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Finance Stakeholders Call for
World Commission on Global Finance

Submitted by: iScale

Categories: Finance, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Mar 26, 2009 – 12:11 PM EST


- March 26, 2009 - A diverse group of finance reform advocates is calling upon G20 to create a World Commission on Global Finance. "The current reform process is wholly inadequate," says group spokesperson Dr. Sanjeev Khagram Harvard Business School Wyss Scholar and World Economic Forum Youth Global leader.

The call comes from a group formed at a meeting at the Harvard Business School in January (list attached) and follows 14 months of consultations that included four dozen interviews and a survey with nearly 100 respondents working in the global finance arena. They see that the current approach is based upon traditional insiders who presided over development of the current crisis as incapable of the scale of innovation that is needed. The Commission structure and process should respond to:

  1. Foundational: Change must be driven by addressing profound questions about the purpose of the financial system and the principles that direct its actions.

  2. Comprehensive: Change must encompass the connections between accounting systems, currencies, regulatory systems, economic structures and all parts of the financial system.

  3. Inclusive: In addition to the traditional insiders, bring in other groups including responsible investors, multi-stakeholder groups working on finance issues, asset owners, labor, NGOs and critical academics. And make participation truly global.

  4. Systemic: True systemic risk is not only financial. The change must connect financial stability to the real economy, social equity, and environmental sustainability. This reflects "triple-bottom-line" logic: paper economies support bubbles and do not generate real wealth; increased income differentials lead to social violence and destruction of assets and wealth-generation; continual erosion of natural capital will lead to economic collapse.
The meeting held at the Harvard Business School was organized by the Global Finance Initiative (GFI) of iScale, and hosted by the HBS Social Enterprise Governance, Accountability and Performance Program. Khagram is also Ratan Tata Chair at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, and Lead Steward of iScale. The GFI began before the current crisis in January 2008, out of concern for the direction of the global financial system. The GFI is funded by the Ford Foundation.

"A World Commission is the scale of effort that this crisis warrants,"says Khagram who was Senior Policy Advisor for the World Commission on Dams. Like the WCD, the World Commission on Global Finance would be a multi-stakeholder process of two to three years that would hold consultations globally, do the needed research, learn from leading financial system change advocates, and start building a global financial system for the 21st century. "If dams warranted this type of serious, thoughtful and consultative approach, certainly we should do no less for the financial system," says Khagram.

The call for the Commission is accompanied by release of a report by the GFI that ends Phase I of the project and details plans for Phase II that are designed to push for such a Commission. A list of the GFI Advisory Team is attached – these individuals are acting in their personal capacity.

The GFI is a project of Global Action Network Net (GAN-Net) and iScale, supported with funding from the Ford Foundation. For the full report and more information see: https://sites.google.com/a/gan-net.net/gfi-share-space or contact:
Dr. Sanjeev Khagram:skhagram@scalingimpact.net; +1 (206) 697-0084
Dr. Steve Waddell: swaddell@scalingimpact.net; +1 (617) 388-7658

Global Finance Initiative Advisory Team

Last NameFirst NameRelevant NetworksOrganization (for identification purpose only)Job Title
1BurkeSaraFES' global network and civil society UN connectionsFES – Friedrich-Ebert-StiftungPolicy Analyst
2ChanMichelleFriends of the Earth Bank TrackFriends of the Earth – United StatesProgram Manager, Green Investments Project
3FlannerySeanState Street BankChief Investment Officer of the Americas (frmr)
4HabbardPierreTrade unions, Global Reporting InitiativeTUAC – Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECDSr. Policy Advisor
5HendersonHazelHenderson.com, Calvert-Henderson.com, Ethical MarketsEthical Markets Media (USA & Brazil)President
6KhagramSanjeevHarvard Business School iScaleiScaleLead Steward/CEO
8MacLetchieClaireAsian investorsASRiA – Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in AsiaExecutive Director
8ThamotheramRajResponsible Investors,NSFM – Network for Sustainable Financial MarketsAXA Investment ManagersDirector of Responsible Investment
9UnderhillGeoffreyAcademics on global financial issuesUniversity of Amsterdam, School for Social Science ResearchProfessor
10UzanMarcRegulators GovernmentsReinventing Bretton Woods CommitteeExecutive Director
11WhiteAllenCorporation 20/20
Global Reporting Initiative
Tellus InstituteSenior VP

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