Reformprogram of the global alliance –

North-South Report

Willy Brandt’s efforts in behalf of global political cooperation, which he intensified after his resignation as Chancellor, meet with worldwide attention. In 1977 Robert McNamara, President of the World Bank, calls upon Willy Brandt to assume the chairmanship of the “Independent Commission for International Developmental Issues” (the “North-South Commission”). Brandt has many political obligations at this time. He is the Chairman of the SPD, President of the Socialist International, member of the Bundestag (Lower House of the German Parliament), and top candidate on the SPD list for the first direct election of the European Parliament. Nonetheless, Brandt accepts the additional assignment.

Willy Brandt is able to obtain the services of well-known statesmen and experts from various developing and industrial countries for the work of the North-South Commission. The consultations take over two years. On February 12, 1980 the Commission presents its “North-South Report” to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York. The full title reads: To Ensure Survival – Common Interests of the Industrial and Developing Countries. The study arouses worldwide attention and becomes known as the Brandt Report.

The Brand Report seeks a balance in developmental policies and demands that the countries of the South be integrated into the global economic system. The North-South Commission expects that this will bring about needed improvements in economic and social conditions in disadvantaged countries. At the same time, the rich industrial countries of the North are called upon to share their means and power with the countries of the South. The Report contains a number of proposals for the reform and transformation of the world economic system. It concludes that the introduction of such a new system would be an important contribution to the survival of humanity. The connection between armaments and poverty in the countries of the Third World is pointed out: worldwide disarmament could make available huge sums of money for the development of third world countries.

Willy Brandt writes in the Foreword of the comprehensive study: “This Report is based on the most simple of common interests – humanity wants to survive and, one can add, it has the moral duty to survive. This raises not only classical questions of war and peace, but also the questions how can one defeat hunger in the world, overcome mass misery, and meet the challenge of the inequality in living conditions between rich and poor. To express it in a few words: This report is about peace.”

Brandt Report

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Willy Brandt, the creator of the Brandt Report

The Brandt Report is the report written by the Independent Commission, first chaired by Willy Brandt (the former German Chancellor) in 1980, to review international development issues. The result of this report provided an understanding of drastic differences in the economic development for both the North and South hemispheres of the world.

A new century nears, and with it the prospects of a new civilization.Could we not begin to lay the basis for that new community with reasonable relations among all people and nations, and to build a world in which sharing, justice, freedom and peace might prevail? (Willy Brandt 1983)

The Brandt Report suggests primarily that a great chasm in standard of living exists along the North-South divide and there should therefore be a large transfer of resources from developed to developing countries. The countries North of the divide are extremely wealthy due to their successful trade inmanufactured goods, whereas the countries South of the divide suffer poverty due to their trade inintermediate goods, where the export incomes are low.

The Brandt Commission envisaged a new kind of global security. It built its arguments on a pluralist perspective that combines several social, economic and political perils together with classical military perils.

The Brandt Line[edit source | editbeta]

The Brandt Line is a visual depiction of the North-South divide between their economies, proposed by Willy Brandt in the 1970s. It encircles the world at a latitude of 30° N, passing between North and Central America, north of Africa and India, but lowered towards the south to include Australia and New Zealand above the line.

The Brandt Equation[edit source | editbeta]

Twenty years later, in 2001, the Brandt Report was updated by James Quilligan, who was Information Director for the Brandt Commission between 1980 and 1987. His updated report was called “The Brandt Equation”.

The Brandt Report
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The most comprehensive and broad based analysis of the various issues of international development to date was the report by the Independent Commission on International Development Issues, chaired by Willy Brandt (former Chancellor of West Germany) in 1980.

31st January 2006 – Published by Share The World’s Resources

The ‘Brandt Report’ received much publicity and wide ranging acceptance as the best way forward for governments globally to realistically reduce the growing economic disparity between the rich North and developing South. However the proposals put forward by its eminent and diverse range of members were never adopted by governments due to the Cold War and a resulting lack of political will to act on these issues.

The Brandt Report was updated in 2001 by James B. Quilligan, who was the director of Brandt Commission Research, a public information agency on the Independent Commission on International Development Issues between 1980 and 1987. His report, ‘The Brandt Equation – 21st Century Blueprint for the New Global Economy’ can be downloaded here as a PDF file.

The book, North-South: A Programme for Survival (1980) remains an extremely informative book written from a truly humanitarian perspective by a body of people with great expertise in this field. Here STWR present a summary of the Brandt Report.

A Summary of The Brandt Report – Contents


Chairman: Willy Brandt Former Chancellor of West Germany

Members: Abdlatif Y. Al-Hamad (Kuwait), Rodrigo Botero Montoya (Columbia), Antoine Kipsa Dakoure (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 (Netherlands), Goran Ohlin (Sweden), Dragoslav Avramovic (Yogoslavia).

An Overview

The best selling book to date on International Development issues, the Brandt Report is a broad based analysis of the state of the world, with a necessary emphasis on the failure of the world economic system to provide social and economic equality for humanity. It highlights the economic trends that need to be reversed, and solutions and strategies that need to be urgently implemented if the growing income disparity of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, financial and economic instability as well as the growing problem of poverty is ever to be tackled.

