G-20 nations have a responsibility to the poor


I continue to be dismayed by the meetings of world leaders. According to the news from Toronto ("Degrees of Recovery Affect G-20," June 25), the consensus is less focused and leaders are more fearful of the economic downturn in developed countries.

While we know that the 20 largest industrial and developing nations worry about deficits and sustainable economic growth, we cannot forget that these are the world's richest countries. The world's poorest countries are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis; 90 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty due to a crisis that was not of their making.

Again, those outside the discussions ask for international economic cooperation that can move beyond the most powerful economies and accountability to the low-income countries and smaller economies, which are directly affected by decisions made at the table.

Since the September Pittsburgh G-20 summit, only $1.2 billion in new resources to the world's poorest has been delivered -- the same amount the Canadian government was spending on security for the three-day G-8/G-20 summit. And, because it's been in the form of new loans, it may create a renewed debt crisis down the road.

As the "premier forum for international economic cooperation," the G-20 has the responsibility -- and opportunity -- to ensure that the world's poor are at the forefront of future summits.


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