G20 Not Enough to Solve 'Financial Meltdown,' Says Church Head

( [email protected] ) Nov 15, 2008 12:31 PM EST

The head of the World Council of Churches has challenged the legitimacy of the G20 group of the world's 20 leading economies as the leaders meet in Washington, D.C., this weekend to discuss the future of the global economy in the midst of the global economic crisis.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia criticized the meeting for bringing together many of those "responsible for the current financial meltdown" in closed door talks.

He called for broader participation, saying that the international financial architecture needed to undergo a "paradigm shift."

"Debates on a new financial architecture should include representatives of all developing countries and members from the civil society including religious communities," he said.

The global crisis cannot be dealt with through "a meeting limited to a small portion of the world's countries," he added.

Kobia said that the current financial crisis, which has seen governments pay out trillions of dollars to rescue banks and financial institutions, shattered the myth that deregulated financial markets are efficient.

The crisis, he added, is also jeopardizing the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme global poverty by 2015 as well as aid provision and efforts to mitigate the effect of climate change.

As "the prevailing international financial system is one based on injustice [...] nothing less than a paradigm shift is needed," Kobia stated.

The General Secretary said the solution lies in the creation of new international financial architecture," including a "global regulatory framework" and a "process of democratizing all global finance and trade institutions."