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'Reform of the IMF, WB and UN needed'

A 'mini-summit' of the Commonwealth have emphasised the need to reform the institutions built in the 1940s as they do not have adequate capacity to meet current challenges.

world Updated: Jun 10, 2008 22:50 IST
HS Rao
HS Rao

A 'mini-summit' of the Commonwealth on Tuesday asserted that urgent steps are needed to bring about a major reform of the IMF, World Bank and the UN as the institutions built in the 1940s do not have adequate capacity to meet current challenges.

"We have agreed that we need a major reform of IMF, World Bank and the UN as the institutions built in the 1940s are not fit to meet the challenges of 2008," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who presided over heads of government of 10 Commonwealth countries, told newsmen at the end of the two-day session in London.

The summit also gave guidance to the Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma to develop an Action Plan on Reform of the International Institutions.

"The Commonwealth will work closely with the institutions concerned. To that end, we will work with the wider Commonwealth community, including at an extraordinary meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government on September 24, 2008," a statement issued by the Commonwealth said.

Referring to the current financial turbulence and record levels of prices of food and fuel, the mini-summit said "These challenges have further illustrated the fundamental weaknesses of a number of today's international organisations that are charged with promoting economic stability and sustainable development.

"Such institutions do not have adequate capacity, governance structures, or in-built responsiveness either to anticipate or to address global needs in a timely fashion. In some cases, such as energy and the environment, there is an absence of institutions with the mandate to deal globally with these issues of global public policy."

"We intend to accelerate UN reforms and their effective implementation, as a matter of urgency, through lobbying and advocacy in the UN itself as well as other international fora," the mini-summit said.

It said the reform and building of new international institutions should be based on six guiding principles that include equal and fair representation of all the countries.

Institutions must enjoy the legitimacy not only of their member states but also of the wider international community in order to command confidence and commitment, it said adding the institutions must be flexible and their business must be transparent and accountable and they must be effective.

Noting that the effective management of the global environment is one of the most pressing international priorities of our generation, the mini-summit said "the impacts of environmental degradation are most starkly felt in the smallest, poorest and most environmentally vulnerable countries.

"A new system of environmental governance must be fully integrated with development priorities and concerns, and be responsive to the needs of these countries."

As the Commonwealth leaders met inside the Marlborough House, pro-LTTE and Pro-Sri Lanka demonstrators held a noisy protest outside the venue.

While the LTTE supporters sought suspension of Sri Lanka from Commonwealth claiming "Sri Lanka is a terrorist State", the pro-Sri Lankan demonstrators sought Commonwealth's help to protect democracy in Sri Lanka.