldwide in 2009. The report notes that the economic crisis is detrimental for both women and men, whether they are at work, looking for work or outside the labour force. Women are often in a disadvantaged position in comparison to men in labour markets around the world. June 2009.
The OECD has issued a new list of tax havens at the G20 Summit in London, 2 April 2009. In the white list of most respectable countries we find 40 countries, most of them OECD and G20 members. April 2009.
Experts commissioned by the President of the General Assembly proposed far-reaching changes in international finance structures, and strong measures to overcome the current economic crisis in a set of recommendations presented at the UN. March 2009.
The labour movement, nationally and globally, faces a crisis of enormous depth and scale. It should be demanding at work, in the streets, in every public forum and through the creation of new ones, that governments and corporations account for the growth of unemployment at a time when unprecedented sums of public money are being poured into the banking system. January 2009.
The Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary & Financial System began its work, seeking to identify the underlying factors that have contributed to the magnitude of the crisis and its rapid spread around the world. January 2009.
On November 15 the leaders of 20 nations and the major multilateral financial institutions will gather behind closed doors in Washington to discuss the future of the global economy. This group includes many of the people, governments, and institutions whose policies are responsible for the current financial meltdown. Not surprisingly, the level of ambition of the meeting is rather low.
The statement comes on the eve of the first meeting of a UN task force set up by the president of the General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto, and chaired by Economics Nobel Laureate and former World Bank Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz to make recommendations about how to cope with the ongoing crisis. November 2008.
The United States Government and the Bretton Woods institutions had failed to adequately address the international financial crisis, and the United Nations must intervene as the one institution that was inclusive and had political legitimacy, Joseph Stiglitz, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, said during an interactive panel discussion on the global financial crisis, held by the U.N. General Assembly in October 30.
The Monterrey Consensus of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development called for a follow-up international meeting to review the implementation of the Consensus. The UN General Assembly decided that the Follow-up International Conference will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008. See Choike's special coverage for this event.
Cast in the role of global saviour in the unfolding financial turmoil, China is playing host to a meeting of Asian and European leaders in Beijing this week that is expected to castigate the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism and press for a reshaped global economic order. 22 October 2008.