India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterparts from other G20 countries have agreed to maintain financial stimulus packages aimed at bailing out distressed economies but failed to agree to a financial package to help developing countries fight climate change.
Although economic and financial conditions had improved, “the recovery is uneven and remains dependent on policy support, and high unemployment is a major concern,” the finance chiefs from the world's economic powerhouses said in their communiqué after a day's meeting in the Scottish golfing resort of St Andrews on Saturday.
“To restore the global economy and financial system to health, we agreed to maintain support for the recovery until it is assured,” they added. The world's richest economies are thought to have spent some $500 billion so far in bailing out some of their largest banks.
The pledge to keep up stimulus packages follows projections in the latest issue of the National Institute Economic Review that British consumer spending will continue falling in 2010 and 2011, while unemployment will reach 2,950,000 in the first quarter of 2011.
Meanwhile, the finance ministers were accused of failing to deliver on climate change finances in the run up to a summit in Copenhagen this December.
The environmental group WWF said the meeting had been an "irrelevant side-show" while Oxfam said it had not lived up to the rhetoric.
The communiqué said finance ministers will "commit to take forward further work on climate change finance, to define financing options and institutional arrangements".
Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said, "The G20 finance ministers meeting turned out to be a mostly irrelevant side-show on the way to the talks in Copenhagen in a month's time.”