Employment and incomes key to pulling world economy out of tailspin, as ILO predicts up to 50 million jobs to go and 200 million more into absolute poverty, as new IMF figures herald global recession. The global financial crisis now threatens to become a social time bomb if the world’s governments don’t act together to save and create jobs, according to global trade union leaders attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
The ITUC, with its national affiliates and Global Unions partners, is pushing a comprehensive recovery and reform package, with top priority on sustainable employment, in discussions with the global institutions and national governments. Ensuring workers’ rights to union representation and collective bargaining, coupled with investment in labour market programmes, have to be the core of recovery efforts to enable consumer spending to steer economies onto the path to growth. In their statement to the Davos meeting, the unions call for a series of measures to arrest collapsing global demand.
The union statement also calls on business to negotiate with unions to save jobs, upgrade skills, cut carbon emissions and re-tool industry to set the basis for recovery. This needs to be done through national social dialogue and collective bargaining and internationally through agreements between multinationals and Global Union Federations in the different sectors. The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 316 affiliated national organisations from 157 countries. http://www.ituc-csi.org
Filed under: Crisis, Economy, Employment, European Union, ILO
OECD countries have pledged to abstain from trade protectionism as part of a concerted drive to shore up the world economy and combat recession. They also have reaffirmed their commitments on aid to developing countries. Already in November 2008, at a meeting of the OECD’s Executive Committee in Special Session, OECD countries agreed to sustain recent commitments regarding open trade in support of developing nations, promising, ”Within the next twelve months… [to] refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.” They also committed to making efforts to close the Doha trade negotiations, reaching agreements that would lead to ”an ambitious and balanced outcome.”
Filed under: Banking, Crisis, Development, European Union, OECD, WTO
In most past financial crises – like those of the 1990s in Asia, Mexico, and Russia – financial services for poor people have been remarkably resilient. In fact, the quality of the loan portfolios of microfinance institutions (MFIs) during the Asian crisis and in Latin America during various banking crises barely quivered, while corporate portfolios collapsed. ”Our present crisis is like no other,” says CGAP CEO Elizabeth Littlefield. ”Microfinance is far more connected now. While it still has deeply shock-resistant roots, and many places seem unaffected today, there is little doubt that there will be impact.” Integrating microfinance into the mainstream has many benefits but it also has some costs. MFIs that depend on foreign capital investments are suffering, and the medium and longer term effects of a global recession are likely to be hard on microfinance clients in some countries. http://www.cgap.org/p/site/c/template.rc/1.26.4511
Filed under: Africa, Asia, Banking, Crisis, Economy, Microfinance
The world economic crisis spells the death of globalization and action is needed to protect the poor, said organizers of the World Social Forum as it wrapped up in Belem, Brazil on Sunday. ”We have come out against neoliberal globalization, and now that this globalization is destroying itself we have to define the world we want,” the founder of the event, Candido Grzybowski, told AFP. Another member of the forum’s organizing committee, Fatima Mello, said: ”The crisis has forced us to improve our proposals. We have built up a big network against the crisis and we will launch various days of world action and campaigns this year to make sure the poor don’t pay its high price.” The forum’s leaders hailed the strong participation at this year’s gathering, which brought together 133,000 people from unions, religious associations, family organizations, ecologists and other leftwing groups. http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br
Filed under: Crisis, Development, Economy, Trade
The global economic crisis should be viewed by Asia’s policymakers as an opportunity to expand investment in ”desperately” needed public goods, economist Jeffrey Sachs told an ADB audience.
In a lecture titled ”Achieving Global Cooperation on Economic Recovery and Long-Term Sustainable Development”, Prof. Sachs said that with the drop in external demand for Asian exports, the region will ”have to rely on public spending,” such as infrastructure, health, education and energy reforms.
”Asia needs all of that desperately,” Prof. Sachs said. ”This is still the region of the world with the fastest urbanization, with the most dramatic need for pollution control, for cleaning up the energy sector, for cleaning up the rivers, for sustainable urban development, for accommodating the migration of hundreds of millions of people from rural areas to urban areas. I like to view this crisis as an opportunity for Asia given the chronic underinvestment in public goods. Public spending has a very high social return and also has a very high macroeconomic purpose right now.” http://www.adb.org/article.asp?id=12767
Filed under: Asia, Crisis, Asia, Crisis, Research
The Asian Development Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a series of measures to further enhance the independence and overall effectiveness of ADB’s operations evaluation function.
”These initiatives will further enhance the independence and effectiveness of ADB’s evaluation function and will place it at the forefront of international evaluation practice,” said Executive Director, Mr Phil Bowen, chair of the Working Group which also comprised fellow Executive Directors, Mr Howard Brown and Mr. Wencai Zhang, and ADB Managing Director General, Mr Rajat M. Nag.
The measures include extending the term of the Director General of the Operations Evaluation Department (OED) to five years from three years on a non-renewable basis; and the position to be appointed by ADB’s Board, upon the recommendation of the Development Effectiveness Committee of the Board, in consultation with the ADB President.
The Director General’s performance will be subject to annual review by the Chair of the Development Effectiveness Committee, and the budget of the OED will be approved by ADB’s Board separately from the Bank’s administrative budget. OED would be renamed the Independent Evaluation Department to reflect its enhanced independent status.
Although ADB has a clearly articulated model of independent evaluation that emphasizes organizational and behavioral independence, protection from influence, and the avoidance of conflicts of interest, OED’s credibility as an independent evaluation unit could be further enhanced by the measures, the report said. http://www.adb.org/article.asp?id=12756
Filed under: Banking, Development, Asia, Evaluation, M&E
The SEED Initiative (Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development) has recently launched its call for proposals for the 4th edition of the ”2009 SEED Awards for entrepreneurship in sustainable development”. This award welcomes innovative ideas from any group in a developing country or country in transition worldwide, which is working in partnership with others to generate environmental and social benefits in an entrepreneurial way. The award consists of support services, worth up to $40,000, to help Award Winners to scale-up. The Award Ceremony will take place in New York, U.S.A. in May 2009. The deadline for submission is 16th March 2009. http://www.seedinit.org/mainpages2/awards/what/index.php
Filed under: Economy, Entrepreneurship