Comprised of a remarkable group of accomplished, international leaders and statesmen, the commission emphasise the mutual interest for developed and developing countries to deal with, once and for all, the burning issues of our time, in order for humanity to survive the “immense risks threatening mankind”.

Cooperation was the tool to create change and facilitate world wide growth and development, the main objective of development being “to lead to self-fulfilment and creative partnership in the use of a nation’s productive forces and its full human potential”. To enforce one nation’s model of development onto another was deemed unnecessary.

The commission wanted to make it quite clear that the world CANNOT carry on as if it is “Business as Usual”. Their aim was to “…organise as rapidly as possible…an international meeting at the highest level…to discuss North – South emergency matters and…to reach agreements as concrete as possible, on how to turn certain mutual interests into creative partnerships, immediately and for the longer term.”

Above all the report was an appeal to all world leaders and people from every strata of life to participate in the shaping of our common future.

North-South: The Setting

The commission broadly groups the developing countries as those that occupy the southern hemisphere and developed countries as those that occupy the northern hemisphere, whilst acknowledging exceptions to this and emphasising the common global economy that they all must exist within. The distinction is then drawn between the comparatively huge populations in the South and their relative poverty and health compared to the North. The underlying factor here being economic power, with the North’s domination of “the international economic system, its rules and regulations, and its international institutions of trade money and finance”

Analysing the mutual interplay of manufacturing, trading and other priorities between the North and South, the commission advocates a large scale transfer of resources to the South in order to revive a failing world economy. However, the view that the rich nations’ main role in the struggle to end poverty is to supply aid, is strongly rejected by the commission, in favour of a restructuring of the global economy to allow developing countries to participate realistically in their own growth.

An historical outline of the establishment of the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, their development since Bretton Woods and relationship to both the developing and industrialised countries helps to put into perspective the current trends and issues affecting global development. The commission charts the recognition in the fifties of the fact that developing countries’ trade with industrialised countries was on unequal terms and hindered their development, as well as the numerous attempts by large allied groups of developing countries to challenge this state of affairs and ask for a restructuring of the international financial system. What becomes clear is the futility of the South’s attempts to facilitate such change.

The 70’s saw high inflation, modest recession and the crumbling of the Bretton Woods system with the divorce of the dollar from the stability of gold. Since 1973, when the price of crude oil quadrupled, the overall growth of the world economy fell by around 50% for industrialised countries, and has never regained its buoyancy. By 1979 unemployment soared to over 18 million in OECD countries, exchange rates were erratic and protectionism was on the increase. Barriers and tariffs went up in the major markets and commodity prices and earnings were extremely unstable.

The world economy clearly needed reforming and the South needed to be able to trade on fairer terms with richer countries, as well as securing political and economic independence. In this unstable climate, the commission outlines how transnational corporations were able to survive at the expense of developing countries. Levels of aid to developing countries were low, and borrowing increased dramatically although the finance was not used where it was most needed for the developing countries to gain a degree of self sufficiency. There were many international conferences on structural reform, efforts to stabilise commodity prices and deal with debt problems, but progress was minimal.

DImensions of Development

The commission argues that although the nature of internal structural transformation will vary widely from country to country, development involves profound transformation of the entire international economic and social structure. They emphasise the often overlooked idea of greater human dignity, security, justice and equity as equally valid measures of development as economic betterment.

A number of issues fundamental to the discussion on development are highlighted:

The extent and far reaching consequences of poverty in poorer countries is highlighted, the World Bank estimate that 800 million people in the third world lived in absolute poverty at the time, some 40 % of the South’s population not being able to secure the most basic necessities of life.

A differentiation is made between poverty in the North, where the relatively high levels of wealth require better distribution, and the acute poverty of the South, where there are no resources in the first place to distribute, and very little opportunity to acquire them.

Striving economies of the poorer nations, reliant upon their agricultural exports, are faced with an unfavourable international environment and erratic markets, undermining their ability to promote structural transformation. The report also highlights newly industrialised countries, such as those in Latin America and South East Asia, which have been achieving good rates of growth but are still dependant on global economic management strategies.

Although life expectancy has increased in the third world, the report highlights issues of malnutrition, access to medical care, lack of safe water and sanitation all provide shocking statistics and are all ultimately linked to the world economy.

With a considerable movement of population away from the countryside and into cities, coupled with high birth rates, widespread unemployment and poverty, up to two-thirds of all families in certain third world cities could not afford even the cheapest new housing being built.

Although there had been consistent progress in numbers attending school in developing countries, the enrolment of girls was significantly low and levels of illiteracy in 34 countries were at only 80 %.

The commission considers all the above needs as indivisible and argues that the only way to ensure that they are addressed is by “helping the economies of these countries to grow and industrialise so that they will increasingly be in a position to help themselves”. The commission argue that this would only be possible with increased collaboration between North and South and changes in the international economic environment.

