G-20 must boost social investment


by Ben Lilliston | September 29, 2009 • At the top of the agenda for the upcoming G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh on the global economic crisis should be a commitment toward greater investment in social programs, according to Social Watch—a global network of civil society organizations.

Every year, Social Watch publishes a report evaluating the progress of over 60 countries in areas of poverty, inequality and human rights. IATP’s Alexandra Spieldoch co-authored the U.S. chapter of the 2009 Social Watch report. The U.S. chapter looked at the crisis in housing, job losses, escalating domestic hunger and international engagement. It concluded that in the U.S., “blind loyalty to the `free’ market as the best arbiter of social, environmental and economic matters has created a `perfect storm’ of failing institutions, weak democratic infrastructure, and a safety net woefully inadequate to the scope of human suffering and displacement.”

Think Forward is a blog written by staff of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy covering sustainability as it intersects with food, rural development, international trade, the environment and public health. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy.

The country reports found that developing countries are experiencing the brunt of the effects of the financial crisis, which further threatens their fragile economies and cuts off vital sources of foreign aid. The exclusion of these countries from forums such as the G-20 creates a further obstacle to implementing socially just policies. 

“The U.S. needs to lead not only in committing to global aid, but also in reforming how that aid is given,” said Spieldoch in a press release on the report. “Aid must empower countries to produce their own food and better deal with the global economic crisis themselves. U.S. support for international human rights and the participation of all countries in developing a coordinated response to the economic crisis is essential.” 

You can read the full report at socialwatch.org.