Press Release - Friday, June 14, 2002

Civil society in G7 countries charge finance ministers with saying little and doing even less to support the poor
June 14, 2002 Halifax - Civil Society organizations from all G7 countries call on the Finance Ministers to act on promises made by G7 leaders in Halifax in 1995 to reform the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Sixty organizations from all the G7 countries signed on to an Open Letter calling on the G7 Finance Ministers to make changes to the international financial institutions and global economic governance.
"The G7 Finance Ministers control the World Bank and the IMF", noted Pam Foster, Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative, a Canadian coalition of NGOs that took its name prior to the G7 Summit in Halifax in 1995. "If they were really concerned about the poor and Africa, they would deliver on promises made to reform these institutions. More tweaking of the Bretton Woods institutions, of debt relief and the HIPC program, 20% more grants, etc. is ignoring the real problems."
In 1995, the G7 committed to:

  • provide multilateral debt relief for the poorest countries;
  • promote environmentally sustainable development;
  • reduce poverty; and
  • address severe challenges of Sub-Saharan Africa.

"The G7 have again failed to deliver on their commitments. People around the world have spoken 'Enough of G7, World Bank and IMF driven economic development that exacerbate poverty, inequity and environmental degradation.' Africa and the rest of the world do not need more G7 promises, we need decisive action", says Njoki Njoroge Njehu, Director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network in Washington D.C.
"The severe challenges of Africa can only be met if the people are given the freedom to make changes themselves. This means that the G7, the World Bank and the IMF need to support, not impede, Africa's economic, as well as political, independence", says Thandiwe Nkomo, Zimbabwean activist.
The letters calls for comprehensive action on debt, environmental protection, poverty, and the particular challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa.
For further information:
Brian O'Neill, Oxfam Canada: 902-425-7877
Pam Foster, Halifax Initiative: 613-266-8100