Acknowledging the massive inequality between sexes in the developing world, the commission argue that development depends upon women, and criticises many aspects of modernisation which only serve to reinforce men’s dominant role. This is especially the case in production oriented societies. An important objective of any developmental project should be to encourage the education and employment of women by freeing them of tasks such as fetching water and firewood from sources which are many miles away. Even the distribution of health care is biased against women, especially pregnant women, since these decisions are always in the hands of men. The commission argue that the role of women is fundamental to society and yet statistically their value is not taken into account.

Overall this chapter emphasises “the importance of connecting economic development with human values and cultures…”

Mutal Interests

The commission set out to prove that their principal of mutual interest can be materially served, although in order to achieve a true sharing of the world’s power and resources, the true motives must be “human solidarity and a commitment to international social justice”

In identifying these mutual interests, the report suggests that there is insufficient public knowledge of the facts. The media often reports on the threat that the South’s growing industries pose to the North’s markets, without mentioning the North’s markets in the South, and how trading with the South accounts for a large share of jobs in the North and keeps prices affordable for consumers.

The report underlines the political reasons for working against mutual interest. In order to redress the imbalance both sides cannot equally benefit, a fact which in some cases thwarts negotiations as does mutual suspicion between states when considering military cost and disarmament.

A convincing argument of how growth in the South has a directly positive global effect is put forward. A large scale transfer of funds from the North to the South would have an anti inflationary effect on the North, would help the world economy out of recession in the short term and contribute to greater growth in the long term. Overall this would significantly expand world trade and directly support growth in developing countries, thereby increasing growth and employment in the North, and stabilising financial markets.

The report highlights how protectionism in the North restricts the South’s access to markets. This then has an inflationary impact on the North as consumers pay more for their goods. The result is that the South does not have the funds to buy from the North, fuelling recession and unemployment in the North, since the industrialised nations are largely dependant upon selling to the markets in the South. North-South trade is a two way street.

Short term protectionist measures of the North need to be replaced with strategies for coping with the reality of international competition in order to ensure their own prosperity. Stabilisation of commodity prices, financial and monetary systems as well as issues relating to energy, environment and food are all cited as areas of common interest.

The commission propose the establishment of ‘A Society of Nations’ based on international justice and concern for less fortunate members of such a society, with the issue of world peace and disarmament high on the agenda.

Overall this chapter details the interconnected nature of the global economy and highlights the fact it is the self interest of the North which needs to be sacrificed in the short term if they are to ensure their own survival as well as that of those in the South. This need for change is presented as a moral imperative, which, if not observed will result in the reciprocal impoverishment of the world at large.

In Italics below are reprinted recommendations that the commission made in various chapters of the report 


An action programme must be launched comprising of emergency and longer-term measures, to assist the poverty belts of Africa and Asia and particularly the least developed countries. Measures would include large regional projects of water and soil management; the provision of health care and the eradication of such diseases as river-blindness, malaria, sleeping sickness and bilharzias; afforestation projects; solar energy development; mineral and petroleum exploration; and support for industrialization, transport and other infrastructural investment.

Such a programme would require additional assistance of at least $4 billion per year for the next two decades, at grant or special concessional terms, assured over long periods and available in flexibly usable forms. New machinery is required on a regional bias to coordinate funding and to prepare plans in cooperation with lending and borrowing countries. Greater technical assistance should be provided to assist such countries with the preparation of programmes and projects.


There must be an end to mass hunger and malnutrition. The capacity of food-importing developing countries, particularly low-income countries, to meet their food requirements should be expanded and their mounting food import bill reduced through their own efforts and through expanded financial flows for agricultural development. Special attention should be given to irrigation, agricultural research, storage and increased use of fertilizer and other inputs, and to fisheries development.

Agrarian reform is of great importance in many countries both to increase agricultural productivity and to put higher incomes into the hands of the poor.

International food security should be assured through the establishment of an International Grains Agreement, larger international emergency reserves, and the establishment of a food financing facility.

Food aid should be increased and linked to employment promotion and agricultural programmes and projects without weakening incentives to food production.

Liberalization of trade in food and other agricultural products within and between North and South would contribute to the stabilization of food supplies.

Support for international agricultural research institutions should be expanded with greater emphasis given to regional cooperation.

POPULATION: Growth Movement and the Environment

In view of the vicious cycle between poverty and high birth rates the rapid population growth in developing countries gives added urgency to the need to fight hunger, disease, malnutrition and illiteracy.

We also believe that development policies should include national population programmes aiming at a satisfactory balance between population and resources and making family planning freely available. International assistance and support of population programmes must be increased to meet the unmet needs for such aid.

The many migrant workers in the world should be assured fair treatment, and the interests of their home countries and the countries of immigration must be reconciled. Governments should seek bilateral and multilateral cooperation to harmonize their policies of emigration and immigration, to protect the rights of migrant workers to make remittances more stable and to mitigate the hardships of unanticipated return migration.

The rights of refugees to asylum and legal protection should be strengthened. We also believe that commitments to international cooperation in the resettlement of refugees in the future will be necessary to protect countries of first asylum from unfair burdens.

