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The Global Finance Initiative

We are in the midst of a financial crisis of unprecedented proportions. In early 2008, well before the magnitude was popularly suspected, the Global Finance Initiative (GFI) began as an inquiry into the governance and organization of the global financial "system" – rules and structures for banking, insurance, equity investment, public and private. 

Although stability is clearly the major current concern, there are also significant concerns about the economic, social and environmental impacts of finance.  Indeed, increasingly there are suggestions that stability cannot be realized with more categorically considering these broader impacts. 

These issues are debated intensely by media, traditional organizations such as the Bank for International Settlements, and new initiatives crossing traditional business-government-civil society divides.  However, there is no formal, participatory and multi-stakeholder public space that connects these types of forums to develop a global action strategy.  Activity is segmented between opaque processes of global financial policy-makers and institutions, academics working on theoretical models, people working at a more technical level to shift specific parts of the finance industry, and the broader public.  GFI is a first-stage action-learning project exploring the value and possibility of creating a broader formal public process to vastly enhance the global financial system’s capacity to produce a stable and sustainable future. 

The GFI is a project of Global Action Network Net (GAN-Net) and iScale, supported with funding from the Ford Foundation. 

GFI - Short description 08-12-19.doc
GFI-Interim Rpt 1 May-11-2008.pdf
GFI Interim Rpt 2 Sept-18-2008-.pdf

GFI Final Report and Call for World Commission on Global Finance - March 26, 2009
The GFI Final Report analyzing the global public policy finance system was issued March 26, 2009 along with a  call for a multi-year  World Commission on Global Finance  to realize the scale of transformation that they system requires.  The Commission structure and process should respond to four debilitating problems with the current approach. The process must be:

1.      Foundational: Change must be driven by addressing profound questions about the purpose of the financial system and the principles that direct its actions.

2.      Comprehensive: Change must encompass the connections between accounting systems, currencies, regulatory systems, economic structures and all parts of the financial system.

3.      Inclusive: In addition to the traditional insiders, bring in other groups including responsible investors, multi-stakeholder groups working on finance issues, asset owners, labor, NGOs and critical academics. And make participation truly global. 

4.      Systemic: True systemic risk is not only financial. The change must connect financial stability to the real economy, social equity, and environmental sustainability. This reflects “triple-bottom-line” logic: paper economies support bubbles and do not generate real wealth; increased income differentials lead to social violence and destruction of assets and wealth-generation; continual erosion of natural capital will lead to economic collapse.

The report includes action steps to realize the formation of such a Commission.

Harvard January 2009 Meeting
This was the second meeting of Phase I.  For more click here.

A World Commission on Global Finance?
Many new initiatives on global finance and related topics are bubbling up from diverse stakeholder groups, but they are not being connected...how can they be connected for the duration, with the resources and legitimacy necessary to realize the scale of change warranted?  London meeting participants agreed that something large and audacious is required. To spur thinking, the idea of a World Commission on Global Finance was raised.   The concept draws from the World Commission on Dams – a two-year initiative owned by leading stakeholders from civil society, business, and government that addressed controversial issues associated with large dams. That Commission led a sophisticated process that included case studies, review of thematic issues, and regional consultations. (Although the process was well-regarded, the WCD is criticized for its short-term life and lack of implementation support.)


While meeting participants agreed there is a need to “think big,” caution was expressed about becoming too traditional or “governmental.” As well, people pointed out the need to engage internationally recognized leaders from the stakeholder groups – particularly the finance community, asset owners and policy makers – for such an approach to succeed.  For more on the concept, see:  World Commission on Financial Globalization.doc

The Network Analysis
One type of analysis is uses a methodology called "issue crawler".  For an overview click here
A second type of analysis uses a methodology called "value network analysis".  For an overview click here. 

Stewardship Team

The current Stewardship Team consists of (others will be added):
  1. Leonardo Burlamaqui (Ford Foundation) 
  2. Jennifer Morgan (WWF-UK leading a finance initiative; BankTrack);
  3. Raj Thamotheram(AXA Investment Managers; Network for Sustainable Financial Markets; former senior adviser, Universities Superannuation Scheme);
  4. Geoffrey Underhill (University of Amsterdam, Editor of International Financial Governance Under Stress);
  5. Marc Uzan (Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee)
Note: Organisations are listed for identification purposes only

GFI Stewardship First Call

Project Team

  • Steve Waddell:  Project Co-Steward
  • Sanjeev Khagram:  Project Co-Steward
  • Verna Allee:  Sr. Network Analyst
  • Jem Bendell:  Sr. Associate
  • Catrina Lucero:  Researcher
  • Randy Kemp:  Researcher   
Harvard Business School Meeting Jan. 23-24, 2009
GFI Boston Logistics+.pdf
HBS Meeting and Agenda 09-01-15.doc

London Meeting August 18-19, 2008

The first meeting of people in the GFI domain took place in London, August 18-19. 
Meeting Logistics
Draft Agenda
Participant List
London School of Economics Map
Participant Bios
Rough Meeting Notes
GFI Interim Rpt 2 Sept-18-2008-.pdf
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Steve Waddell,
Mar 26, 2009, 5:46 AM
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Steve Waddell,
Mar 26, 2009, 11:17 AM
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GFI-InterimRpt1May-11-2008.pdf
(235k)
Steve Waddell,
Sep 23, 2008, 1:36 PM
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Steve Waddell,
Jan 14, 2009, 8:09 AM
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Catrina Lucero,
Sep 30, 2008, 9:44 AM
Ċ
Steve Waddell,
Jan 14, 2009, 8:03 AM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Mar 26, 2009, 5:37 AM
Ċ
Steve Waddell,
Mar 26, 2009, 11:17 AM
ċ
GFIInterimRpt2Sept-18-2008-.pdf
(136k)
Steve Waddell,
Sep 23, 2008, 1:42 PM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Jan 14, 2009, 8:06 AM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Oct 16, 2008, 1:20 PM
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Steve Waddell,
Oct 16, 2008, 1:21 PM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Oct 16, 2008, 1:20 PM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Oct 16, 2008, 1:37 PM
ĉ
Steve Waddell,
Oct 16, 2008, 1:18 PM
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