What did we achieve? | World Development Movement

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What did we achieve?

If we do nothing, we risk having food riots in the poorest countries and also an unfavourable impact on global growth. We want regulation of the financial markets for commodities.”
- Nicholas Sarkozy, French president

From 2010-2014, we mobilised public pressure calling on the UK government to back proposals to regulate betting on food prices in financial markets.

Protest outside Barclays

Since July 2010, we have campaigned to raise the issue and in January 2014 the EU agreed to introduce regulation to help stop banks and hedge funds driving up food prices and worsening the global hunger crisis. Together with supporters, local groups and our allies in Europe, we have made this into an issue that cannot be ignored. 

Now we’ve seen historic progress.

In line with our demands, new controls will curb financial betting on food contracts and increase the transparency of deals. They are a first step to reclaiming our world from the grip of finance.

 

We’ve been continually outraged by the UK government putting banks’ profits above people’s right to food by opposing tough controls throughout the negotiations. But despite some weaknesses the agreement represents huge progress, meaning that for the first time the EU has rules to tackle food speculation.

Click on this timeline to have a look at what we have done so far.

What we fought for

During the campaign, WDM called for two key measures to be included in Europe’s proposals for financial reform:

  • Transparency – all futures contracts to be cleared through regulated exchanges. Most contracts are currently done in private, which means it is impossible to know how much of what is being traded. Contracts need to be brought out into the open, in the same way that shares are traded on the stock exchange.
  • Strict limits to be set on the amount that bankers can bet on food prices. Caps should be set on the amount of the market that can be held by the biggest players, and on the amount of the market that can be held by financial speculators as a whole.

 

What's happening in the United States?

Following work by the Stop gambling on hunger campaign in the US, regulation of food speculation was included in the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 which was brought in following the financial crisis. This shows what a successful campaign can achieve.

However, Wall Street is now lobbying hard to hinder the implementation of the new regulations and the US campaign has another fight on its hands. Strong regulation in Europe would help our US allies overcome this final hurdle.  



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