Four stepping stones to the G20’s ‘new world order’

“The G20 could mark an historic turning point but we have been here too many times in the past to take rich countries’ promises at face value.”
Duncan Green
Oxfam spokesperson
Published: 3 April 2009

G20 leaders must take four concrete steps during the next few months to demonstrate their promise of a new world economic order will move beyond rhetoric to reality, Oxfam said today.

Urgent action is required to make the bailout work for poor countries, complete the crackdown on tax havens and speed up reform of the IMF and World Bank, Oxfam said as it published its initial analysis of the London Summit, What Happened at the G20?

The analysis also raises question over how much of the $50 billion promised for poor countries will be new money. Money distributed through the Multilateral Development Banks, in particular, could come from existing aid budgets.

Oxfam’s next steps towards a new world order are:

  • An end to harmful conditions imposed by the IMF in return for money given to poor countries
  • Accelerated reform of the World Bank and IMF to give developing and poor nations parity of voice. As a first step, the US must give up its veto and European nations should give up some seats on the executive boards
  • The immediate personal engagement of G20 Heads of State in pressing for a global climate change deal – by December it will be too late
  • A multilateral agreement requiring automatic disclosure of financial information by tax havens to developing countries

Duncan Green, Oxfam spokesperson, said: “The G20 could mark an historic turning point but we have been here too many times in the past to take rich countries’ promises at face value. World leaders need to take decisive steps to turn their rhetoric about a new world order into reality.

“That means an end to the damaging conditionality imposed on poor countries when they ask for assistance from the IMF. If the price of a bailout is to close health clinics and schools then the financial medicine offered by the G20 will make the patient worse, not better.

“And it means real action to tackle climate change. It would be a tragedy if having benefited from an economic bailout, the world economy and the millions of poor people at greatest risk, quickly become the victims of climate change.”