John McDonnell calls for overhaul of world’s economic bodies amid ‘failure’ to tackle climate change

Posted On: 
13th July 2019

John McDonnell is calling for an overhaul of the world’s top economic institutions in order to distribute more power beyond the west and to tackle climate change.

John McDonnell will call for more power to be distributed outside the US and Europe
PA Images

The Shadow Chancellor is set to accuse the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) of “failing” to use their mighty resources to take on global warming.

Speaking at Labour’s inaugural International Social Forum in London, he will also say that countries in the Global South – which includes Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia – have been “shut out” of major decisions about the global economy for too long.

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Mr McDonnell will call for a new Global Economic Coordination Council to replace the “unrepresentative” G20 and bring the “crisis-hit” WTO formally into the UN system.

“The reality is that for too long the World Bank and IMF have failed to throw the entire weight of their resources and expertise into tackling climate change,” he will say in a speech at the University of London.

“The WTO is in crisis in many ways, including as a result of the US’s blocking of appointments to its appellate body.

“It has not done enough to ensure integration of trade measures and measures to combat climate change.

“The work of the IMF, the World Bank, and others has diminished people power – contributing to a loss of political agency – especially in the Global South."

Mr McDonnell will say that UK-developed technologies should be made “free or cheap” to less-developed countries so they are not unfairly affected by climate change.

He is also expected to round on the IMF and World Bank for “wielding its power” through a “grotesque ‘gentleman’s agreement’” that ensures it is led by a European and an American.

Hitting out at his former opposite number, the Shadow Chancellor will add: “That’s the gentleman’s agreement that has produced the bizarre spectacle of George Osborne, architect of UK austerity, sticking his hand up to be the next Managing Director of the IMF.”


Elsewhere, Mr McDonnell will condemn the perception that the world is split between “defenders of existing right-wing globalisation and xenophobic nationalists”, by insisting that "another internationalism is possible".

“Those of us who aspire to a different order will need to do similar work to reshape our international settlement, but in a less top-down way,” he will add.

“We need good ideas as well as an unleashing of people power.

“People who push back against the current form of neoliberal globalisation are sometimes painted as reactionary nationalists.

“The suggestion is that there can be only two sides: defenders of existing right-wing globalisation and xenophobic nationalists.

“But we have to reject this false binary depiction. I believe and assert that ‘Another Internationalism is Possible.’”