New coalition calls on world leaders to 'put people first'

By agency reporter
February 17, 2009

A new and wide coalition of development agencies, unions, faith and environmental groups plans to tell world leaders attending the G20 summit in April that only just, fair and sustainable policies can lead the world out of recession.

The alliance of over 50 organisations, including the TUC, Oxfam, Tearfund, ActionAid, World Vision and Friends of the Earth, is calling on people to join a major demonstration for jobs, justice and climate in London on Saturday 28 March, five days before the summit.

Under the banner Put People First – March for Jobs, Justice and Climate, the groups will demand jobs and public services for all, an end to global poverty and inequality, and a green economy.

The march will assemble on the Embankment en route to Hyde Park for a rally to be addressed by speakers and celebrities from the UK and around the world.

The organisations backing Put People First say: “Recession must not be an excuse for putting off action for global justice or to stop climate chaos. The only sustainable way to rebuild the global economy is to create a fair distribution of wealth that provides decent jobs and public services for all, ends global inequality and builds a low carbon future.”

Tearfund’s Advocacy Director, Paul Cook, said: “World leaders must now work to ensure that failed systems are re-structured to fairly accommodate the poor in society. In a biting recession developing countries are hit even harder. And we are getting the church involved because both locally and globally the church is responding as systems collapse, livelihoods are lost and climate change impacts the most vulnerable communities.”

TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “People are angry at the job losses caused by this recession made in the world’s banks and at the slow response of world leaders to the challenges of poverty and climate change.

“But while these are going to be desperately tough times, the collapse of free market fundamentalism and the big changes already brought about by President Obama provide the hope that world leaders can change course and start to build a fair and sustainable world.”

Director of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Ashok Sinha, said: “We can and must tackle climate change and the economic downturn together. Only by investing in green jobs and thriving low carbon economies will a sustainable way of life be secured for generations to come.

“The lives and livelihoods of millions of poor and vulnerable people across all countries are at stake. The leaders of the G20 owe it to those most at risk yet least responsible for both the economic crisis and the threat of climate chaos to help create a global Green New Deal to tackle both.”

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.