World governments urged to do more to end the recession
As G8 finance ministers gather in Italy to discuss the economic crisis, organisations that came together as Put People First to press for a progressive London G20 Summit have today (Saturday) published an assessment of the decisions made by the G20 in April, and set out what world leaders must still do to lift the world out of recession, and secure a fairer, greener future.
At the end of March, ahead of the London G20 Summit, the Put People First alliance – made up of over 160 unions, development agencies, faith and environmental groups – brought 35,000 people onto the streets of London, where they marched for action on jobs and climate change, and justice for the world’s poor.
After the Summit, Put People First welcomed positive moves made in London, such as a commitment to better regulation of the global financial system and a promise to crack down on tax havens, but said that much more still needed to be done.
Now, as attention turns to the G8 finance ministers’ meeting, and the G8 leaders’ summit in July, pressure is building on world governments to do more to offer help to the millions of workers now unemployed who are desperate to get back to work, to take action for the growing tens of millions worldwide the crisis is pushing into extreme poverty, and to begin the transition to a green world economy that could help prevent further catastrophic climate change.
In the Put People First analysis of the London G20 Summit – Beyond the London Summit: Assessing the UK Government’s Response to the Financial Crisis and Charting a Way Forward, the organisations would like to see action in a number of areas including:
• a new multilateral tax information exchange agreement that would help developing countries;
• all aid promises made to date fulfilled and an end to harmful conditions attached to aid from institutions like the IMF and the World Bank;
• reform of the financial system (especially in the UK) so that all financial firms, markets and products are not just registered, but properly regulated; and,
• the creation of a green recovery by investing more in green jobs and green industries, rather than in projects that damage the environment.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Some economic commentators are beginning to say that the world is already emerging from the global economic slowdown. But try telling that to people losing their jobs or livelihoods, not just in the UK but around the planet.
“Progress was made in London but much more needs to be done. Some of those talking up green shoots are precisely those who want to go back to business as usual rather than confront the greed that brought about the crash, and avoid the change in economic direction we need to create green jobs, sustain decent public services and reduce the inequality that fed the boom.”
Head of Policy at ActionAid Claire Melamed said: “In April the spotlight was on the UK to respond to an unprecedented global financial crisis. As the G8 approaches, we must ensure this momentum is not lost and governments keep the promises made in London.
“Now is the time for finance ministers to use this rare window of opportunity to build an international response that is based on people, not special interest groups. Crucial to this is realising that an unfairly regulated economy has wrecked many people’s lives at home and across the developing world.”
Director of Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Ashok Sinha said: “The G8 has so far failed to grasp the opportunity to tackle the international economic crisis by investing in a low carbon economy. China is putting the G8 to shame by devoting a third of its fiscal stimulus package to green initiatives, which will reduce its emissions and boost employment.
“But G8 finance ministers still have the opportunity to both pave the way to a fair global climate deal at Copenhagen, and give hope to millions, by putting more money on the table for an ambitious greening of the world economy.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The Put People First alliance, which includes unions, development, faith and environment groups, came together earlier this year to press for a progressive London G20 Summit.
- The following organisations are amongst those endorsing the Put People First London G20 Analysis paper: ActionAid, BOND, Bretton Woods Project, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Compass, Connect, Concern Worldwide (UK), Everychild, National Union of Teachers, PCS, Tax Justice Network, Trade Justice Movement, TUC, UNISON, UNITE, World Development Movement, World Vision, WWF.
- The policy statement is available at http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/ppf-beyond.pdf and sets out 27 key recommendations for the UK government in addressing the financial crisis. As priorities the organisations have identified:
• preparing a proposal for a multilateral tax information exchange agreement that will benefit developing countries;
• reforming regulation in the UK so that all financial firms, markets and products are not just registered, but properly regulated; and ensure that discussions on launching a fully-inclusive multilateral regulatory authority commence at the earliest possible opportunity;
• creating a green recovery by investing more in green jobs and green industries and ending investment to harmful projects that would lock in high-carbon and other unsustainable infrastructure;
• demanding an end to the IMF’s practice of forcing damaging pro-cyclical economic policy conditions that will worsen recessions and constrain investment in public services in countries that go to it for loans;
• increasing funding for nationally-developed comprehensive social protection schemes in developing countries ensuring that they reach the poorest and most vulnerable, including by revising the World Bank’s IDA allocation system and developing innovative sources of finance, such as a currency transaction tax;
• making sustainability criteria central to investment practice at both national and international level: regulatory requirements should include the reporting of risks incurred by financing carbon-intensive or ecologically damaging business activities; pension funds and other investors should be incentivised to include environmental, gender and social impacts and governance risks in their business practices.
TUC – Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
ActionAid – Asha Tharoor M: 07912 387396 E: email@example.com
Stop Climate Chaos Coalition – Sarah Jenkinson T: 020 7729 8732 M: m: 0776 668 2624 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 13th, 2009