Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"IMF, World Bank Heads To Miss Key U.N. Forum"

Doha City: Where global economic policy is being made.

According to The Washington Post
The chiefs of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have declined to participate in a major U.N. conference next week on the financing of development assistance for poor countries, upsetting an effort to secure high-level attendance at a meeting aimed at goading the beleaguered financial giants into stepping up aid.......

Some top U.N. officials were visibly infuriated by what they viewed as a snub of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. One official accused Zoellick of trying to ensure that the major decisions on the financial crisis would be made by the less unwieldy Group of 20 nations, which met in Washington on Nov. 15 to try to coordinate international response to the meltdown. "It's fair to say that the secretary general was very disappointed and doesn't understand completely" why they will not be attending, the official said.
Comment: I am conflicted on this one. Of course, there will be high level representatives from the Bank and the IMF at the meeting, empowered to speak for the organizations.

There is a reasonable argument to limit the discussions to a relatively small number of countries, choosing those according to the magnitude of their GDPs. It is impossible to get much done with diplomats from 200 countries participating in a meeting, and in fact the "heavy lifting" of stabilizing the global economy is going to be done by the countries with the bigest, most linked economies.

On the other hand, I suppose that the governments of the rich countries are trying to exclude countries with poor populations because they don't want visible demands for greater equity in the global distribution of wealth and income. Demands from some countries that other countries give then more money are not popular among the countries targeted by the demands. JAD

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