The G20 road show is back in town | World Development Movement

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The G20 road show is back in town

By Heidi Chow, 3 September 2009

The G20 road show is back in town, five months after the last jamboree was held in London.

Lost in the media circus surrounding April’s G20 meetings (which at times seemed more interested in Michelle Obama’s sartorial choices and the menu at the Jamie Oliver banquet in 10 Downing Street), was important discussion about who was – and was not – in the room for the substantive talks.

As with April’s meeting, this week’s G20 finance ministers meeting continues to see only the usual suspects from large economies present and specifically only one African country (South Africa) in attendance. As Nobel prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz recently remarked, “There are 192 countries in the world, [and] 20 is a small percentage. Obviously what is necessary to respond to the crisis is not a G20 but a G192.”

But it’s not just attendance at these gatherings that needs to change; it’s the policy prescriptions that come out of them that also need to change, if we are to tackle climate change, global poverty and the spectre of rising unemployment around the world.

Amongst the rhetoric expected to flow from the G20 will be further demands for more free trade, even though free trade is associated with job losses and an undermining of local production. In London, we also expect to see reinforced support for the International Monetary Fund, an institution that has been massively discredited within poor countries but which is now rising, like a phoenix from the ashes of the global economy, to assert heavy control in newly bailed-out countries.

Meanwhile, with less than 100 days to go before crucial Copenhagen talks on a new international climate change agreement, investing in green jobs and channelling climate change finance through institutions that all countries can have real confidence in (rather than the World Bank) will be imperative.

The G20 meeting in April in London was a massive disappointment. The majority of money promised then has not been delivered and not a single penny of that money has yet been provided to a developing country in need.

This week, UK activists, including the World Development Movement, will be demanding that the G20 finance ministers Put People First. But the truth is, that unless we change the institution itself, we will always get policy decisions aimed at benefitting the elites represented around the table - and not those outside, looking in.

Click on attachment below for Put People First media briefing

For more information, contact: Kate Blagojevic, press officer, on 07711 875345

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