London rally will pressure G20 leaders on just, fair and sustainable policies

By staff writers
February 19, 2009

A wide coalition of development and social change agencies, including church groups, is organising a major demonstration in central London on 28 March to highlight the need for just economy and ecology.

The ‘Put People First’ coalition says that the only sustainable way to rebuild the economy is to create a fair distribution of wealth that will provide decent jobs and public services for all, to end global inequality, and to build a green, low carbon future.

“Recession must not be an excuse for putting off action for global justice or to stop climate chaos,” they declare, as leaders from the world's richest nations prepare to meet on 2 April 2009 to address the worldwide economic crisis.

Christian Aid, Tearfund and World Vision are among the development agencies telling the G20 leaders that only just, fair and sustainable policies will be able to see the world through the recession.

The G20 summit is being hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is due to meet the heads of the IMF and World Bank on Wednesday for preparatory talks.

Tearfund’s Advocacy Director, Paul Cook, says the church is being mobilised locally and globally to respond to the needs of people losing their livelihoods in the downturn and those living in poor communities where the impact of climate change is already being felt.

“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,” he explains.

The network brings together religious and secular groups, with the latter including the Trades Union Congress, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam.

The director of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Ashok Sinha, said governments needed to invest in green jobs and low carbon economies.

Sinha declared: “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.”

Gordon Brown will discuss the global economic crisis and its social and development implications in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on today (19 February 2009).

Church agencies will hold an ecumenical church service at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London, opposite the Houses of Parliament, at 11am on 28 March.

The congregation will then join the main march as it moves through Westminster at around 12.15 and heads to Hyde Park for a rally.

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