News Release

Rich Nations Stopping Global Reforms?

AP reports today: “Developing nations’ hopes for forging a new, more just economic world order appear unlikely to be quickly realized as the United Nations’ Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis draws to a close Friday.”

On Thursday, Ecuadorean President Rafeal Correa said member states should consider abolishing the International Monetary Fund. He also criticized the profit-driven financial system: “We who want to be citizens of the world cannot understand schemes that always end up trampling and enslaving the poorest, which contradict their own posturing. How can we understand the so-called globalization that does not seek to create world citizens, but only consumers. It does not seek to create a global society, just a global market.”

Currently at the UN conference in New York City:

BEVERLY KEENE
LEO ATAKPU
International coordinator of Jubilee South (based in Buenos Aires, Argentina), Keene said today: “With the failure of the European Union, the U.S., Japan and other North countries to rise to the challenges put forth by the UN Conference, to address the impact of the present financial, economic, food, and climate crises straight on and recognize that the same institutions and interests that provoked the mess cannot be expected to clean it up, we can expect the crises themselves to continue to deepen, with devastating impacts on peoples and the environment.

“But alternatives now emerging throughout the South will be strengthened, including steps toward the non-payment of illegitimate debts — safeguarding the resources absorbed by debt servicing for crises responses — and withdrawal from trade pacts and investment treaties that curtail countries’ capacity to fulfill their basic human rights obligations.”

Deputy director of the African Network on Economic and Environmental Justice (based in Benin City, Nigeria), Atakpu said today: “When the world leaders set out with bailout funds for companies in the U.S. and Europe at the beginning of the current global financial and economic crises, billions of dollars were committed to salvage car factories and sundry institutions. Now that the problem which they and the institutions they dominate helped to create has spread to the developing countries, and the lives of millions of poor people are in jeopardy, we ask for the same kind of rescue. But they are foot-dragging, proffering instead the same old measures that have hardly worked — deploying new languages and tactics. It is a shame.”

SOREN AMBROSE
Development finance coordinator of ActionAid International (based in Nairobi, Kenya), Ambrose said today: “In preparation for the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, a diverse panel of experts led by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz came up with a compendium of innovative proposals to combat future crises by stabilizing and balancing the top-heavy global economy. Some of those, including reform of the global system of currency reserves and the use of the IMF’s ‘special drawing rights’ to support impoverished countries, will at least be mentioned in the conference declaration when the conference ends on Friday.

“Unfortunately the rich countries, led by the U.S. and European Union, want to preserve the model that has failed so spectacularly, so there will be no firm commitments agreed to, and many of the best ideas — such as a Global Economic Coordination Council on par with the UN Security Council, global coordination of financial regulations, and an International Bankruptcy Court — will be left out. With the World Bank announcing on Monday that a trillion dollars is likely to drain out of the poorest countries this year because of the crisis caused by the U.S., it’s tragic to see the opportunity represented by this UN conference being undermined because the rich want to try to preserve their advantages.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167