Advancing a global welfare statehood: SI Committee on Economic Policy, Labour and National Resources meeting in London

6 April 2009


The SI Committee on Economic Policy, Labour and National Resources met on Monday 6 April 2009, bringing together representatives of SI member parties from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. At the meeting held in the Houses of Parliament in London, the Committee discussed the agreements made at the G20 Summit, addressing proposals to strengthen financial systems as well as the role Non-OECD states should play in reconstructing the global economic order.

Reacting to the G20’s reform of financial systems and institutions, members welcomed the extension of regulation, as well as supporting the Financial Stability Board within the IMF and World Bank as a first step in creating a new World Finance Organisation. Discussing the efforts of the G20 to promote good governance and offer incentives for regulation, the Committee added that the body should now agree on effective actions against tax havens and ensure more effective oversight of the activities of Credit Rating Agencies.

On developing nations, members praised a pledge by G20 members to meet the Millennium Development Goals and a commitment to sub-Saharan Africa as necessary for the protection of developing nations, although they also agreed that it was unacceptable for governments to use the financial crisis as a pretext to delay financial aid. Suggesting that the G20 format still excludes the poorest states, the committee called on both the UN and the G20 to support regional integration and to accept the participation of regional representatives in the global decision making, as well as for the creation of a new United Nations Security Council on Economic, Social and Environmental issues – a Council for Sustainable Development.

In addition, the committee adopted a Programme of Work until the next Congress. Members reiterated their commitment to the concept of global welfare statehood proposed by the SI at the 2008 Congress in Athens, a concept that encompasses the issues of labour, social security and national resources in relation to development. On the issue of labour, members agreed that achieving decent work for all people of working age would be the main challenge for global social integration, including the majority of workers worldwide who live in a situation without social protection in situations of informal labour. On social security, they pledged to incorporate the essentials of the welfare state with regard to employment, education, pensions and healthcare, with a strong public sector and fair tax regimes for financing redistribution as informed by the Nordic model. And in regard to the question of national resources, they looked at the possibility of regulation to help ensure that revenues from the production of national resources remain in producing states and regions in the interests of better living conditions for their citizens.

As part of the same programme, the committee proposed discussions with member parties and democratic left-oriented experts in India, Latin America, South East Asia, Russia, the Community of Independent States (CIS), Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As part of this process, the Committee proposed as well an exchange of ideas and strategies with representatives of the US and China.

At the end of the meeting, the Committee agreed to hold its next session in Stockholm on 11-12 June 2009. This will consider the Nordic Model as its main theme and be hosted by the Swedish Social Democratic Party.