|KEY NOTE: Thinking the unthinkable – The global financial crisis as an opportunity for transformative and systemic change?||Podcast|
|Causes of, and responses to, the global financial crisis - Chuck Freedman, Co-Director, Centre for Monetary and Financial Economics, Carleton University|
2010 will be a decisive year for Canada, and for the world. The deadline for meeting the world’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is only five years away. Our decisions on economic reform and climate change will determine the success of world’s efforts to reduce poverty and reverse dangerous global warming for the next generation and beyond. As host of the next G8 and G20 Summits, Canada can make the difference between relegating these aspirations to a distant hope in an uncertain future and confirming the possibility of achieving these goals in our lifetime. The consequences of reneging on our promises are unthinkable for the millions around the world looking towards a new model of globalization that is socially responsible, economically sustainable and environmentally just.
G8 down, but not out, as G20 makes pledges on crisis
If the big headline for April’s G20 Summit (See IU April 2009) was the $1.2 trillion pledged to tackle the financial crisis, this month’s showcase was the G20 itself, as the 20 countries crowned themselves the premier fora on global finance. Next year’s G8 in Canada will in fact be preceded by a G20 meeting, which Ottawa will co-host with 2010 G20 chair Seoul. Earlier this month, Liberal opposition leader Michael Ignatieff went one step further, suggesting that the G8 not bother meeting any more, and calling for a permanent G20 secretariat in Canada.
The Official Development Assistance (ODA) Accountability Act (ODA Act) came into force on June 28, 2008. This now legally requires Canadian ODA to contribute to poverty reduction, take into account the perspectives of the poor, and be consistent with international human rights standards. Over the past year, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC), and Finance Canada have been developing plans on how to interpret and implement the Act. To date, only Finance Canada has held a consultation on the Act, with neither CIDA nor FAC disclosing its plans. Consultations must be held before September 30, 2009, when CIDA is expected to release the first annual report on the Act.
A Focus on Poverty, Economic Reform and Climate Change
In 2010 Canada will play host to the world. The Vancouver Olympics and the G8 and G20 Summits in Muskoka and Toronto will draw the attention of millions to Canada, its geography, its values, policies and practices. If 2008 was the year of China, then 2010 can be the year of Canada. Around the globe, Canadians proudly sport the Canadian flag in traveling as a symbol of Canadian democracy, openness and concern for human rights. Yet our great international achievements of the past—Canadian contributions to the establishment of international peacekeeping, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Ottawa Treaty to Ban Landmines and the International Criminal Court—are today clouded by concerns about Canada’s current role in climate change negotiations, Afghanistan, reform of the global economy and addressing global poverty.
Government response on CSR and extractives: Fool’s Gold
For two years, parliamentarians, civil society, industry and the Canadian public have waited for the Government of Canada to issue a response to the ground-breaking consensus report from the National Roundtables on Extractive Industries (see IU March 2007). Against great odds, that process produced a consensus document, endorsed by industry and civil society, on a program of policy reform regarding the overseas operations of Canadian extractive companies that would make Canada a leader on the world stage.
Europe looking to lead on response to financial crisis
A warning against US (and Canadian?) opposition to a new international architecture of institutions and tighter regulations to manage a more “moral” form of global capitalism, a flexible Economic Council within the United Nations, and an economic sustainability charter that establishes the rules for global financial governance, were three of the key themes raised by German Chancellor Angela Merckel and French President Sarkozy at a high-level symposium hosted by Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Paris this month.
December 22, 2008
The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
Dear Minister Flaherty:
Re: 2008 consultation with respect to the “Official Development Assistance Accountability Act”
Financial crisis a boon for ECAs
While hefty public bailouts of the financial and auto industries have stimulated debate on the role of governments in commercial markets, one form of government subsidy has flown beneath the proverbial radar: export credit. Confronted by an increasingly dire financial crisis, Western governments are using their export credit agencies (ECAs) to boost liquidity and rescue faltering industries. At an extraordinary World Trade Organization meeting last month, participating governments reported a 30% increase in ECA business over the previous 12 months. The WTO called for even greater reliance on public credit to lessen the burden on commercial banks. Shortly afterwards, the OECD announced an agreement with non-members, including Russia and Brazil, to provide markets with publicly-sourced export credit.