The strain on the global environment derives mainly from the growth of the industrial economies, but also from that of the world population. It threatens the survival and development opportunities of future generations. All nations have to cooperate more urgently in international management of the atmosphere and other global commons, and in the prevention of irreversible ecological damage.

Ocean resources outside the ‘exclusive economic zones’ of 200 miles should be developed under international rules in the balanced interests of the whole world community.


The public must be made more aware of the terrible danger to world stability caused by the arms race, of the burden it imposes on national economies, and of the resources it diverts from peaceful development.

The mutual distrust which stimulates the arms race between East and West calls for continuing the process of détente through agreements on confidence-building measures. All sides should be prepared for negotiations (including those on the regional level) to get the arms race under control at a time before new weapons systems have been established.

The world needs a more comprehensive understanding of security which would be less restricted to the purely military aspects.

Every effort must be made to secure international agreements preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

A globally respected peace keeping mechanism should be built up – strengthening the role of the United Nations. In securing the integrity of states such peace keeping machinery might free resources for development through a sharing of military expenditure, a reduction in areas of conflict and of the arms race which they imply.

Military expenditure and arms exports might be one element entering into a new principle for international taxation for development purposes. A tax on arms trade should be at a higher rate than that on other trade.

Increased efforts should be made to reach agreements on the disclosure of arms exports and exports of arms-producing facilities. The international community should become more seriously concerned about the consequences of arms transfers or of exports of arms producing facilities and reach agreement to restrain such deliveries to areas of conflict or tension.

More research is necessary on the means of converting arms production to civilian production which could make use of the highly skilled scientific and technical manpower currently employed in arms industries.


In any assault on international poverty, social and economic reforms within developing countries must compliment the critical role to be played by the international environment for development, which itself needs to be made more favourable.

In countries where essential reforms have not yet taken place, redistribution of productive resources and incomes is necessary. A broader package of policy improvements would include expansion of social services to the poor, agrarian reform, increased development expenditures in rural areas, stimulation of small scale enterprises, and better tax administration. Such measures are necessary for satisfying elementary needs and for increasing productivity, particularly in rural areas.

The strengthening of indigenous technological capacity often requires a more scientific basis in education, the encouragement of a domestic engineering industry, increased emphasis on intermediate technology and the sharing of experience.

Improved economic management and the increased mobilization of domestic resources are essential to the promotion of development. In many countries there is scope for improvements in such fields as taxation policies, public administration and the operation of the pricing system.

Wider participation in the development process should be encouraged; measures to achieve this could include decentralised governmental administrative systems and support for relevant voluntary organisations.

Regional and sub regional integration, or other forms of closer cooperation, still offer a viable strategy for accelerated economic development and structural transformation among developing countries, especially the smaller ones. It supports industrialization and trade expansion and provides opportunities for multi-country ventures.

Developing countries should take steps to expand preferential trade schemes between themselves. This could be encourages by such measures as the untying of aid.

Developing countries should give special attention to the establishment and extension of payments and credit arrangements among themselves to facilitate trade and to ease balance of payment problems.

The emergence of capital-surplus developing countries provides special scope for the establishment of projects on the basis of tripartite arrangements involving developing countries alone or in partnership with industrialized countries. Such arrangements should be supported by both developed and developing countries. Tripartite projects – including where appropriate, industrialized countries – should be encouraged by nations with complementary resources such as capital and technology.

Developing countries should consider what forms of mutual assistance organization might help them to participate more effectively in negotiations and in the work of international organizations and to promote economic cooperation among themselves.


The commodity sector of developing countries should contribute more to economic development through the greater participation of these countries in the processing, marketing and distribution of their commodities. Action for stabilization of commodity prices at remunerative levels should be undertaken as a matter of urgency

Measures to facilitate the participation of developing countries in processing and marketing should include the removal of tariff and other trade barriers against developing countries’ processed products, the establishment of fair and equitable international transport rates, the abolition of restrictive business practices, and improved financial agreements for facilitating processing and marketing.

Adequate resources should be provided to enable the Common Fund to encourage and finance effective International Commodity Agreements which would stabilize prices at remunerative levels; to finance national stocking outside ICAs; and to facilitate the carrying out of Second Window activities such as storage, processing, marketing, productivity improvement and diversification.

Compensatory financing facilities should be expanded and improved to provide more adequately for shortfalls in real commodity export earnings.

The mutual interests of producing and consuming countries in the development of mineral resources requires the creation of new financial agreements, leading to more equitable and stable mineral development agreements, greater assurance of world mineral supplies and increased developing-country participation in their resource development. A new financing facility, whose primary function will be to provide concessional finance for mineral exploration, should be established on the basis of a global responsibility for investment in mineral development.


An orderly transition is required from high dependence on increasingly scarce non-renewable energy sources.

Immediate steps towards an international strategy on energy should be taken as part of the Emergency Programme recommended in the final chapter of this report.

Prices which reflect the long term scarcities will play an important part in this transition; orderly and predictable price changes are important to facilitate a smooth development of the world economy.

