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Closer work with UN on global financial reform seen by churches

A global Christian body representing 80 million Protestants is seeking to step up cooperation with the United Nations to develop a new international financial and economic order.

"The need for democratic, accountable and just global financial and economic structures and institutions remains pressing in the face of spiralling world poverty," said a report presented to the 18-28 June founding meeting of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In response, delegates called for the organizing of a "global ecumenical conference", in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and other international bodies, to draw up proposals for a new global financial and economic order.

They said that such an order should be based on principles of, "economic, social and climate justice", that serve the real economy, and deal with social and environmental risks.

The follow up to such a conference, delegates said, should include links to initiatives by other faith communities, and to a U.N commission of experts on reform of the international monetary and financial system, headed by Nobel economics prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

Grouping some 230 churches in 108 countries, the new Reformed body was formed as a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council.

Delegates in Grand Rapids referred to a statement called the "Accra Confession", adopted by WARC at its general council in Accra, Ghana in 2004. The statement calls on Christians worldwide to confess their complicity in the face of mounting social and environmental ills.

The document commits its signatories, "to seek a global covenant for justice in the economy and the earth in the household of God".

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