Doha Poverty Talks Expose Deep Divisions Over Global Financial Reform
As the UN Financing for Development conference drew to a close in Doha today, Oxfam International warned that it had highlighted fundamental splits over how to respond to the global financial crisis, while failing to make the concrete progress that poor countries were promised.
WASHINGTON - "These negotiations have exposed deep divisions over the question of
how to overhaul the international financial architecture," said Ariane
Arpa, head of the Oxfam International delegation in Doha. "The fact
that talks came close to breaking down demonstrates just how determined
rich countries are to sidestep the UN, deny developing countries a
voice in global financial talks, and preserve their cosy little club."
to Oxfam International, the UN is the only legitimate source of global
governance. Although the talks were successful in calling for a UN
conference on the international financial crisis and its impact on
developing countries to take place next year, it nevertheless failed to
establish the UN at the center of the global response. Furthermore,
while the conclusions strongly emphasized the political urgency of
financing the fight against poverty, they fell short of translating
words into actions.
"The meeting has been long on talk, but short
on concrete outcomes," said Arpa. "It barely moves us on from previous
international commitments on tackling global poverty. Even before the
food, climate and financial crises hit, existing commitments were in
need of an urgent upgrade. While the world has changed dramatically, it
seems that some donors lack the political will to keep up."
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to Oxfam International, the final conclusions remain fundamentally weak
in a number of key areas - not least by failing to call for a radical
strengthening of the voices of developing countries in the IMF and
World Bank. Meanwhile, the wording on aid represents a climbdown from
the commitment made at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to increase
annual aid by $50 billion by 2010. "This conference was supposed to be
all about urgent, concrete action," said Arpa. "Rich country
governments made all the right noises, but when it came to the crunch,
there were some who were simply not prepared to deliver where it
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