Protests at UN collaboration with Bank and Fund

11 August 2000

In June, 80 non-governmental organizations and people’s movements issued a joint statement condemning the UN‘s involvement in a joint UN, WB, IMF and OECD report A Better World for All, released during the follow-up summit to the Copenhagen Social Summit held five years ago.

They called on Member States to reject “A Better World for All which does not reflect the spirit, opinion and positions of the UN as a whole, particularly that of civil society. NGOs further pledge to intensify a global campaign against the document”.

The NGOs, peoples’ organisations and movements expressed “outrage” that:

  • the document was presented as a new consensus between the United Nations, the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank, thereby reinforcing Northern perspectives and disempowering the South while undermining the concept of political inclusiveness that defines the UN;
  • the timing of the release of the “biased messages”, by the Secretary-General at opening sessions of the General Assembly and Geneva 2000 forum, pre-empted negotiations and devalued its very process;
  • equal status was accorded to the signatories despite a clear distinction between the UN and its specialised agencies;
  • the document promotes an image of poor people living only in the South who will be grateful for assistance, as opposed to empowering people living in poverty everywhere to demand their rights;
  • the report’s characterisation of “pro-poor growth” makes Southern people themselves responsible for climbing out of poverty;
  • the document not only fails to recognise the role of IFI liberalisation policies in generating poverty, but instead proposes to eradicate poverty with more of the same medicine – despite the recent failure of these very same policies in East Asia.

Among other things the statement called for:

  • a re-commitment to the social summit process by analysing the root causes of poverty and gender inequality in the context of current globalization policies;
  • the introduction of a Currency Transfer Tax (CTT) to counter the instability of global capital transactions and mobilise further resources for social development.

The NGO joint statement

A Better World For All