The readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible. Bahai writings

I have just returned from the EBBF’s excellent conference in the Netherlands, entitled `Window of Opportunity’. I was pleased to be elected the new Secretary General, with Mahmud Samandari the new chairman and George Starcher the treasurer. Daniel Truran was appointed Director General. The Governing Board issued an important statement to coincide with the meeting of the G20 in Pittsburgh. Here it is (and here we are writing it – Arthur Dahl, me, Mahmud Samandari):

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On the Occasion of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh
An Ethical Perspective on the Economic Recovery

A Statement Issued by EBBF (The European Baha’i Business Forum)

Nijmegen, The Netherlands

28 September 2009

EBBF (www.ebbf.org) the European Baha’i Business Forum, an international NGO representing businesspeople across 70 countries and dedicated to inspiring responsible business practices has issued an ethical perspective on the economic recovery:

The unprecedented crisis that shook the world a year ago was a clarion call to review the values and the structures on which the world system and its economy are based. Twelve months later have we made a significant progress towards

• adopting measures to reduce extremes of wealth and poverty?

• closing the gap between the least developed countries and the advanced economies before it becomes an abyss?

• assuring that the poorest of the world be the main beneficiaries of the recovery measures that have cost taxpayers the world over more than US$ 10 trillion?

• tackling the climate issue in a way that a large majority of humankind does not continue to pay the consequences of the consumption excesses of a few?

• using position and office, be it public service, corporate management or NGO leadership, to render service to humanity rather than for personal benefit and enrichment?

If we have not at least set in motion the processes that will lead us in a different direction, no measure of recovery in the stock market or in consumption will save us from an even more devastating crisis in the future, a crisis that would affect us more seriously considering the resources already used to face the last one. Just because the fever is down, we do not stop treating the underlying illness.

The present system, including the measures that have been taken during the previous months, is based on past experience. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, we can be certain that using old remedies will certainly lead to another – graver – crisis.

There is still a window of opportunity to act – and much more needs to be done.

World leaders, whether political, corporate or of civil society, must have the courage to undertake deep-seated and far-reaching changes. Legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole. Humanity should not be made to suffer for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine. The economy has globalized but we are still bound by 19th-century mental constructs of nationalism and sovereignty.

A favourable sign in this context has been the process of widening the circle of leaders of government debating an expanding agenda of economic and related issues at their periodic summits. We humbly invite them to consider that their national interests would be best served if they took the interest of the whole planet into consideration. They must be bold and reach a consensus on measures that would improve the world economic system and then invite all the other nations to participate.

`All need to give up their narrow self interest when the future of humanity is at stake. If no one moves there can be no change or progress. We call upon the leaders to exercise the vision, courage and trust that are required to respond to the expectations of the world’s people who are looking for a new, just and prosperous world,’ said the EBBF Governing Board.

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8 Responses to “On the Occasion of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh – Statement of EBBF”

  1. James Holmlundon 29 Sep 2009 at 10:29

    Infinite thanks, Wendi, for immediately sharing this all-important statement through your blog. Oh, that those concerned could seriously reflect upon and sincerely seek answers to those vital questions. EBBF has asked of the world’s leaders the right questions, a rare occurrence in today’s world.

  2. Barneyon 29 Sep 2009 at 20:00

    Congratulations on your election as Secretary General of EBBF!

    And thank you for sharing the excellent statement on the occasion of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh by the EBBF Board.

  3. Thelmaon 29 Sep 2009 at 20:40

    Yes, Congratulations indeed on your election as Secretary General of EBBF! It is always said that if you want something important done, you should ask a busy person! It’ll make you busier (is this possible?!) but I have no doubt they’ve elected the best person for the task.

  4. Megha Shyamon 29 Sep 2009 at 23:50

    Congratulations on your election as Secretary-General for EBBF. I look forward to a far reaching insights to be developed from the forum.

  5. Gordon Kerron 30 Sep 2009 at 05:12

    Congratulations on your appointment Wendi and thanks for the timely statement. I agree that whereas nationalism and sovereignty are key questions to be addressed there are perhaps others. I believe the false gods of financialism and materialsm generate another important ethical question – does the economic system serve the people or do people serve the economy?

    Hope I can make it to one of your conferences soon. You are doing important work.

    Kind regards

    Gordon

  6. LizKauaion 30 Sep 2009 at 08:03

    Bravo!
    How clear is this call and how it is reverberating everywhere! The Rotary District 5000 Conference in Honolulu was filled with empathy for the plight of humanity and specifically moved to support efforts aimed at the education of girls and women as a way out of poverty.

    Aloha!

  7. Don Brownon 01 Oct 2009 at 07:20

    Theoretical Pomp!
    Great Questions? Unique contribution? The same questions have been asked repeatedly and are being asked by many other leading organizations throughout the world – all tiny voices fighting windmills while ignoring the enormity of the challenges that face our world. A few general questions reaching nowhere near the key powerbokers, touching at best the intellectual and material without engaging the spirit are woefully inadequate, even if they are true and express the essential need to set the common good above private interest.
    It is amazingly naive to think that any possible change will come from posing such questions to leaders whose entire system of governamce and political support is totally dependent upon an “intellectually and morally bankrupt system” (Century of Light).
    The system is in desparate need of complete replacement, in every respect, even in the use of language – perhaps “Baha’i Business” is an oxymoron. There are alternatives taking shape being led by others outside the Baha’i community. It is time to stop propping up or trying to change the old world order and start building the New World Order – the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed!

  8. Wendi Momenon 01 Oct 2009 at 09:07

    Well, possibly so, but the item was picked up by over 11,000 news agencies worldwide, which is a pretty good reach. Have a look at the EBBF website and come to a couple of events before you dismiss us out of hand. We have to live in the world as we find it and do two things at once – work to change the hearts and minds of people and their institutions, and build new ones. As an organisation of both Baha’is and others, we are proud to be part of the network of Baha’i-inspired organisations that seek to apply Baha’i principles to the present world condition – what Shoghi Effendi called correlation.

    The Baha’i World Centre offers statements such as this – think of the Peace Statement of 1985, the Prosperity of Humankind in 1995 and many such statements by the Baha’i International Community. We are not, of course, in that league, but have been asked to reach out in this way. And of course, all of us are assisting in the building of the new civilization – which must be done with the same people who currently inhabit the planet.

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