Since September 2008, when the financial crisis took on global dimensions, the Group of Twenty has met three times at the level of Heads of State, and with a seeminly impressive array of commitments on tax issues, emergency finance, trade finance, global governance, regulating private capital, and redefining new roles for existing and new global institutions. But what is missing in their response to the global crisis? Who are the real winners and losers? What has really changed, and what hasn't? And are the levels of change commensurate with the tectonic shifts taking place in the global economy and with the degree of impact on the ground? Perhaps more importantly, are these the type of changes to ensure a crisis like this never happens again?
What: What's missing in the response ot the global financial crisis?
Who: Organized by the Halifax Initiative Coalition; co-hosted by The North-South Institute and the University of Ottawa.
When: October 19 - 20, 2009.
Why: The conference will look at current responses to the financial crisis, identify where those responses are falling short, and propose some policy alternatives ahead of Canada hosting the Group of Eight Summit in 2010.
|IN THIS SECTION
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.
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.
Rich countries block real change at UN meeting on crisis
In June the United Nations was the site of a battle being waged between the G77, a group of over 130 developing countries, and the United States, Canada, Japan and the European Union. The fight was over how to address the financial and economic crisis and efforts to transform and democratize the global financial system and its institutions. The final outcome document of the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development is positive in that it represents a truly global response and has opened up space for countries to express their views on crisis. But the document falls short because rich countries blocked it from including more substantive solutions (see JUST THE FACTS). This is particularly distressing given the wealth of ideas generated in the Stiglitz Commission (IU May 2009), one of the key inputs for the meeting.
Tensions build as UN conference on crisis postponed
June 24-26 now mark the new dates for the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impacts on Development, postponed from the beginning of the month as many European heads of state had said they could not participate because of European Parliamentary elections. The postponement is welcome relief to a process that began last October and has been tense ever since, exposing clear lines between those who favour a truly global response to the current crisis with a real rethink of how the global economy is governed vs. the newly crowned G-20 and their proposal for a status quo plus approach.
May 12, 2009
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper,
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Re: High-level participation at upcoming UN Conference
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
From June 1-3 the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development will take place in New York. We the undersigned urge you to give this conference the political weight it deserves and to participate as our country’s Head of Government.
G-20 response to financial crisis - money, money, money
All eyes were on the Group of 20 (G-20) this month as they met in London and announced a whopping $1.1 trillion to stimulate the global economy. The impressive figure and various commitments on tax havens, regulation, and boosting the IMF’s lending capacity (See “Just the Facts”) grabbed the headlines and saw stock markets respond positively the next day.
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.
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Re: Forthcoming G-20 meeting on the global financial crisis
Dear Prime Minister:
As you head to London next week for the second Group of Twenty (G-20) meeting, we are writing to urge Canadian leadership on four key issues related to the impact of the financial crisis on poor countries that we feel have been neglected up until now.
To date, your government has focused primarily on addressing the immediate fallout of the financial crisis, and has taken steps to restore the flow of credit and consumer confidence, boost spending, and create jobs. Canada has also encouraged G-20 countries to avoid protectionist measures that will only exacerbate the current climate.
New bill on CSR puts government house in order
This month Liberal MP John McKay introduced a private members’ bill (see Just the Facts) that imposes tighter controls on the provision of government support to Canadian extractive companies. Numerous studies have highlighted the significant environmental and human rights impacts of oil, gas and mining operations overseas. In 2005, a report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) drew attention to the fact that some Canadian extractive companies, which are responsible for adverse impacts, receive financial and political support from the Canadian government.