Monday, November 17, 2008


As many of those "responsible for the current financial meltdown" meet "behind closed doors in Washington, D.C." to discuss the future of the global economy, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has challenged the legitimacy of the so-called "G20" group of nations and called for broader participation. The international financial architecture needs "a paradigm shift," says the WCC.

"Debates on a new financial architecture should include representatives of all developing countries and members from the civil society including religious communities," said the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in a statement on 14 November. The global crisis cannot be dealt with through "a meeting limited to a small portion of the world’s countries," he added.

The "G20" comprises leaders of 20 developed and emerging economies who will meet in Washington, D. C. over the weekend to discuss how to address the acute problems faced by the international financial system.

The global financial meltdown has debunked the myth that "deregulated financial markets are 'efficient'," stated Kobia. Its consequences are threatening the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Efforts towards development aid and the mitigation of climate change have been endangered as well.

As "the prevailing international financial system is one based on injustice […] nothing less than a paradigm shift is needed," Kobia said. The WCC general secretary proposed a series of recommendations for "a new international financial architecture," including a "global regulatory framework" and a "process of democratizing all global finance and trade institutions".

Full text of the WCC general secretary statement:

Additional information: Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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