Press Release - Monday, June 7, 1999

"Civil Society Takes Initiative on Reform of Global Financial Architecture"

For immediate release June 7, 1999

Ottawa -- In a simultaneous action around the world, over 100 non-governmental organizations from over 30 countries representing more than 26 million people are releasing a "Call to Action: A Citizen's Agenda for Reform of the Global Economic System." The Call to Action urges leaders of the G8 group of industrial countries to consider far-reaching reform of the global financial system.

"Measures currently on the agenda for this month’s Summit resemble those discussed at the 1995 Halifax Summit following the Mexican peso crisis. While commendable, they are not enough to prevent the loss of security, jobs and income which result from financial crisis", said Gauri Sreenivasan, Policy Director for CCIC and spokesperson for the Halifax Initiative.

The Call to Action addresses systemic causes of financial volatility and is therefore more likely than G8 proposals to avert future crises. Specifically, the document endorses major reform of the International Monetary Fund, capital controls like those in Chile and Malaysia and review of international trade agreements to ensure the right of governments to regulate, particularly, short-term foreign investment.

The Call to Action also supports the establishment of an international sovereign insolvency mechanism to address the debt crisis and to ensure that debt reduction is not conditioned to IMF or World Bank structural adjustment policies. Summit proposals for debt cancellation are insufficient to address the economic crisis of the poorest countries.

"Who makes the rules for the international financial architecture is as important a discussion as what the rules are", says Roy Culpeper, President of the North-South Institute. "At this critical juncture, when the numbers of the global economy and the global poor are both increasing, the building blocks of the new financial architecture must be participation and tolerance for different economic systems".

The G8 Finance Ministers meet on June 12th and the leaders on June 18th, 1999.

For more information, contact Pamela Foster, Coordinator, Halifax Initiative
tel: (613) 789-4447 fax: (613) 241-2292 email: