Global Policy Forum

Policy Reform Initiatives

This section contains information and analysis on the policies proposed by the UN, NGOs and the G20 on reform of the global financial architecture.

Articles and Documents

UN Proposals | NGO Proposals | G20 and BRIC Proposals | Links and Resources

GPF Perspectives 

Follow-up to the United Nations Conference on the World Economic Crisis (September 8, 2009)

Global Policy Forum Europe (GPF) presents a factsheet on the General Assembly's outcome document and the follow-up activities of ESOSOC and the GA. (Global Policy Forum Europe)

Global Commissions on the Reform of the Financial System (March 24, 2009)

This Global Policy Forum Europe (GPF) factsheet provides background information on the various global reform commissions, which were established in response to the world economic and financial crisis. The paper lists the members of each commission and outlines details of the objectives, work plans and expected results of the various commissions. (Global Policy Forum Europe)

UN Proposals

UN Panel Calls for New Global Reserve, Credit Systems to Avert Future Crises (September 10, 2009)

The UN Commission on the World Financial Crisis aims to diversify fund mechanisms that help developing countries to get out of debt. The commission's chairman, Joseph Stiglitz, proposes a new global credit facility to complement the International Monetary Fund. Stiglitz also promotes the idea of a new global economic coordination council. The commission will release its final report on September 22. (UN News)

The Location of the Full Stop (May 21, 2009)

The impact of the financial crisis has had negative consequences across the globe.  According to the president of the General Assembly (PGA), the United Nations - comprised of 192 member states, is the only legitimate global body to resolve the economic crisis.  Industrialized nations are less willing to embrace this inclusive approach and demanded that the PGA remove many of his proposals from his initial draft outcome document of the summit, threatening to withdraw from the summit if he did not comply.  The wording of the outcome document is crucial, as it will determine whether member states commit to concrete measures to help poor countries stimulate their economies and give the UN a central role in international finance by establishing a new Global Economic Council.  Regulation of the global economy, global and regional reserve systems, restructuring international institutions and debt relief also feature high on the PGA's agenda for the proposed "Way Forward."

United Nations Economic Crisis Summit - Draft Outcome Document (May 8, 2009)

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann has presented this draft outcome document for the UN Conference which will take place June 1-3, 2009. The EU, the US and Canada objected to the process of producing the draft, arguing that the PGA has excluded member states from it. The PGA explained that he has incorporated inputs from the Co-Facilitators of the preparatory process as well as from his visits to member states. The draft contains bold proposals to transform the global economy in order to put a focus on people instead of profit, including a new Global Economic Coordination Council.

UN Economic Crisis Summit - June 1-3, 2009: Organization of the Conference (May 7, 2009)

The General Assembly has adopted a resolution on the organization of the High Level Conference. The resolution acknowledges that the UN plays an important role in the "ongoing international discussions" on reform and strengthening of the international financial and economic system. However, member states have not given the conference a clear mandate to make reform decisions. This Global Policy Forum document describes the contentious issues that arose during the negotiations and points out how these impact the conference.

Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development (March 25 - 27, 2009)

In these documents, Global Policy Forum provides detailed coverage of the General Assembly's Interactive Thematic Dialogue. The dialogue is part of the preparatory process for the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis, which will take place in June 2009. (Global Policy Forum)

March 25 | March 26| March 27

Recommendations by the Commission of Experts of the President of the General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System (March 19, 2009)

The recommendations outlined in this interim report will be presented at the General Assembly's interactive thematic dialogue on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development. The report offers immediate measures for global recovery, as well as an agenda for deeper systemic reforms and provides a wider set of ideas for discussion. (United Nations)

Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System (January 19, 2009)

This Global Policy Forum briefing paper lists the members of the Commission of Experts and outlines the scope of their work. Tasked to assess reform of the international financial system, the Commission will tackle the need for deep changes to the governance of the international financial architecture and assess the collapse of the financial sector, within the context of the interrelated food, energy and climate crises. The report identifies useful reference documents for the Commission's work, proposes a time framework for their upcoming meetings and offers recommendations for immediate action.

The First Meeting of the "Stiglitz Commission"; Recommendations for Immediate Action (January 2009)

The international economic crisis increases the inequalities between rich and poor countries. Developed countries can run a larger deficit to provide bail-outs and stimulate their economy. Developing countries, on the other hand, do not have the financial capacity to take such economic risks. In its recommendations, the Commission emphasizes the need for additional assistance to developing countries and urges rich countries to consider "the adverse consequences" that their policies might have on poor countries. (United Nations)

NGO Proposals


Fruits of the Crisis (February 5, 2010)

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are going through a revival forty-one years after their creation by the IMF.  The period has ended due to calls of top major governments in April 2009. SDRs have increased by more than six as a result. This joint report by Third World Network and ActionAid International thoroughly analyzes the history of the SDRs and a potential reform of the global reserve system which could work in favor of developing countries without being subject to IMF conditions. (ActionAid International)

Statement on the Negotiations about the Outcome of the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development

Civil society organizations call for governments worldwide to focus on the substance of the outcome document of the UN Economic Crisis Summit and urge leaders not to allow procedural delays to detract from progress on the fundamental issues that must be addressed during the summit.

Transforming the World In Crisis – Prague NGO Conference (April 1, 2009)

In the declaration from the conference "The World In Crisis: Economies and Policies for Global Transformation", NGOs call on global leaders and economic and finance ministers to put the world's economies at the service of the social and environmental interests of its people. The declaration covers a broad range of issues from equitable resource consumption to international taxation as well as international and regional financial institutions. This is the fourth parallel conference to the meetings of EU Economic and Finance ministers (ECOFIN), but this time the NGOs expanded its scope to match the deep and multiple global crises. (Prague Global Policy Institute)

Civil Society Consultation on the Work of the President of the UN General Assembly's Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System (February 2009)

The Office of the President of the General Assembly invited all civil society organizations to contribute proposals on financial regulation, multilateral issues, macroeconomic issues, measures to address the crisis and reform of the global financial architecture. These proposals were compiled by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) from almost one hundred NGOs and presented in this report. Policymakers will consider the report in their preparation for the upcoming UN conference on the world financial and economic crisis. The NGOs insist that a truly global response to the crisis must place the UN at the center of reform proposals. They demand that solutions to the crisis must not be based on "saving" the failed system, but on "changing" it, through deep reform of international financial institutions and addressing the global imbalance and inequalities.

G20 and BRIC Proposals

G20 Finance Ministers: crises brewing, but little action (February 28, 2014)

Last weekend's G20 finance ministers’ meeting produced an eye-catching (but detail-free) promise to raise global growth levels, but obscured the fact that little concrete progress has been made, with IMF reform mired in US inaction, no proposals for systemic reforms such as debt workout mechanisms, and a reliance for implementation on international institutions such as the OECD that exclude developing country participation. (Eurodad)


Sarkozy Lays out Plans for 'Moral' Reforms of Global Money Markets (January 25, 2011)

French President Nicholas Sarkozy is using his position as President of the G20 to enact a sweeping reform agenda that includes the imposition of "moral" rules on global financial and commodity markets. Sarkozy has promised to push for taxes on all "speculative" financial transactions. He also will call on G20 members to adopt a new global "social framework" that will improve working conditions and introduce minimum wage standards. Sarkozy insists that his regulations do not go against the "free" market model, but rather work to save the system from itself. 

IMF Studies How to Pay for Financial Sector Rescue (January 11, 2010)

Leaders of the G20 have asked the IMF to prepare a report on financial sector reform and taxation. Governments want to recuperate funds spent in the recent bailout, but it remains to be seen whether they will adopt serious reform measures. IMF working group leader John Lipsky discusses how the report will examine "all worthwhile proposals" but he emphasizes that this report "will focus principally on the funding challenges posed by potential future crises."  (IMF Survey Magazine)

China Urges New Money Reserves to Replace Dollar (March 23, 2009)

Just one week before world leaders meet at the G20 to discuss reform of the global financial system, the governor of the People's Bank of China announced a bold proposal for a new international monetary system. Because China possesses enormous foreign reserves, amounting to almost USD$2 trillion, the Chinese government calls for a new currency reserve system, controlled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The proposal suggests that expanding the role of the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) could lead to the eventual creation of a centrally managed, autonomous international reserve currency. Such a strategy, aimed at achieving greater global economic stability, would require real commmitment and coordination. Are the G20 leaders ready for this? (New York Times)

BRIC Countries' Joint Communique (March 14, 2009)

In their first communique at a G20 finance ministers' meeting, BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) demand a strengthening of global regulation and oversight, as well as better coordination of national and international regulation for all financial activities, including the "shadow banking system." BRICs call for fairer representation within the international financial bodies and emphasize that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should better reflect economic weight. The BRIC countries draw attention the inadequacy of IMF resources propose new credit facilities and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) based on "more flexible" conditionality arrangements. (Reuters India)

G20 Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Communique (March 14, 2009)

Following their meeting in the UK, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors released the communique in preparation for the G20 Leaders' Summit in London in April. Proposed action includes restoration of global economic growth and the urgent need to increase International Monetary Fund (IMF) resources through extension of New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB). NAB involves a more conditional credit agreement than the issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) - an artificial ‘basket' currency used by the IMF and its members. The communique emphasizes reform of the global financial system and strengthening international financial institutions, incorporating greater representation and reviewing the IMF quota. However, the reforms proposed fail to outline measures to tackle the deep, systemic root causes of the crisis. (G20)

Progress Report on the Immediate Actions of the Washington Action Plan Prepared by the UK Chair of the G20 (March 14, 2009)

The details of the immediate actions to be taken by the G20 are in line with the Washington Action Plan. Objectives include: strengthening transparency and accountability, enhancing sound regulation, promoting integrity in financial markets and reinforcing international cooperation and international financial institutions. (G20)

Preparation of the G20 Summit in London, 2 April 2009 (January 22, 2009)

At the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Washington in 2008, world leaders discussed how to strengthen financial markets and regulate regimes, to tackle the global financial crisis. This paper summarizes the final declaration from Washington and outlines the preparatory work for the next G20 summit in London in April 2009, identifying the key markers in the G20 calendar for 2009/2010. Major objectives of the 2009 summit include regaining confidence in the financial markets, building upon the benefits of open financial markets and reducing risk, to avoid future financial crises. (Global Policy Forum)

Declaration: Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy (November 15, 2008)

This statement from the G20 meeting on the Financial Markets and the World Economy marks merely a small step in the direction of restructuring the global financial architecture. The document discusses the root causes of the current crisis and action to be taken, emphasizing the need to strengthen transparency and accountability, manage risk, enhance regulation, and reform international financial institutions through multilateral cooperation. But the statement avoids establishing clear guidelines for the group's plan of action. (G20)

Links and Resources


This international think-tank promotes reform of the financial system for effective development, sustainable environment and good goverance.

Rethinking Finance

Set up by an international group of civil society organisations, this new website offers fresh analysis and alternative ideas on the future of the global financial and economic system. It provides information about, and comments on civil society's latest events and activities, in their work to achieve fundamental change.

The G20

Contains comprehensive information about the Group of Twenty and posts official G20 documents and statements.

The London G20 Summit 2009

The London Summit brings together the world leaders from the G20, and representatives of international financial institutions. This official site provides indepth information on the aims of the Summit and follows developments made on the work to restore financial stability and stimulate global economic growth.

The Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System

This page provides information about the panel of experts commissioned by the President of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss reform of the global financial architecture. The site documents the panel's meetings and reports.

UN Financing for Development

Following the progress of UN international conferences on financing for development, this page includes information on the agreements and commitments reached at the Monterrey conference in 2002 and the follow-up, review meeting in Doha in 2008.

The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS)

The Office of the President of the General Assembly assigned the NGLS to consult with civil society groups on reforms of the international monetary and financial system. This site reports on the preparation of the UN conference on the world financial and economic crisis, as well as other issues concerning constructive relations between the UN and civil society organizations.

Rethinking Bretton Woods (RBW)

Based at the Center of Concern, the Rethinking Bretton Woods project promotes reform of the international financial institutions. The website offers analysis on linkages with trade and finance, root causes of debt, global economic and social governance and human rights in international economic policy.

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