Since the end of 2008, the world has been experiencing a financial crisis with far-reaching economic consequences. Governments have invested hundreds of billions of euros of tax payer's money to keep the banking sector afloat and to keep money transfers going. Even the automotive industry has received money to survive. While the crisis absolutely started in industrial countries its effects are most keenly felt in developing nations. In line with its work in the area of money transfers, Both ENDS will attempt to outline the implications of the financial crisis.
The current financial crisis began in 2007 with the realisation in the US that way too many mortgages had been issued to clients who couldn't afford to pay them off, especially not when the properties that stood collateral for these mortgages devalued. In recent years, banks have consciously been trying to spread the risk by repackaging these mortgages as new financial products (derivatives) and selling these on the international money market. For a time, a lot of money was made with this trade: in June 2008, the total value of this market was valued at US$ 683.000 billion.
With the bankruptcy of the American investment bank Lehmann Brothers in September 2008 this lucrative trade came to an abrupt end. Financial institutions had to write off enormous bundles of irrecoverable debt, creating mutual distrust in the banking world. Thanks to massive governmental support it was possible to keep money transfers going. Many banks were nationalised to save them from failure. Both ENDS will be outlining the implications of this and will formulate recommendations to prevent history from repeating itself and to create more transparency, a regulatory process and strengthen the democratic control of international money streams.
ROLE OF BOTH ENDS
Through partnerships and lobbying we are placing the local situation in developing countries in the spotlight. We promote a sustainable economy in both the Netherlands and within the EU, i.e an economy that focuses on both man and the environment. So, for example, Both ENDS - in collaboration with BankTrack, OxfamNovib, Tax Justice Netherlands; Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) and the Vereniging van Beleggers voor Duurzame-Ontwikkeling (Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development) - wrote an open letter to Minister Bos, with the request to make the nationalised ABN-AMRO-Fortis combination a sustainable bank. Both ENDS also organised an expert meeting and a Political Café in The Hague about the crisis, and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Balkenende just prior to the G20 top in London.
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Development Cooperation)
CS Mott Foundation
BOTH ENDS CONTACTPERSONS
Both ENDS organised an Expert Meeting and a Political Cafe about the financial crisis and a Green New Deal on 25 March 2009:
We also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Balkenende prior to his participation at the G20 top in London: