World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Proposals for Roundtables on Coherence

20 March 2002

Proposals for Roundtables on Coherence

by the Ecumenical Team Financing for Development

19 March 2002

Justice demands the genuine transformation of the international financial system, including the creation of new institutions, to ensure that all countries and their peoples are democratically represented and their concerns are meaningfully addressed. Ethical issues form the basis of sustainable development which is essential for peace. Financing cannot and must not be seen to be an end in itself. It must focus on people-centered planet-friendly development. Global justice demands the equitable sharing of resources to ensure a decent quality of life for all, and the redistribution of wealth and power at the systemic level to redress existing injustices. Global peace demands the shift of resources expended on military toward development.

Staying engaged requires tangible commitments and coherent policies and actions. The prevailing economic and financial systems place excessive power in the hands of international economic agencies and global financiers.

Global economic governance must be transformed so that its institutions (the IFIs and the WTO) are accountable and serve all people, not simply the wealthy and powerful. Genuine and just coherence requires commitment to:

  • The principle of democratization of the international financial system, to include:
    • Full participation of civil society, without exclusion, in economic, social and political decision-making at all levels
    • Strengthening ECOSOC's capacity to exercise its responsibility in the domains of development, economics, finance, trade, and social policy
    • Democratizing the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO
    • Establishing within the UN system a global forum on taxation, to initiate new forms of taxes, including Currency Transaction Taxes, to control the devastating volatility on vulnerable populations and economies;
    • National and international efforts to counteract excessive tax competition, tax evasion, corruption and money-laundering.
    • Creating a global council at the highest political level to provide leadership on issues of global governance.

  • The Jubilee principle of a fresh start, a pre-condition to real coherence, to include:
    • Immediate cancellation of the external debt of the poorest countries
    • Substantial debt reduction for heavily indebted middle-income countries
    • The establishment of an independent, participatory and fair debt arbitration mechanism which will promote ethical lending and borrowing policies.

  • The principle of the primacy of just trade, to include:
    • Immediate market access for developing countries
    • Elimination of the structural inequities in the global trading system
    • Solving the chronic problems of unequal terms of trade
    • Mutuality, transparency and public participation in future trade negotiations.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility, to include:
    • International human rights, labour and environmental law as the basis for regulatory frameworks
    • The re-institution - under ECOSOC - of the Commission on Transnational Corporations (TNCs) to establish regulatory mechanisms which address the relationship between corporate policies and practices and international obligations;
    • TNCs operating according to the principles of transparency, accountability, access to information and gender equity, with enforceable codes of conduct.

  • New Partnerships, to include:
    • Re-thinking NEPAD to ensure it includes the process and form of the original New Africa Initiative (NAI), which should first build dialogue and partnerships within Africa for an accelerated program of development led by Africans. The current version has become a casualty of a model of partnership driven by the dominant global economic forces, which themselves underlie the current economic, social and cultural crises in Africa.