Summit of Government Leaders: For an Emergency Relief Programme

The Brandt Commission's proposals fall into two broad areas – an Emergency Programme for the world's poorest nations, and a plan for restructuring the international economy (Popular Referendum of the UN General Assembly). This section explains the rationale and delineates the measures involved in the Emergency Programme.



"We emphasize that human needs can only be met by the productive efforts of the society which strives to meet those needs" (N-S, 16). Poor nations must be responsible for their own development: to set their own goals, mobilize their domestic resources, strengthen their policies and institutions, root out corruption, ensure good governance, and identify the resources needed to reach their development goals. Clearly, "the prime objective of development is to lead to self-fulfillment and active partnership in the use of a nation's productive forces and its full human potential" (N-S, 23).

But even after they organize for development, there may still be a gap between what developing nations can do for themselves and what is truly needed. "The only way to make this possible for developing countries, particularly the poorest ones, is to enable them to build up and develop their own productive capacity" (N-S, 16). The international community recognizes, therefore, that many developing nations require external resources to optimize the conditions for their development.


  "If the poor are to gain directly from growth and participate fully in the development process, new institutions and policies are needed to achieve redistribution of productive resources to the poor, generate rapid expansion in jobs and income-earning opportunities and provide social and economic services on a mass basis. A shift of development strategy to achieve these ends will depend on political will, efficient economic management and effective mobilization of resources" (N-S, 128).

To provide such assistance, heads of state from developed and developing nations should organize "an international meeting at the highest level, perhaps to be followed by others, to discuss North-South emergency matters and, if possible, to reach agreements, as concrete as possible, on how to turn certain mutual interests into creative partnerships, immediately and for the longer term" (N-S, 26). This group of world leaders should reflect diverse regional representation, stay in close contact with the United Nations, and, as far as possible, work with development goals set by the member nations of the United Nations.

The aim of this global summit is to plan and catalyze a major international relief programme, as a supplement to regular multilateral assistance. This conference "should be limited to some twenty-five world leaders who could ensure fair representation of major world groupings, to enable initiatives and concessions to be thrashed out with candor and boldness" (N-S, 281). Given popular and institutional support, this panel of high international stature would have the political sway to accomplish these measures multilaterally through the world's specialized organizations and agencies.

The meeting would not commit nations to comprehensive structural economic reform, since a summit of this sort would neither be universally representative nor an appropriate forum to discuss technical details. It could, however, do much to prepare the international climate and lay the basis for binding decisions on international monetary, financial, and trade policy in other fora.

[The 1947 Paris Economic Conference, the 1975-77 Conference on International Economic Cooperation in Paris, and the 1981 International Meeting on Cooperation and Development in Cancún were earlier examples of this type of meeting for international relief. The Paris Economic Conference led to the hugely successful European Recovery Programme of 1948-51 – the Marshall Plan – a milestone for the kind of emergency initiative that the Brandt Commission proposed. Another meeting of this type was the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration, a genuine consensus among heads of state from rich and poor nations, which promised to meet concrete targets for development and the reduction of global poverty by 2015.]  

The primary task of the summit of global leaders is to discuss, plan, and launch a programme for international relief in developing nations – a global effort to eradicate poverty in the poorest nations.

"Such an emergency programme is not a substitute for or in any way inconsistent with the longer-term programme of priority reforms that we recommend; but it is essential to undertake it if the world economy is to survive the threatening crisis of the years immediately ahead" (N-S, 277).

The Brandt Commission proposed that:

"an action programme must be launched comprising emergency and longer-term measures to assist the poverty belts of Africa and Asia, particularly the least developed countries" (N-S, 89). "Immediate aid must be accompanied by long-term plans to set these regions on the path to lasting growth which can eventually be self-sustaining" (N-S, 278). "These measures…are long-term; they need guaranteed resources over a long period before they can be undertaken; and they would only give a direct return on their investment after a relatively long gestation period. They need a time-frame of 15-20 years, and their planning should begin now" (N-S, 80).

