Press Release - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Coalition calls on the G8 to address the causes of unfair globalization, not just the symptoms.
Cancel the debt, curb speculative capital, reform the international financial institutions
For immediate release                                                                                      
July 17, 2001

Ottawa – Civil society in Canada calls on the G8 leaders to adopt real solutions to global poverty and inequity such as 100 per cent cancellation of debt and the imposition of a tax on currency speculation. The G8 leaders meeting in Genoa this weekend are expected to renew their commitment to faster and wider globalization, while announcing new funding for a global health fund. Civil society will take to the streets again in Genoa as on-going protest of the G8 “you pain, we gain” approach to the global economy.
“Financial crisis, climate change, unbearable debt burdens – all of these impact on health. The global health fund is a welcome initiative,” says Gerry Barr, President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation. “Unless the G8 address the root causes of poverty, these sorts of global counter-measures will only treat symptoms of a much graver structural problem.”
For years, civil society organizations have called on the G8 to cancel the debt of the poorest countries. To date, only 23 countries have qualified for a World Bank and IMF programme that provides limited debt relief on condition of the successful implementation of three years of harsh adjustment policies. Although the world’s largest creditors have failed to cancel the debt, the G8 theme for this year’s Summit is ‘Beyond Debt Relief’. The preparatory documents for the Summit call for developing countries to further liberalize their trade and capital markets, although there is no evidence to indicate that these measures reduce poverty or stimulate growth.
“Debt relief, foreign direct investment, increased market access, even grants when coming from the G8 are often Trojan horses, opening up developing countries to transnational corporations which do not adhere to internationally agreed upon standards. With friends like that, who needs enemies?” says Derek MacCuish, Programme Coordinator of the Social Justice Committee.
A major topic for the G8 will be climate change. Although European members of the G8 have expressed their desire to support Kyoto Protocol commitments, all G8 members allow the World Bank to continue to finance fossil fuels. In the first five years after the Rio Summit the World Bank financed 25 times more fossil fuels than renewables.
“In 1995, the G7 called on the IFIs to reform, yet commitment to poverty reduction and environmental protection has not translated into a new approach,” says Pamela Foster, Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative Coalition. “The G8 need to open their eyes, not only their pocket books, if we are going to move ‘beyond rhetoric’.”
The G8 heads of state meet in Genoa, July 20, 2001.
For more information, contact: Pamela Foster in Genoa at 011-39-3357-881-731;
Katia Gianneschi in Ottawa : 613-241-7007;  John Mihevc in Toronto : 416-927-1124 x 228.