The Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers and central bank governors met Friday to kick off their two-day meeting to discuss ways to alleviate the impact of the current global financial crisis.
The meeting, hosted by Italy that holds the G8 presidency this year, will focus on measures to be adopted to overcome the crisis.
To this end, Italy has proposed shared ground rules and efforts to counter protectionist tendencies.
According to a working agenda, participants will discuss how to improve the transparency and proper functioning of the markets.
Italy will also call for the adoption of a legal standard -- a new set of rules for the international community governing the transparency and propriety of economic and financial activities.
The meeting will also call for cooperation among market oversight and regulatory authorities, and will urge reforms on international financial institutions. A special session will be devoted specially to the current food crisis to guarantee lasting food security via a long-term approach.
Participants also include heads of the European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Commission for Economic and Financial Affairs.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that the economic crisis is extremely dangerous and could turn into a humanitarian crisis.
"The financial crisis has become an economic one, (as) unemployment has gone up. Unless action is taken, it could turn into a humanitarian
crisis," Zoellick said in a press briefing before the meeting.
"This could create another 46 million poor throughout the world," he said, urging G7 nations to earmark more funds to fighting poverty.
Upon his arrival in Rome, British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said what is essential is that those actions should be "coordinated and synchronized."
"I believe that we must all reiterate our readiness to cooperate to re-establish credibility to the banking system and the ability of the system itself to guarantee credit now that the recession has gotten worse," Darling said.
"It is also my hope that the G7 and the G20 will recognize the need to revamp international institutions, those created in the post-war period," he said. "Over the past 60 years economies which were insignificant then have since become lead players."
"This is why China, India, Brazil and Russia should be invited to join the Financial Stability Forum," he added.
The G7 comprises the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.
The G8 was evolved from the G7 after the then Russian President Boris Yeltsin was invited to participate in the G7 summit in 1997, during which a communique was issued in the name of the eight for the first time.
The G20, founded on Sept. 25, 1999, in Washington, is an international forum for finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and the United States. It also includes the European Union and the Bretton Woods Institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
(Xinhua News Agency Feburary 14, 2009)