Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Rich countries still need to prove that poor countries are not being left out in the cold

The international community’s decision to convene a UN Conference to discuss the financial crisis and its impacts on development is important. However, it will only prove its value if it receives the support of all eco-political power blocks, especially the G20. The convening of a UN Conference on the financial crisis and its impact on development in 2009 was a key decision made at the three-day International Conference to Review the Monterrey Consensus which concluded in Doha today.

According to the Catholic network IDSE, the UN Conference on the Financial Crisis to be convened in 2009 will be the first test of political commitment to the outcomes of the Doha Financing for Development Conference. Industrialised countries and particularly the new US Obama administration will be under close scrutiny. Serious and high level participation in the Conference will be fundamental to achieve an outcome that reinforces the Monterrey Consensus’ commitment to ‘promote sustainable development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system.’

The political will to see this Conference succeed is all the more significant in the face of the general weakness of the Doha Conference’s outcome. "Poor deals on trade, debt, to concretely reach ODA targets, and to follow-up on the Monterrey Consensus have been the casualties of the long and discordant negotiations during the Doha Conference. It is at least fortunate that tax evasion, a curse for poor countries’ revenues, has been recognised for what it is," observed Jean Saldanha, Policy Officer in CIDSE. The Conference’s failure to strengthen efforts to gear political support for innovative resources for development, and especially the glaring absence of a mention of a Currency Transaction Tax sets back the progress in demonstrating its feasibility and value since the Monterrey Conference in 2002. The Conference’s feeble outcomes fly in the face of the plea for urgent action made by many countries in Doha who have been hard hit by the financial crisis. For CIDSE the big question now is whether the UN Conference on the Financial Crisis will be able to succeed to turn around the fundamental problems of global architecture that is perpetuating today’s financial crisis.

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