Britain's Brown wants UN, World Bank, IMF reform

Updated: 2008-01-21 10:15

NEW DELHI -- World bodies like the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund must reform to tackle new 21st century challenges, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was to say Monday.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R) and his wife Sarah pose for photograhs following their arrival at the Air Force station in New Delhi, on January 20 2008. [Agencies]

In a speech to business leaders in New Delhi, where he is on a two-day visit, the prime minister was to say the institutions set up after World War II no longer reflect "the new world order" and "the new global society".

"The task ahead is to agree for our time the rules that can make globalisation a force for hope and progress for people," he was to say, according to excerpts released by his office in advance.

"I believe that only in this way can globalisation become what it should be: a force for justice on a global scale."

Brown's speech picks up on a theme he outlined in his major foreign policy speech last November, where he described his approach to global affairs as "hard-headed internationalism".

That concept has been interpreted to mean a pragmatic, realistic and multilateral approach -- and that Brown is ready to use military force where necessary.

Monday's speech, billed by his office as "significant," gave more detail about his policy proposals, which he said would help address the modern world's most pressing challenges: poverty, the environment and extremism.

The World Bank should become a "bank for the environment" with a greater focus on supporting environmental projects, particularly those aimed at tackling climate change, he was to say.

To that end, he was to propose the creation of a global climate change fund to finance low-carbon investment, sustainable forestry programmes, adaptation and development in the world's poorest nations.

The former finance minister will say the IMF should be central to an "early warning system", spotting potential turbulence in the global economy and acting with the independence of a central bank to prevent insecurity or collapse.

Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Premier Romano Prodi and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will discuss such a system when they meet in London on January 29.

He also will propose a rapid reconstruction force of civilians, to go into failed states at the earliest opportunity as part of UN Security Council resolutions that authorise peacekeeping missions.

Peacekeepers and the new force of standby teams of judges, police, trainers and other experts to work on the ground, would be run by one UN envoy, using funds from a new UN crisis prevention and recovery fund, he was to say.

Senior British government officials refused to give a timetable for the proposals to be implemented, but said UN reform is a live issue with a number of countries putting forward suggestions, including France and Norway.

Britain has in the past supported India's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, along with bids by Brazil, Germany and Japan, a spokesman said.

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