Appeal to G8: We need an “International Panel on Systemic Risks in the Global Economy”

Press Release, 8 July 2009

Today, an international team of researchers under the leadership of Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), published an appeal to the world leaders participating in the G8 summit in L'Aquila in the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau: we need an “International Panel on Systemic Risks in the Global Economy”.

From the simultaneity of the global financial and economic crisis, accelerated climate change and emerging challenges in international energy and food security policy it is clear that the international community will have to make considerable progress in the management of world problems in the 21st century if global systemic crises are to be defused. In the closely integrated global economy and society the emergence of workable global economic governance structures is becoming vital to the survival of humankind.

The International Panel on Systemic Risks in the Global Economy should not add yet another progress report on the global economy to the many world economic reports It should answer three sets of questions:

  1. From what dynamics do systemic risks arise for the global economy? What are systemic risks in the global economy of the 21st century?
  2. Is it possible to designate five to ten major systemic risks in the global economy of the 21st century and criteria for their selection (e.g. significance, impact, irreversibility)? What can be done to contain these systemic risks?
  3. What provisions can the international community make so that it may learn to react to unforeseen global systemic risks?

Solving global problems, however, may be thwarted not only by ignorance of complex systemic risks, but above all by barriers to collective action, by national interests and by power structures in the international system. In the three hundred years since the beginning of the industrial revolution, policymakers and political systems have observed and interpreted the world very largely though nationalist spectacles – and taken decisions accordingly.

The current global economic crisis is again making it clear how thin the blanket of this process of global civilisation still is: there is again a danger throughout the world of economic nationalism and protectionism growing in importance and of international investment in development cooperation declining.

Under conditions of increasing global interdependence, however, this pattern of action is no long fit for the future. It would itself become a driving force of global instability and so a global systemic risk. From the perspective of global risk prevention it is obvious that cooperation, fairness, international conciliation of interests and justice (interpersonal, international, inter-generational) must form the foundations for effective global governance. The Panel may establish normative standards for fair and solid globalisation.

A longer version of the call for an "International Panel on Systemic Risks in the Global Economy" has been published as Briefing Paper 6/2009.

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