Special arrangements including financial assistance should be made top ensure supplies to poorer developing countries.

International and regional financial agencies must increase substantially their financing of exploration and development of renewable energy resources.

A global energy research centre should be created under UN auspices to coordinate information and projections and to support research on new energy resources.


The industrialisation of developing countries, as a means of their overall development efforts, will provide increasing opportunities for world trade and need not conflict with the long term interests of developed countries. It should be facilitated as a matter of international policy.

Protectionism threatens the future of the world economy and is inimical to the long term interests of developing and developed countries alike. Protectionism by industrialized countries against the exports of developing countries should be rolled back; this should be facilitated by improved institutional machinery and new trading rules and principles.

Adjustments to new patterns of world industrial production should be accepted as a necessary and desirable process. Industrialised countries should vigorously pursue positive and time-bound adjustment programmes developed through international consultation and subject to international surveillance.

Safeguard measures must be internationally negotiated and should be taken only on the basis of established need. They should be non discriminatory, of limited duration and subject to international surveillance.

The Generalized System of Preferences should be eased in respect of its rules of origin, its expectations and its limits. It should be extended beyond its present expiration and not be liable to unilateral termination.

Financial support and technical assistance should be given to the poorer countries to facilitate their establishment of improved commercial infrastructure and their participation in international trade negotiations.

Fair labour standards should be internationally agreed in order to prevent unfair competition and to facilitate trade liberalization.

An international trade organization incorporating both GATT and UNCTAD is the objective towards which the international community should work. Meanwhile, there is a need for improvements in existing arrangements including wider development of trade cooperation in such matters as the establishment and administration of rules, principles and codes covering restrictive business practices and technology transfer.


Effective national laws and international codes of conduct are needed to govern the sharing of technology, to control restrictive business practices, and to provide a framework for the activities of transnational corporations. The investment regime we propose would include:

  1. Reciprocal obligations on the part of host and home countries covering foreign investment transfer of technology, and repatriation of profits, royalties and dividends.
  2. Legislation coordinated in home and host countries, to regulate transnational corporation activities in matters such as ethical behavior, disclosure of information, restrictive business practices and labor standards.
  3. Intergovernmental cooperation in regard to tax policies and the monitoring of transfer pricing.
  4. Harmonization of fiscal and other incentives among host developing countries.

In addition to improved access to international development finance, the bargaining capacity of developing countries, particularly the smallest and least developed countries, vis-à-vis the transnational corporations should be strengthened with the technical assistance now increasingly available from the UN and other agencies.

Permanent sovereignty over natural resources is the right of all countries. It is necessary, however, that nationalization be accompanied by appropriate and effective compensation, under internationally comparable principles which should be embodied in national laws. Increasing use should also be made of international mechanisms of settling disputes.

Greater international, regional and national efforts are needed to support the development of technology in developing countries and the transfer of appropriate technology to them at reasonable cost.

There should be increased efforts in both rich and poor countries to develop appropriate technology in the light of changing constraints regarding energy and ecology; the flow of information about such technology should be improved. The international aid agencies should change those of their practices which restrict the recipients’ freedom to choose technology, and should make more use of local capacities in preparing projects.


The reform of the international monetary system should be urgently undertaken by all interested parties building on the large measure of consensus which emerged in the Committee of Twenty, and taking account of current difficulties and dangers. Reform involves improvements in the exchange rate regime, the reserve system, the balance of payments adjustment process, and the overall management of the system which should permit the participation of the whole international community.

Mechanisms should be agreed for creating and distributing an international currency to be used for clearing and settling outstanding balances between central banks. Such a currency would replace the use of national currencies as international reserves. It could take the form of an improved Special Drawing Right, and could be facilitated by an appropriately designed ‘substitution account’.

New SDRs should be created by to the extent called for by the need for non-inflationary increases in world liquidity. The distribution of such unconditional liquidity should favor the developing countries who presently bear high adjustment burdens. Such a distribution – often referred to as an SDR link – would also assist the adjustment process of the international monetary system.

There should be agreement on an adjustment process which will not increase contractionist pressures in the world economy. The adjustment process of developing countries should be placed in the context of maintaining long-term economic and social development. The IMF should avoid inappropriate or excessive regulation of their economies, and should not impose highly deflationary measures as standard adjustment policy. It should also improve and greatly extend the scope of its compensatory financing facility, for example by relaxing quota limits, measuring shortfalls in real terms and making repayment terms more flexible. Surplus countries should accept greater responsibility for payments adjustments, and IMF measures to encourage this should be considered.

Increased stability of international exchange rates, particularly among key currencies, should be sought through domestic discipline and coordination of appropriate national policies.
The participation of developing countries in the staffing, management and decision-making of the IMF should be enlarged.

In furthering the demonetization of gold, the bulk of the IMF gold stock should, after the completion of the present sales arrangements, be used as collateral against which the IMF can borrow from the market for onward lending particularly to middle-income developing countries. Staggered sales should also be undertaken and accruing profits of such sales should also be used as interest subsidy on loans to low-income developing countries.


