THE CHANGING FACE of GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT FINANCE
Impacts and implications for aid, development, the South
and the Bretton Woods Institutions
Organized by the Halifax Initiative Coalition
Co-hosted by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation,
The North-South Institute and the Reality of Aid Network
Catherine Coumans, Chair, Halifax Initiative Coalition; Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada
In 2000, the Halifax Initiative Coalition organized a conference on Transforming the Global Financial System. At that time, the prospect of alternative institutions and mechanisms to the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs), for funding international development, were very much a matter of theoretical debate.
Now, just seven years later, the landscape has changed dramatically. There are now new players in the field in the form of alternative institutions, such as the Bank of the South and the Chiang Mai initiative. There are alternative sources of development funding, for example through new bi-lateral donors from China, Brazil and India, or from private sources, such as the Bill Gates Foundation. There are alternative mechanisms for financing development and regulating financial flows, such as airline levies, advance market commitments and currency transaction taxes.
The emergence of alternative international development institutions, new sources of development funding, and alternative mechanisms for financing development are occurring in the context of two major international processes relating to aid: the Accra meeting on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, and the Doha meeting on Financing for Development.
All of these developments, alongside the Accra and Doha processes, present exciting new opportunities and alternatives to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But they also pose new challenges.
In February 2008, the Halifax Initiative organized a conference on “The Changing Face of Global Development Finance - Impacts and implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions”. The purpose of the conference was threefold:
• With the guidance of both southern and northern experts, deepen the knowledge and understanding of Canadian and international civil society organizations (CSOs) on current economic paradigms and policies, and in particular sustainable alternatives to the Bretton Woods Institutions and the post-Washington consensus.
• Contribute to the development of Canadian and international civil society positions on a range of global finance issues, rooted in a perspective of shared human rights obligations.
• Identify key areas of collaborative work for the coming years.
This report includes a summary of the presentations and discussions at the conference. Background reading, glossary of terms, the final agenda, speaker biographies, participants’ list, and presentations and speeches for the meeting are all available on-line at http://www.halifaxinitiative.org/index.php/past_events/Changing_face_of_GDF.
We hope you will find it food for thought as we look ahead to the meetings in Accra and Doha.