New world order must work for all countries – Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 03 Apr 2009

New world order must work for all countries – Oxfam
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other G20 leaders have delivered a vital pick-me-up for poor countries struggling to survive the economic crisis, but much more is needed to ensure their long-term recovery, international aid agency Oxfam said today.
Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said the $1.4 trillion pledged for global economic recovery was a welcome outcome, but that world leaders must ensure that poor countries get their fair share.
“The $70 billion rescue package for the world’s poorest countries will provide a much needed lifeline to help them weather the economic storm. However, it needs to be delivered quickly and it must come with no harmful conditions attached. Poor people need to start seeing the benefits now,“ Mr Hewett said.
“We also welcome the reaffirmation of commitments to aid, but it’s vital that rich countries keep their promises.
“The Australian Government has previously committed to increasing its aid budget from 0.3 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent of national income by 2015. The impact the global financial crisis is having on people in developing countries means we need to see a concrete commitment to this aid increase in the forthcoming May budget,” he said.
Oxfam is concerned about how the G20 has placed the IMF at the centre of this crisis. The fund has been given a blank cheque but its reform, to include more representation from developing countries, remains no more than a promise.
“We hope that the old world of G8 meetings where developing countries were just invited for a photo opportunity is dead. The G20’s new world order must be one that works for 192 countries not just eight or 20,” Mr Hewett said.
“Most disappointingly, the G20 failed to take concrete action to tackle climate change. The current crisis provides perhaps the best opportunity we will have to move to a global low carbon economy on the back of recovery spending in rich countries, and so avoid catastrophic global warming. But the G20 postponed the difficult decisions and missed a golden opportunity,” Mr Hewett said.
Oxfam has also welcomed the G20’s promise to provide at least $350 billion to reverse the dramatic decline in world trade. However, it’s likely that only $16 billion of this will be given to the poorest countries, who are feeling the sharpest effect of the economic crisis.
“Oxfam is already seeing the devastating effect of the financial crisis in developing countries. In Cambodia alone, 30 thousand garment workers have been laid off and are returning to rural areas. The G20 meeting provided a good start towards helping those who need it most. But it’s clear there’s still a long way to go,” Mr Hewett said.
For more information or to interview Andrew Hewett call Kate Thwaites on 0407 515 557