There must be a substantial increase in the transfer of resources to developing countries in order to finance:

  1. Projects and programmes to alleviate poverty and to expand food production, especially in the least developed countries.
  2. Exploration and development of energy and mineral resources.
  3. Stabilization of the prices and earnings of commodity exports and expand domestic processing of commodities.

The flow of official development finance should be enlarged by:

  1. An international system of universal revenue mobilization, based on a sliding scale related to national income, in which East European and developing countries – except the poorest countries- would participate.
  2. The adoption of timetables to increase Official Development Assistance from industrialized countries to 0.7 per cent of GNP by 1985, and to 1% before the end of the century.
  3. Introduction of automatic revenue reserves through international levies on some of the following: international trade, arms production or exports; international travel; the global commons, especially sea bed minerals.

Lending through international financing institutions should be improved through:

  1. Effective utilization of the increased borrowing capacity of the World Bank resulting from the recent decision to double its capacity to $80 billion.
  2. Doubling the borrowing-to-capital ratio of the World Bank from its present gearing of 1:1 to 2:1, and similar action by Regional Development Banks.
  3. Abstaining from the imposition of political conditions on the operations of multilateral financial institutions.
  4. Channeling an increased share of development finance through regional institutions.
  5. A substantial increase in programme lending.
  6. The use of IMF gold reserves either for further sales, whose profits would subsidize interest on development lending, or as collateral to borrow for on lending to developing countries.
  7. Giving borrowing countries a greater role in decision making and management.

Resource transfers should be made more predictable by long term commitments to provide ODA, increasing use of automatically mobilized revenues and the lengthening of the IDA replenishment period.

Consideration should be given to the creation of a new international financial institution – a World Development Fund – with universal membership, and in which decision making is more evenly shared between lenders and borrowers, to supplement existing institutions and diversify lending policies and practices. The World Development Fund would seek to satisfy the unmet needs in the financing structure, in particular that of programme lending. Ultimately it could serve as a channel for such resources as may be raised on a universal and automatic basis.

There is a need for major additional multilateral finance to support mineral and energy exploration and development in developing countries. Some of this would come from existing institutions, but we believe that there is a case for a new facility for this purpose.

The flow of lending from commercial banks and other private financial bodies to developing countries must be strengthened. Middle-income countries need special measures to lengthen the maturity of their debt structures and poorer developing countries should be enabled to borrow more easily in the market. The World Bank and other international financial institutions should assist this process by co-financing, by the provision of guarantees, and by using concessional funds to improve lending terms and reduce interest rates.

Measures should be adopted to facilitate the placing of bonds by developing countries in international markets. These should include the removal of restrictions and the provision of guarantees and adequate arrangements for the assessment of risks.


Policies, agreements and institutions in the field of international economic, financial and monetary cooperation should be guided by the principle of universality.

The UN system, which faces ever-expanding tasks, needs to be strengthened and made more efficient. This calls for more coordination of budgets, programmes and personal policies, to avoid duplication of tasks and wasteful overlapping.

The performance of the various multilateral organizations in the field of international development should be regularly monitored by a high-level advisory body.

There needs to be a review of the present system of negotiations to see whether more flexible, expeditious and result-orientated procedures can be introduced without detracting from cooperation within established groups.

Increased attention should be paid to educating public opinion and the younger generation about the importance of international cooperation.

The occasional use of limited summit meetings should be considered to advance the cause of consensus and change.

A Programme of Priorities

The report concludes that having examined the changes in the global economy and international relations over the past few decades, as well as ongoing changes, the international community have not adequately addressed the basic issues such as “security and peace, development goals, the monetary system, protection of the environment, energy, and the control of space and ocean resources”.

The commission argues that the world economy is functioning so poorly, that it is only serving to further damage all nations. Over the next 2 decades the combination of huge population growth with inflation, erratic exchange rates, protectionism and unemployment challenges the very survival of humanity.

“Only in a spirit of solidarity based on respect for the individual and the common good will it be possible to achieve the solutions that are needed.”

The report states that global cooperation is the only way to address these issues, with sacrifices and adjustments necessary for all nations, but especially those nations who currently have a greater share of resources. Given the great complexity of society, ideologically, religiously, politically etc., a new international order must not only adjust to these elements, but must continually readjust to their changing nature with forethought and negotiation.

The true impetus for this change can only come after the global public has been educated of the need to defend the essential human rights of all people and to demand justice freedom and peace. Only then will the necessary political decisions be made by governments. The commission urges for bold and urgent action in creating a new international order, before it is forced upon the international community through its current instability.

The report skillfully weaves together the diverse factors affecting the stability of the world (as mentioned in previous chapters), and paints a picture which the commission describes as “alarming”. The commission group together all issues affecting people- from mass poverty and unemployment to poor economic growth and unfair trade, as the direct result of current international political and economic policy geared to the self interests of individual nations.

Thus it places the responsibility with individual nations, North and South, East and West, who must now make long term goals in cooperation with the international community, to ensure their long term survival and justice for their people.