The Brandt Commission's Emergency Programme includes measures to end hunger, eliminate poverty, increase global aid, and provide a global energy strategy:

I. End Hunger

1. International understanding that ending hunger is the world's top priority
2. Measures to build the capacity of food-importing developing countries to achieve food self-sufficiency
3. Adequate food and clean water
4. Improved fishing methods and stabilization of fish stocks
5. Agricultural and rural development programmes to increase domestic food production:
  a) Credit
  b) Storage
  c) Marketing
  d) Extension services
  e) Research
  f) Efficient methods of agricultural production
  g) Agricultural implements
  h) Fertilizers,pesticides, and seeds
  i) Appropriate farming methods
6. Better food distribution through improved:
  a) Transportation
  b) Refridgeration capacity
  c) Communications
  d) Regional needs assessment
7. Agrarian reform to provide the rural poor with land security
8. Linkages of food issues directly with other policy issues:
  a) Employment
  b) Income
  c) Production
  d) Consumer goods
  e) Industry
  f) Trade
  g) Finance
  h) Patents
  i) Sanitation
9. Financial assistance to increase agricultural development and domestic food production:
    a) An international food assistance programme
    b) An international food financing facility
    c) Financial measures for stabilizing food prices and supplies
    d) Global clearinghouse for food aid, including storage of:


•  Regular reserves


•  Emergency reserves
    e) Research and development on new plant varieties
10. Reduction of agricultural subsidies and tariffs
11. Local and regional development representatives, in association with the Food and Agricultural Organization, various UN agencies, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development would co-ordinate these programmes, with assistance from the private sector, governments, international relief agencies, and international financial institutions

II. Eliminate Poverty

1. International understanding that an immediate international aid programme is needed in poor regions of the world, including large-scale reallocation of resources:
    a) Food
    b) Water
    c) Energy
    d) Technology
    e) Medicine
2. Healthcare
3. Basic housing
4. Education
5. Preventable diseases
6. Basic sanitation facilities
7. Affordable and effective family planning services
8. Equal access by women to:
    a) Food
    b) Healthcare
    c) Nutrition
    d) Education
    e) Training
    f) Jobs
    g) Land ownership
    h) Credit
9. Better civil administration
    a) Effective training in:
        •  Planning
        •  Management
        •  Engineering
    b) Social services
    c) Extension services
    d) Credit sources
    e) Taxes
    f) Trade unions
    g) Cooperatives
    h) Improved access to markets
    i) New business opportunities
10. Programmes are needed to build infrastructure
    a) Industrialization
    b) Ports
    c) Roads
    d) Transportation
    e) Communication
    f) Rural electrification
    g) Renewable energy
    h) Secure energy supplies
    i) Reforestation
    j) Land and mineral development
    k) Energy development
    l) Irrigation and water management
    m) Soil management
    n) Prevent destruction of local environment for fuel
    o) Prevent diversion of manure from fertilizer to fuel
11. Public works employment programmes
    a) Soil conservation
    b) Reforestation
    c) Small irrigation dams, canals, and channels
    d) Land reclamation
    e) Drainage and flood control
    f) Roads
12. Support for low-wage labourers
    a) Easier access to credit
    b) Training
    c) Technical advice on product improvement
    d) Better tools
    e) Better facilities
    f) Sub-contracting opportunities
    g) Joint purchasing arrangements
    e) Assistance with marketing
13. Employment for the landless
14. Regulation of international immigration
15. Protection of rights of migrant workers
16. Provision of asylum and legal protection for refugees
17. Local and regional representatives in association with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other UN agencies would co-ordinate these programmes, with the assistance of international financial institutions, regional governments, international relief agencies, and regional development Banks and Funds

