G20: Prioritize the Needs of the Poor
April 7th, 2009
On April 2, the Group of Twenty (G20) World leaders met in London to discuss the global financial crisis and explore ways to address the situation. Created in 1999, the G20 is a meeting of Finance Ministers on matters of global finance. It is composed of a group of seven (G7) wealthy nations, namely Germany, the United States, Britain, Japan, Canada and Italy; 12 members from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Africa (the only Africa nation in the G20) and representatives from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union.
The London summit was a follow up to the November 2008 meeting summit held in Washington D.C. to discuss a coordinated global response to the financial crisis. The summit hoped to agree on actions to revive the global economy, improve the financial sector and set principles for reforming the international banking systems at the World Bank and IMF.
Trade and labor unions, activists, NGO coalitions and faith groups organized public events, marches and rallies around London calling on the G20 participants to put the needs of the poor first, to act on climate change and to commit to include women in development investments.
One critical issue being voiced that requires immediate action is the plight of the 1.4 billion people around the world who are living in extreme poverty and who are more likely to suffer the worst from this global crisis unless action is taken now. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals called for action from the G20 leaders to help the suffering of the world’s poor from the crisis. He said their plight would worsen, thereby threatening global security.
As a response to the financial crisis, the Oblate JPIC office has been monitoring the global financial crisis and its direct impact on local communities where Oblates work. We join in solidarity with millions of voices calling the G20 leaders to take immediate action to help the poorest of the poor, especially people in developing nations who are feeling the greatest impact of this crisis. We also recognize that fundamental change is needed in the global financial sector; a business as usual mentality should not return after the G20 London meeting.
The recent JPIC Report (Spring 2009) includes several articles related to the financial crisis: Oblate response on Foreclosures by Fr. John Lasseigne OMI looks at how churches in Los Angeles are working to strengthen the position of parishioners vis. a vis. the banks as they face foreclosure. Catholic Social Teaching and the Financial Crisis, by Fr. Seamus Finn OMI argues that CST has core elements that can profitably inform solutions to the global financial crisis as well as the debate on globalization.