The commission end their report by reemphasizing the current world crisis, the necessity for all countries to participate in their development, and outlining a series of tasks that must be achieved over the next 2 decades (80’s and 90’s), for long term structural reform to adequately take place:

  1. The needs of the poorest countries must be given priority. Substantial resource transfers from industrialized countries and better economic management in developing countries are necessary in order to remove poverty.
  2. Absolute poverty, hunger and malnutrition must be abolished through greater agricultural development and food production. International food security measures, external assistance and revised priorities are essential for this to occur.
  3. Third world countries must be able to process their own raw materials locally and participate in their own international marketing and distribution. This would strengthen their earnings from their commodities. Commodity prices also need to be stabilized against market fluctuations.
  4. Protectionist policies against third world competition must be replaced by positive, anticipatory restructuring”. Adjustment policies should be independently monitored. Mutual cooperation and trade between developing countries must also be encouraged.
  5. International codes and national law must control the restrictive business practices of transnational corporations and ensure a broader sharing of technology. Developing nations would benefit and stable relationships between host countries governments and these corporations would be promoted.
  6. The international monetary system is the key problem of the world economy and must be reformed. Exchange rates must be stabilized, symmetry in the burden of adjustment to balance of payments deficits and surpluses need to be established, and an orderly expansion of international liquidity is needed. Special Drawing Rights must be the principal reserve asset if monetary stability is to be increased.

    Essentially the report proposes a large scale transfer of resources to the South, and defines a legitimate need for the North to facilitate this. The poorest countries are in desperate need of this, the lower incomes countries need concessional finance in order to develop and middle income countries need support with their borrowing and debt management. Current annual official development assistance needs to be more than doubled and substantial additional market lending needs to be made available.

    The resulting increase in world trade would benefit all nations, and the commission pleads with leaders of all countries to stop trying “put their own house in order whilst forgetting about the rest of the world”, as they are intimately dependant upon world markets. A new approach to development finance would incorporate the following:

    1. A universal tax paid by all countries except the poorest, calculated on a sliding scale dependant upon national income. The resulting development fund “must be recognized as a responsibility of the whole world community, and placed on a predictable and long term basis”. Rich countries must commit themselves to reaching the current 0.7% GNP target, and timetable advancing this to 1% GNP by 2000.
    2. To further establish the principle of ‘global responsibility’ and co-management’ of the world economy, automatic levies on military expenditures, arms exports, international trade and revenues from the ‘global commons’ must be in place and may contribute to aid targets.
    3. The World Bank and Regional Development Banks must increase their lending capacity and be strengthened, with a higher proportion of financing channeled through Regional Development Banks.
    4. Borrowing for on-lending to developing countries should take place against the retained portion of the IMF gold reserves, with any profits used to subsidize the cost of borrowing by developing countries.
    5. The creation of a World Development Fund, with universal membership, would enable broader sharing in decision making and increase financing through programme lending. This Fund would serve as a channel for such resources as may be acquired through a universal taxation system.
    6. Mineral and energy exploration and development in developing countries needs major additional multilateral finance from existing institutions as well as a newly developed facility.
    7. Commercial banking systems and private financial bodies should continue adequate lending to the developing world. More reasonable terms are necessary for poorer and middle income countries to ensure adequate debt management. The World Bank must play its part.
  8. To facilitate this major transfer of finance, there must be broader sharing of power and decision making within financial institutions in favor of the developing world. Member governments must be willing to revise voting structures and be more sensitive to third world problems. It is particularly important for the World Bank to increase Third World representation within management and to decentralize operations and staff.

Regional and sub-regional banks need to be better funded and managed, to increase their role in development finance. Better representation also applies to the IMF, who must also allow for a longer period of adjustment by borrowers. The present rigorous conditions on IMF loans can seriously affect a country’s ‘domestic, social and political objectives’.

“Proliferation, duplication and waste” must be eliminated in the UN and its agencies. New ways are needed for them to “monitor and evaluate the performance of world institutions”, so that they can be made more accountable to the people and governments.

An Emergency Programme

The commission postulated a 5 year emergency programme to take effect immediately to avert the most serious dangers and benefit all countries. Principal elements are:

A large scale transfer of resources to developing countries:

-To assistance to poorest countries most threatened by the current economic crisis.
-Provide for financing the deficits and debts of middle income countries.

An international energy strategy to ensure:

-Regular supplies of oil
-Rigorous conservation
-More predictable and gradual price increases in real terms
-Development of renewable/alternative energy sources

A global food programme to:
-Ensure international assistance to increase food production, especially in the Third World
-Increase emergency food aid and ensure regular supplies of food
-Implement a system to ensure long term international food security

A start on major reforms in the international economic system concentrating on:
-Implementing a broad based, participatory and effective international economic system
-Improving developing countries’ conditions of trade in commodities and manufactures

This programme is considered essential by the commission, and to be implemented alongside the existing longer term reforms outlined above. The report states:

“This emergency programme has been conceived as an integrated whole. Its implementation will do much to create confidence, stimulate trade and investment, and improve prospects for growth in the world economy. Conducted in partnership between North and South, it would amount to a major step towards a new international order, and the development of a true community.”