III. Increase Global Aid

1. International understanding that developed nations will give more assistance, without political and commercial entailments, if developing nations eliminate corruption, restructure their legal and financial institutions, and strengthen their democratic institutions
2. Foster public awareness that large-scale transfers of resources to developing countries will contribute to the expansion of global trade and employment in developed nations
3. Adopt a timetable for aid contributions from developed nations to meet the international standard of 0.7% GDP, eventually increasing to 1% GDP
4. New partnership between borrowing countries and lenders of international financial institutions, allowing borrowing countries a greater role in decision-making and management
    a) Improve the absorptive capacity of poor nations to organize and utilize larger volumes of investment
    b) Create a consortium or task force led by major financial institutions and aid-giving organizations, in affiliation with the World Bank and IDA, and with input and assistance from the United Nations Development Programme, through which donors, recipients, and regional commissions
        •  Harmonize their efforts
        •  Coordinate multilateral financial contributions and terms
  of conditionality
        •  Dispense aid on an equitable basis
        •  Make flows of aid continuous and predictable
        •  Demonstrate accountability in targeting aid
    c) Help developing countries obtain long-term capital through:
        •  Easier access to capital markets
        •  Increased lending of commercial banks, non-bank
institutions, and other private financial agencies to
developing nations
        •  Independent assessment of sovereign risk for investors
  and lenders
        •  Encouragement of portfolio capital investments in
  developing nations
        •  Increased direct foreign investment
        •  Removal of restrictions, and provision of guarantees for
  risks assessment, in the placing of bonds on international
  markets by developing nations
5. Creation of a World Development Fund to complement existing aid structures and institutions
    a) Expand programme loans
    b) Support trade between middle-level and less-developed developing nations
    c) Finance mineral exploration and energy exploration in developing nations
    d) Serve as a channel for aid revenues raised on a universal and automatic basis (Popular Referendum of the UN General Assembly, IV.5.c)
6. World Bank and other financial institutions should improve lending terms and reduce interest rates for the poorest countries
7. Increased level of development finance through World Bank and other Regional Development Banks and Funds

IV. Global Energy Strategy

1. International understanding that energy security is a basic right, closely related to the right to food
2. Since rising energy prices lead to higher energy costs in agriculture and rising food prices, people in developing nations are forced to choose between using their land either to grow food that is uncompetitive on world markets, or to provide domestic fuel sources (e.g. tree-clearing for firewood or animal stocks for manure) which destroy the ecology
3. International agreement that energy is the shared responsibility of the entire world community
4. Global energy strategy to achieve a fair distribution of oil while ensuring the development of long-term alternatives of energy sources
    a) Orderly transition from a world economy and industry based on oil to one that is sustained through renewable sources of energy
    b) Assurance of stable oil supplies and energy supplies
    c) More predictable and gradual changes in oil prices
    d) Changes in attitudes and practices to reduce energy consumption in developed nations
    e) Targets for reduction of energy consumption without sacrificing economic growth
    f) Development of alternative and renewable energy sources
        •  Solar (including biomass, wind, and tides)
        •  Hydro-electric
        •  Geothermal
    g) New agreements between producers, consumers, and developing nations for an international framework on long-term exploration and development of energy resources
    h) New financing for energy development to ensure supplies in poorer developing nations
    i) A global energy research center under the United Nations
    j) Careful monitoring of the use of military force to secure oil supplies
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The Brandt Equation: 21st Century Blueprint for the New Global Economy
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About the Brandt Commission
Biography: Willy Brandt

Members of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues (ICIDI)
Willy Brandt (Chair)
Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad (Kuwait)
Rodrigo Botero Montoya (Columbia)
Antoine Kipsa Dakouré (Upper Volta)
Eduardo Frei Montalva (Chile)
Katherine Graham (USA)
Edward Heath (UK)
Amir H. Jamal (Tanzania)
Lakshmi Kant Jha (India)
Khatijah Ahmad (Malaysia)
Adam Malik (Indonesia)
Haruki Mori (Japan)
Joe Morris (Canada)
Olof Palme (Sweden)
Peter G. Peterson (USA)
Edgard Pisani (France)
Shridath Ramphal (Guyana)
Layachi Yaker (Algeria)

Ex officio Members
Jan Pronk
Goran Ohlin
Dragoslav Avramovic

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