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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
UN calls for globalisation summit
Massive security operation was prompted by violence at the previous summit in Gothenburg.
Riot officers prevent protesters getting near to the summit venue.
A high-level panel of UN experts has recommended a globalisation summit to reform the world's financial system.

Key recommendations
Global reform summit
Reform of WTO
Strengthened ILO
New world environment agency
New international tax organisation
The panel, which was chaired by Mexico's former president Ernesto Zedillo, and included former US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Indian finance minister Manmohan Singh, said that key international organisations needed fundamental changes to make them more democratic and responsive to the wave of anti-globalisation protests.

It wants the world's leaders, including key representatives of developing countries, to convene a world economic summit to tackle change.

The group calls for restructuring of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to make it more responsive to the concerns of poor countries, and for the creation of two new organisations.

It wants to see the creation of an international environment body to regulate the "global commons".

And it wants a new international tax organisation, which could consider a worldwide carbon tax and a possible tax on speculative financial transactions.

The author of the technical report, economist John Williamson, told BBC News Online that the panel wanted to stimulate the debate on the need to fund global development - although it was split on the need for a global tax body.

Costing poverty reduction

The report also makes an estimate for the first time of the cost of meeting the pledge to halve world poverty by 2015 - which was made last year by the world's leading industrial countries.

It says that to achieve these goals, public financial aid to poor countries would need to double, increasing by about $50bn each year.

And it calls for an additional $20bn to fund "global public goods" such as the prevention of tropical diseases and measures to save the environment.

It says that some form of international taxation should be considered to fund some of these goals.

And it calls for private capitals to continue, but "to be organised in a way that reduces vulnerability to crisis".

Debate on globalisation

The report argues that the world is becoming increasingly polarised into the haves and have-nots, and "reversing this shameful trend is the pre-eminent moral and humanitarian challenge of our age".

"In the global village, someone else's poverty very soon becomes one's own problem."

It rejects calls from some anti-globalisation protesters to restrict global free trade.

But it says the main beneficiaries of trade liberalisation so far have been the industrial countries, and the report calls for a "development round" of WTO talks that emphasise the removal of barriers for products from the less developed world such as textiles and clothing and agricultural products.

And it calls the WTO's decision-making process "selective and exclusionary".

Finally, although the panel rejects calls for labour and environmental standards to be negotiated as part of world trade talks, it calls for stronger powers for the International Labour Organisation to enforce rights for workers.

Stephanie Griffith-Jones, of the Institute for Development Studies in Sussex, said that there was also a need for an organsation to regulate international banking, and that proposals for a new Basle Accords could spell disaster for devleoping countries.

International taxes

More radically, the report addresses the issue of international taxation.

Many development groups are campaigning for the introduction of a transaction tax on currency trading to dampen speculation - the so-called Tobin tax.

Although the report does not endorse this proposal directly, it does say it is worth studying - and it calls for consideration of plans to set up an international tax organisation to administer it.

The report says such an organisation is also needed to develop international standards for tax policy, to restrain tax competition designed to attract multinational investment, and to arbitrate tax disputes.

The UN is trying to play an increasing role in the debate on poverty and international financial reform, which has been dominated by Western governments and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The recommendations will form a key part of the UN summit on financing for development which will take place in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002.

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02 Jul 01 | Europe
Salzburg expels protesters
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