Currently the global financial system increases inequality, often fails to create decent jobs, undermines human rights, devastates the environment and is creating debt crises.
The driving force behind all of these problems is that the institutions that control finance do not serve the majority of citizens across the globe.
We need a financial system that works for all and is democratically controlled.
The power imbalance within the financial system at present means that we see:
- profit being favoured over people,
- private finance favoured over public finance
- and debt favoured over development.
The only way to reverse this situation is to give greater power to the people. By informing, connecting and strengthening active movements of people, we help to balance power and provide a contribution towards the greater change needed.
Three years: September 2017-August 2020
The project is implemented by six European non-governmental organisations (NGOs):
- Christian Aid (UK)
- Counter Balance (Czech Republic)
- Financial Justice Ireland (formerly DDCI)
- erlassjahr.de (Jubilee Germany)
- Eurodad (Belgium)
- Observatori del Deute en la Globalització - ODG (Spain)
Citizens for Financial Justice is a three-year project funded by the European Union’s DEAR programme (Development Education and Awareness Raising).
Citizens for Financial Justice supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by mobilising EU citizens to support effective financing for development (FfD) on two specific themes:
- and private finance.
A key component of the project is the provision of grants to small and medium civil society organisations (CSOs) – from local, grassroots organisations, to national CSOs and CSO platforms
The project aims to increase and improve the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) across the EU to:
- raise awareness of development finance issues,
- engage in development education activities,
- and undertake advocacy and campaigning on financing for development.
- To contribute to increased availability of reliable, democratically controlled and effective financing for development, as a key means of implementation for the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- European citizens are informed and engaged in discussion about the reforms needed to increase the quantity and improve the quality of financing for development.
- European Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are supported and enabled to actively participate in strong civil society networks, in order to increase public awareness of Financing for Development, thus creating widespread support for European policy reforms.
- Civil society organisations across the EU significantly increase and improve their capacity to promote awareness raising, development education, and advocacy and campaigning on financing for development.
Across the world, the impacts of the 2008 global financial crisis are still being felt. In Europe and beyond, austerity measures have contributed to rising inequality and severely impacted the enjoyment of human rights.
Over two-thirds of the world’s countries are currently estimated to be pursuing austerity policies, but these are failing to deliver on their stated aim to bring down public debt levels.
Why debt impacts the SDGs
Global debt is at an all-time high, with 119 countries in the Global South considered to be critically in debt. Poor country debt payments are reaching peaks not seen since 2004. With more money servicing debt, and with the needs of creditors being privileged over the needs of people, social spending by governments is being hit, impacting human rights, and setting back progress towards the SDGs.
This worrying picture has been fuelled by a lending boom to the South, triggered by policy decisions introduced by rich economies in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Low global interest rates have incentivised capital flows into poorer countries with a specific focus on infrastructure financing.
Rich countries and international financial institutions continue to promote a new development finance orthodoxy, pushing the use of public funds to mobilise private capital. But the risks that this approach poses to debt sustainability in developing countries is often neglected.
Reforming the system
Reform of the international financial system has meanwhile stalled in the years since the financial crisis. Regaining momentum for reform is critical if we want the ambitious promise of the SDGs to be met, and this will be boosted by stronger global networks of informed citizens.
Strengthening the ability of citizens’ groups to understand and analyse the problems in the financial system and to organize across social divides and national boundaries will increase their ability to influence change. This in turn will move us closer to embedding responsible financing practices in the global system and redressing the power imbalance in international financial institutions.
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Image: courtesy of Philipp Striegler via Jubilee Germany
This content was produced with the financial support of the European Union. It is the sole responsibility of Citizens for Financial Justice and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.