The world’s poor must not pay the price for the collapse of financial markets. Without immediate action, millions will suffer. Poor women and children will pay for the financial folly, failed ideology and crude self-interest that led to this crisis. Much of the burden will be borne by those least able to cope, whether it is poor families evicted from their homes in Detroit, or poor children dying in Mali for want of basic medical care.
As the leaders of 20 industrialised and emerging economies convene in Washington for their G20 Emergency Summit on 15 November, small-scale tinkering and limited financial regulation is not good enough. The world leaders gathered for the G20 meeting must heed the call of many around the world, including Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan1 and others, to have the ambition and will to act now to help the poorest. The decisions cannot all be taken now, but an ambitious vision can be articulated and followed by work with the UN in the coming months to rapidly build from the ashes of this crisis a new 21st century political and economic system that is just and equitable. Oxfam is calling on the G20 leaders to do three things:
1. Honour the OECD pledge not to cut development assistance, and increase aid instead by an additional $140 billion necessary to meet the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNI immediately. In addition, urgently extend credit to emerging markets facing liquidity crises.
2. Rewrite global financial rules and regulations to make the market work for all and not just for the few, including tackling tax havens and moving towards a more stable exchange rate system.
3. Build a new representative global governance system so it can tackle the economic, food, and energy crises.