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World Development Movement blog


23 June 2011

Today campaigners in the west still protest in solidarity with people in the global south but now there is an even bigger group of people joining the call for an end to an economic system that benefits the few at the expense of the many. Citizens in Europe and the US are now feeling the brunt of policies that are being driven by the same ideology that impoverished poor communities in the global south.

22 June 2011

Patrick Bond, director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society

Judging by what transpired at last week's global climate negotiations in the former West German capital, Bonn, it appears certain that in just over five months time, the South African port city of Durban will host a conference of procrastinators, the 'COP 17' (Conference of Parties), dooming the earth to the frying pan. Further inaction on climate change will leave our city's name as infamous for elite incompetence and political betrayal as is Oslo's in the Middle East.

21 June 2011

Adam Ramsay, Bright Green

In 2005 Latin America made up 80% of the IMF’s total lending. In 2007 it made up only 1%. Over 3 years, their total loan book dropped from $81 billion dollars to $11.8 billion. To put it another way, they lost nearly all of their power.

14 June 2011

Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign

Thanks to Keanu Reeves stealing historical figures for a history project in 1989, the one quote I think I remember from philosophy is from Socrates: ‘wisest is he who knows what he does not know’.

At a World Bank and Swiss government organised debt conference in Berne, there seemed a need for more acknowledgment of what we do not know.

8 June 2011

With a backdrop of a stagnating economy and a population increasingly questioning the logic of his strategy for cutting the deficit, this morning I heard the chancellor, George Osborne, defend his and the government’s policy of fast-reaching, sweeping cuts, many of which are yet to make their teeth fully felt. The IMF, he insisted, were soon to announce their backing for the strategy, and who could be a more independent (and thus compelling) judge than they?


6 June 2011

In a report released yesterday, the United Nations called for the regulation of financial speculation on food prices, to prevent “price bubbles”.

Financial gambling by banks, hedge funds and pension funds causes massive hikes in the price of basic foods, making millions of people go hungry. 

The report by the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development says that due to speculation, prices are no longer driven by supply and demand.

2 June 2011

Earlier this week, the European Parliament’s economic affairs committee voted overwhelmingly – 36 against 1 – in favour of a draft law to regulate shadowy derivatives trading. Derivatives are complex financial contracts that can be bought and sold and are the way that banks can speculate on food prices. One of the demands of our food speculation campaign is that food derivatives are traded on ‘open exchanges’ where they can be regulated properly and all trading is transparent, in the same way shares are traded on the stock market. 

2 June 2011

Tom Shelton, Handicap International UK

Leading financial institutions, both in the UK and worldwide, are continuing to invest billions of dollars in companies producing cluster munitions, despite these weapons being banned under international law, according to a new report released last week.

26 May 2011

‘It’s very hard,’ Holly Rakotondralambo told me before the start of last night’s public meeting in London about tar sands mining in Madagascar and Canada. ‘We only have seven people in our organisation. We are like a family.’

24 May 2011

Yesterday’s announcement by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg that the UK Green Investment Bank will start operating in April 2012 is good news. But the coalition’s claims to be the “greenest government ever” ring pretty hollow as long as bailed-out bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) continues to use taxpayers’ money to finance projects like tar sands extraction in Madagascar.


23 May 2011

Environmental campaigner Holly Rakotondralambo from Madagascar is visiting the UK this week to highlight the threat to her country from proposals to mine tar sands there.  Here she tells WDM about the concerns of the local communities around the mining areas that she has visited and what we can do to help stop the threat of tar sands mining in her country.

19 May 2011

Jeremy Williams, blogger from

As a child growing up in Madagascar, I remember the fleet of distinctive cars driven by the American oil workers. They had their own school for the children of AMOCO families. They even had their own supermarket, which we only found out about when the company pulled out. Like the rest of the expatriate community we descended like hawks on the closing down sale, and came home with armfuls of exotic US goods - bacon bits, tubes of cheese and dried French onions.

16 May 2011

Since we launched our campaign against food speculation nearly a year ago – then virtually an unknown issue – momentum has been steadily building towards regulation. We’ve had wide-ranging support, including from the British mainstream media, leading academics, former hedge fund managers, the UN special rapporteur on the right of food and the head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation. In January over 3,000 people made submissions to a European Commission consultation on the issue. Food speculation and the impact that it has on the world’s poorest people clearly resonates and we are confident that we can win this campaign.

19 April 2011

Iain Thom, oil-addicted RBS banker

Inside the RBS AGM today members of three Canadian First Nations spoke out against UK public money helping RBS invest in the companies extracting tar sands in Alberta.

A group of campaigners dressed as oil-addicted bankers meanwhile staggered around outside drinking from oil cans and calling on the Government to cure RBS of its oil fossil fuel addiction.

12 April 2011

Steve Rolfe, Glasgow WDM group member

It's not often you get the chance to dress up as a blue eagle or a profit-crazed banker (or a bit of both!) in the middle of Glasgow. But it's fun when you do.

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