Doha poverty talks expose deep divisions over global financial reform
As the UN Financing for Development conference drew to a close in Doha today, Oxfam International warned that it had highlighted fundamental splits over how to respond to the global financial crisis, while failing to make the concrete progress that poor countries were promised.
“These negotiations have exposed deep divisions over the question of how to overhaul the international financial architecture,” said Ariane Arpa, head of the Oxfam International delegation in Doha. “The fact that talks came close to breaking down demonstrates just how determined rich countries are to sidestep the UN, deny developing countries a voice in global financial talks, and preserve their cosy little club.”
According to Oxfam International, the UN is the only legitimate source of global governance. Although the talks were successful in calling for a UN conference on the international financial crisis and its impact on developing countries to take place next year, it nevertheless failed to establish the UN at the center of the global response. Furthermore, while the conclusions strongly emphasized the political urgency of financing the fight against poverty, they fell short of translating words into actions.
"The meeting has been long on talk, but short on concrete outcomes,” said Arpa. “It barely moves us on from previous international commitments on tackling global poverty. Even before the food, climate and financial crises hit, existing commitments were in need of an urgent upgrade. While the world has changed dramatically, it seems that some donors lack the political will to keep up.”
According to Oxfam International, the final conclusions remain fundamentally weak in a number of key areas – not least by failing to call for a radical strengthening of the voices of developing countries in the IMF and World Bank. Meanwhile, the wording on aid represents a climbdown from the commitment made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to increase annual aid by $50 billion by 2010.
“This conference was supposed to be all about urgent, concrete action,” said Arpa. “Rich country governments made all the right noises, but when it came to the crunch, there were some who were simply not prepared to deliver where it matters most.”
Notes to Editors
Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.