G20 campaigners lobby world leaders at London summit

Effie Jordan

Earlier this year, tens of thousands of people marched to demand the G20 Put People First as the leaders of the world’s richest nations met in London to discuss ways out of the economic crisis. Far from putting people first we’ve seen nothing but a tinkering around the margins followed by the return to business as usual. On Saturday the G20 returned to the UK.

The agenda on the table aimed to nurse back to life an already failed economic model, while looking to sew up an unjust international climate deal outside of the UN process. Campaigners for change are raising some key questions:

• In the run up to Copenhagen (the international climate change summit of world leaders), how do we get a global agreement on       climate that truly puts climate justice at its heart?
• How do we respond to the jobs crisis and growing poverty around the world?
• How do we ensure the global Green New Deal the world needs?
• How do we show that cuts in public services are not the only option and demonstrate what Putting People First really looks like?

A counter-conference by campaigners, supported by The-Latest, brought together academics, activists, campaigners, unions, policy makers and YOU to share ideas on what the alternatives are and how we must organise across our issues, of jobs, justice and climate, to make the alternative the reality.  It is one of two alternative G20 conferences held simultaneously in London and St Andrews, Scotland, on November 7 to coincide with the G20 finance ministers meeting of November 7-8. The conference took place at Westminster Central Hall, a fantastic venue right in the heart of the British capital.

Over three plenary sessions we invited academics, activists, campaigners, unions and policy makers to debate alternative policies to promote jobs, justice and a safer climate. Smaller breakout sessions gave participants the opportunity to take part in more focused debates on the linkages between the economy, environment and international development and in addition, discuss how we can mobilise and turn our ideas into action.

The Counter Conference was part of a series of events happening in London during the G20 summit week. It was preceded by a policy conference Recovery towards what? Finance, justice, sustainability hosted by the TUC at the Congress Centre, including a public event in the evening with high level political speeches.

Speakers included:

-         Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, former Danish prime minister and president of the Party of European Socialists
-         Jon Cruddas MP
-         Deborah Doane, director of World Development Movement
-         Billy Hayes, general secretary of CWU trade union
-         Vimbai Mushongera, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
-         Louise Plaatjes, UNI Africa
-         Vincent Dlamini , Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions
-         Lidy Nacpil, Jubilee South
-         Andrew Simms, new economics foundation

For further information and registration please visit our website

* Effie Jordan is a campaigns worker for the World Development Movement.