WCC calls on Brown to ensure G20 thinks long-term

By agency reporter
March 31, 2009

Responses to the current global financial crisis must be more than just an occasion for "short term financial bail out actions." It must be viewed as an opportunity to seek "long term transformation based on sound ethical and moral principles", says the World Council of Churches.

As a result, a "new financial architecture" should be developed "under the aegis of the United Nations where broad participation of all countries and the civil society could take place".

This is the proposal made by the WCC general secretary Dr Samuel Kobia in a 27 March letter to Gordon Brown ahead of the G20 summit which takes place on 2 April in London.

Brown holds the rotating presidency of the G20, an informal grouping of nations that includes the group of the eight most developed countries (the G8) and a number of emerging economic powers.

In his letter, Kobia makes the case for "radical changes" in view of a "drastic transformation" of global finances, aware of the fact that this goal would take "brave and new measures". Welcoming the idea of a "global charter for sustainable economic activity" proposed by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Holland's Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Kobia suggests 12 concrete proposals for the debate.

According to Kobia, values such as "honesty, social justice and dignity for all" need to be at the centre of a new financial architecture; in addition, mechanisms to curb "greed as the basis for economic growth" are needed. Only in this way will the "moral and ethical dimensions" of the crisis be taken into account.

Setting the financial crisis in a broader context, the WCC general secretary states that "churches believe that fighting global poverty, the food crisis and climate change should be given the same attention” as salvaging institutions from the financial crisis.

Full text of the WCC general secretary's letter to the G20: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=6722

WCC work on economic globalization: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=3117

G20 London summit official website: http://www.londonsummit.gov.uk/en

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