A two-day seminar organized jointly by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank will deal with the topic of their respective concepts of development and evolving institutional mandates. The seminar will also address issues such as wealth creation, social justice and the privatization of public goods, with special emphasis on the subject of drinking water.
The seminar, which will be held at WCC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 13 and 14 February, 2003, will be the first in a series of encounters between the three institutions to discuss fundamental matters concerning development. One of its main objectives is to enable participants to critically review the role their institutions have played in shaping the world's economy and improving the lives of peoples in poor countries.
"The encounters are expected to question the neo-liberal paradigm and its consequences in the world today, as well as to enable in a clearer understanding of the framework and pragmatic application of actual development practice as seen from the WB and IMF," emphasized Rogate Mshana, who coordinates the WCC Economic Justice programme.
The three institutions agreed to hold these encounters because they all share the goal of eradicating poverty, albeit with different philosophies and concepts of development. They are also committed to flexibility and sensitivity in addressing the main challenges in the world today, and are interested and willing to exchange ideas and experiences. The encounters, which should usher in a new phase in the debate, may lead to a summit meeting between leaders of the three organizations.
The speakers for the WCC at the seminar will be available for interviews with journalists. They are:
- Rob van Drimmelen (Netherlands), general secretary, Association of WCC related Development Organizations in Europe (APRODEV)
- Pamela Brubaker (United States), associate professor of Christian ethics at the Lutheran University of California
- Hellen Wangusa (Uganda), African Women's Economic Policy Network (AWAPON)
- Patrick Bond (South Africa), professor at the post-graduate school of public administration and development, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
The seminar will be opened by Bob Goudzwaard (Netherlands), professor emeritus of economics, former member of the Commission on the Churches' Participation in Development (CCPD).