Activists call for less ‘dirty’ economic policies at G20

Matthew Moore

An alternative summit will take place on 7 November in St. Andrews

A coalition of charities, unions, and advocacy groups have banded together to protest the G20 meeting in St. Andrews tomorrow.

The bodies, many with individual issues, have been meeting for months to further a “common cause”.

A beach side protest, a photograph stunt, seminars and workshops have all been planned for the hundreds expected to gather from across Scotland.

The Group of 20 summit is made up of 19 finance ministers from the world’s richest countries and a European Union representative.

Francis Stuart of Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) spoke to Edinburgh Napier News: “We’ve been involved in a steering groupd for months now, this is not about our own organisation, it’s about the common good.

“In the afternoon, we’re doing a workshop about carbon responsibility. Looking at the investments of banks on the climate, whether they are a cause for good or a cause for bad, more often than not they seem to be bad.”

One of the many issues FoES would like to see politicians commit to is more finance for developing countries.

“Long term, we’d like to see the developed world give 100 billion per annum to developing nations for mitigation and adaptation – to help cope with climate changes.

“We should give them money to develop as we (developed nations) did, but rather than in a dirty way, in a clean way,” said Mr Stuart.

In the short term, Mr Stuart said, FoES would like to see finance ministers commit to a low carbon economy.

Director of campaigns for Jubilee Scotland, James Picardo, spoke to Edinburgh Napier News about the results they would like the global meeting to produce.

“The G20 is coming together to discuss responses to the financial crisis, we want them to put people first, to implement climate friends policies with the focus on the wellbeing of people.”

A shadow council summit meeting in the afternoon is expected to draw several hundred people.

Mr Picardo said that the short term goal should be to ensure that in the current recession a risk assessment is carried out to minimise the effects.

“We need some form of emergency policies to make sure it (the recession) doesn’t affect the poorest of the poor.

“Longer term, we’d like to see a change in the climate of these discussions, they affect everyone and discussions should be more like United Nations conferences – with greater input from all more countries,” Mr Picardo said.

British Chancellor Alistair Darling spoke to European newspapers this morning ahead of meetings today and tomorrow.

Responding to criticism of the further £30 billion investment in banks this week he said: “We either take action and stop those problems happening or we fail to take action and we face bigger costs down the line.

“My message to my fellow finance ministers is there’s a job of work to be done here. I don’t think anyone seriously denies there’s a problem here. Let’s get on with it,” Mr Darling said.

G20 Protest Sponsors & Organisers:

  • World Development Agency
  • Christian Aid
  • Jubilee Scotland
  • National Union of Journalists
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • Unison
  • STUC
  • Scottish Fair Trade Forum
  • Unite
  • Equity
  • Communication Workers Union
  • War On Want
  • Universities & College Union
  • SEAD
  • Oxfam
  • Take One Action
  • Justice & Peace Scotland
  • Tax Justice Network
  • Concern Worldwide