Filipino to represent civil society in debate
By Veronica Uy
originally posted on
Posted date: March 13, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations, and not the G20, should lead in trying to come up with a new financial architecture that would rise out of the current economic crisis, Prof. Walden Bello of the Freedom from Debt Coalition said Friday.

Bello, who is scheduled to debate with a European Union official on the issue next week, said an exclusive group of the world’s 20 richest countries should not decide on the fate of the world economy

G20 is set to hold the so-called London Summit in early April, while the debate between Bello, who represents the global civil society, and Gert-Jan Koopman, Director General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission who would represent the EU delegation to the G20, is scheduled on March 17 at the Residence Palace in Brussels.

“The proper forum must be the United Nations. The process must be more inclusive. It is not appropriate that an informal group takes precedence in creating a new financial architecture for the world to meet the current crisis,” he told foreign affairs reporters.

“A UN-based forum is the only legitimate forum,” he said.

Bello, who is also senior analyst of the Focus on the Global South and a sociology professor at the University of the Philippines, said the solution cannot be entrusted on those who created the problem.

“We cannot keep on relying on some global institutions, particularly those that were part of the problem, to solve the problems of the global economy,” he said.

Bello pointed out that the International Monetary Fund’s insistence to liberalize capital account created the problem, while the World Bank’s structural adjustments deepened the poverty in developing countries.

“Why should we rely on failed financial institutions?” he asked.

Bello said he would try to raise these points during the debate, which is in preparation for the G20 meeting.

“The G20 conference is setting itself up for failure with wrong solutions and wrong venue,” he said.
“The G20 already met in November, but it was bound to fail because there was no representation from most countries,” he added.

Bello said the G20 was created after the Asian crisis in the late 1990s, and up until now, it had not done anything.

He said the UN had tried to come up with a multilateral economic organization in the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), but other multilateral financial institutions shot the idea down.

“They wanted control. In UN, everyone gets one vote each,” he said.

The debate between Bello and Koopman is sponsored by the Transnational Institute, an international network of activist-scholars providing analyses and intellectual support for a democratic, equitable, and environmentally sustainable world.
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