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G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting Concludes

G20 finance ministers “concluded three days of talks late Saturday with pledges of greater cooperation to avert another financial crisis, leaving uncertain how far they would go in changing their domestic policies in response to international pressures,” the Associated Press/Christian Science Monitor reports (4/17).

Ministers met “as part of the World Bank/IMF spring meetings,” VOA News writes, noting the recent calls for the leaders “to also take up the issue of a Financial Transaction Tax [FTT]” aimed at helping fund development programs (DeCapua, 4/15).

In a statement (.pdf), the G20 “took note of sharply rising commodity prices, including food, and the impact of excessive price volatility on food security,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The countries agreed on ‘the need for participants in commodity derivatives markets to be subject to appropriate regulation and supervision’ and called for more transparency in cash and derivatives markets” (Handley, 4/16).

Max Lawson, a spokesperson for Oxfam, “criticized” the G20 finance ministers for delaying action on the issue until a G20 agricultural ministers meeting in June, the AP/Christian Science Monitor reports.

“Leaders today said the food crisis is desperately urgent, so urgent they will act on it … in June. That’s 66 days away. Nearly half a million children will have died of hunger by then,” Lawson said (4/17).