G20 should ensure recovery fights poverty
World leaders have an historic opportunity to reform the global economy to ensure that the one in six people who live in extreme poverty benefit from economic recovery, international agency Oxfam said today ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul.
As the first non-G8 member to host a G20 heads of state summit, South Korea has made development a central part of its agenda with a focus on boosting poor countries’ growth. But Oxfam is concerned that progress towards tackling poverty could be derailed by rows over currency valuations and monetary policies.
Oxfam is calling on the G20 to forge a new Seoul Development Consensus to replace the failed Washington Consensus of the past. The new consensus should combine financial support for health, education and poor farmers in developing countries with action to make the global economy work in the interests of poor countries.
A narrow focus on growth would not be enough on its own to tackle poverty, the international agency warned. From 1981-2001, when the Washington Consensus was at its height, the world economy grew by $19 trillion but people living in extreme poverty received only 1.5 percent of that.
Takumo Yamada, Oxfam Policy Manager, said: “Too often in the past, the poorest have been denied the benefits of growth. The G20 needs to show that this time it will be different.
“Millions of people have been pushed into extreme poverty by the economic crisis and are facing cuts in already threadbare healthcare, education and social support.
“The G20 has the chance this week to make great progress in tackling poverty. It would be a tragedy if poor people became casualties of conflict over currencies.”
The World Bank estimates that the global slump has pushed 64 million more people into extreme poverty, forcing them to live off less than $1.25 a day. Research for Oxfam shows that 56 poor countries face a $65bn fiscal hole in their budgets as a result of the economic crisis.
Oxfam is pressing the G20 to agree a package of specific measures to help poor countries, including:
- A tax on the major OECD financial centers to fund development. A financial transaction tax could raise $400bn per year
- Rich countries to deliver on their aid promises. Investment in health, education and poor farmers is essential to economic development;
- Action to curb speculation on commodity markets that has contributed to almost 1 billion people going hungry;
- Regulation to protect poor people from the adverse effects of ‘land-grabs’ which have seen huge swathes of prime agricultural areas taken by foreigners;
- A real say for poor countries in the global economic decisions that affect them – at least 3 full seats at the G20 and root and branch reform of the IMF.
Yamada said: “The G20 should learn from its own experience of what works. Korea’s recent success in economic development was achieved with the help of billions of dollars of aid which helped fund vital health and education, as well as land reform to ensure fair access for the poor.
“Rich countries must not use the economic crisis or the G20’s focus on growth to wriggle out of their commitments to the world’s poorest at a time when they need help more than ever.”
Notes to Editors
Oxfam Senior Press Officer: Economic crisis, aid, health and education
+44 (0)1865 472249/+44 (0)7876 476403
Our Health & Education For All Blog
RT @OxfamAustralia: This weekend, 274 teams tackled 100km in @OAusTrailwalker Brisbane to support Oxfam's work. Read our event wrap-up: htt…8 hours 9 min ago
Today is World Refugee Day, a day to honor the 42.5 million people forcibly displaced worldwide http://t.co/EOshw8HBfR @Refugees #refugees8 hours 44 min ago
RT @oxfamcanada: If you watch 1 video today, make it this one. Life and music. #Syrian #refugees in Zaatari camp: http://t.co/nHle2Z0rjE10 hours 19 min ago
RT @devex: What delays development in #SouthSudan? Exclusive #interview with former child soldier and @Oxfam advisor http://t.co/YmN2n9TVuj…10 hours 31 min ago
#Women in the south of Thailand prove that knowledge is power http://t.co/TEXzEBldYq via @OxfamInAsia13 hours 42 min ago
14 hours 19 min ago
What is the #ETS and how might it help fight #climate change? http://t.co/XT3vWIANmz infographic via @SamWWF @WWFEU15 hours 55 min ago
#ETS structural reform needs to be much more ambitious to help stave off dangerous #climate change http://t.co/ZhcfQtzMHv @OxfamEU16 hours 4 min ago
#Women are due to get a bigger say in #Kenya’s #climate change policies http://t.co/aUXN1OpfSF #genderjustice16 hours 17 min ago
RT @youngvictheatre: And... Check out this wonderful photo gallery of Joe Wright & Chiwetel's trip to #Congo with @Oxfam http://t.co/yfusA6…16 hours 21 min ago
17 hours 34 min ago
Empowering girls through technology: what's the role for business? http://t.co/ChGyFHWCCK cc @girlswhocode @GSMA #ict #m4d17 hours 57 min ago
En 2012 fueron asesinadas 606 mujeres en #Honduras. 98% de los casos permanece en la impunidad http://t.co/DN4Ixb1QsM @femicidiosHND #EVAW18 hours 18 min ago
1 woman is killed in Honduras every 15 hrs, but <2% of the cases are investigated http://t.co/7c88EhmIkG Act now #EVAW! #gbv18 hours 31 min ago
What the G8 forgot. @Jodie_Thorpe on what the #G8 should have done for farmers http://t.co/GiU0P5eaLs #tax #trade #transparency19 hours 58 min ago