A Summit of World Leaders

The commission emphasizes the need for a summit of leaders, with industrialized and developing countries fairly represented, with a common conviction and mutual interest. This would allow initiatives and concessions to be debated and agreed upon.

Such a summit could shift the international climate towards focusing on finding solutions to current world problems and encourage future negotiation and cooperation on which more fundamental economic change could rest. The prime directive of the summit, however, would be the implementation of the Emergency Programme, and it would work in conjunction with other ongoing discussions. To conclude:

“Whatever their differences and however profound, there is a mutuality of interest between North and South. The fate of both is immediately connected. The search for solutions is not an act of benevolence but a condition of mutual survival”.

STWR would like to thank MIT Press for granting permission to reprint sections from the report.


The Brandt Equation
21st Century Blueprint for the New Global Economy
Brandt’s Challenge
Under the chairmanship of former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, the Independent Commission
on International Development Issues examined the problems facing the global economy in the early
1980s. Brandt’s panel of former world leaders and other prominent figures found that developing nations
were economically dependent on developed nations, which dominated the international rules and
institutions for trade, money, and finance. This economic division resulted in political instability, not just
in poor nations, but across the world.
Said Brandt, “At the beginning of a new decade, only twenty years short of the millennium, we must try
to lift ourselves above the day-to-day quarrels (or negotiations) to see the menacing long-term problems.
We see a world in which poverty and hunger still prevail in many huge regions; in which resources are
squandered without consideration of their renewal; in which more armaments are made and sold than ever
before; and where a destructive capacity has been accumulated to blow up our planet several times over”
(North-South, 13).
In North-South (1980) and Common Crisis (1983), the Brandt Commission made a set of bold
recommendations to change all that. In a sweeping series of measures addressed to the global public,
governments, and international agencies, the Brandt Reports called for a full-scale restructuring of
the global economy, along with a new approach to the problems of development, including an
emergency program to end poverty in developing nations.
Two decades later, the international community has not responded to these proposals in any meaningful
way. Although the Brandt Reports were widely read and discussed, developed nations have focused more
on their own interests. As documented by the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, and other agencies, the economic disparities outlined in the Brandt Reports
have widened significantly since 1980:
· Without new family planning programs to slow fertility and birth rates, world population has
expanded by 1.7 billion people, more than 90% of whom were born in poor nations
· Deprived of increases in global food supplies and local agricultural production to end starvation and
malnutrition, the number of people suffering from hunger in developing nations has risen from 500-
600 million to 1 billion people
· For want of a comprehensive program for sanitation, clean water, health care, housing, and education
in poor nations, the incidence of people living in poverty has multiplied from 800 million to 1.8
billion persons
· Lacking educational and employment opportunities for personal development, women in developing
nations have become increasingly destitute from gender discrimination and conditions of
· Regardless of the official international assistance standard of 0.7% GNP, aid to developing nations
has slumped from .35% to .21% of GNP
· Having no international agreement to reduce the difficult loan payments owed to developed nations,
the debt of developing countries has surged from $700 billion to nearly $3 trillion
· Devoid of a framework for the non-violent resolution of international disputes and the multilateral
reduction of weapons, allowing governments to use their resources for the peace and welfare of their
people, armaments expenditures around the world have accelerated from $450 billion to more than
$800 billion a year
· Minus global programs to stabilize energy prices and supplies for developing countries, slow the
depletion of renewable energy sources, and reverse climate change, environmental pollution and
global warming have broadened, including a 12% increase in carbon dioxide emissions
· Missing out on vast possibilities for international peace and development through sharing with poor
nations the benefits of the information revolution, 90% of technology ownership and use remains in
developed nations, creating a global ‘digital divide’
· In lieu of a responsible commitment to raise the income and quality of life of people in developing
nations, corporations invest and produce mainly where wages, taxes, trade and financial regulations,
and environmental safeguards are the lowest
· Instead of promoting accessible, balanced exports of goods and resources between rich and poor
nations to build cooperation and enlarge international markets, trade has been hampered by local
subsidies and protectionist barriers, driving down the export prices of developing nations
· Rather than making global economic rules and institutions equitable for every nation, restoring
confidence and trust throughout the world, money and finance remain unregulated at the global
level, resulting in currency instability, recession, and financial risk in developing nations
· Short of a consensus to link all of these issues and coordinate world economic development
objectives through effective high-level discussion, global negotiations among heads of state from
developed and developing nations have not occurred since 1981
Failure to address these needs is a lost opportunity for everyone in the world. Focused on
competition and the ‘bottom line’, we lose sight of the benefits of mutual advantage and
cooperation. As the Brandt Reports remind us, prosperity in the South can lead to prosperity in the
North; but economic trouble in the South can wreak havoc in the North as well.
The Danger
With the spectacular growth of production, world trade, foreign investment, and international capital
flows during the 1980s and 90s, the world’s productive and financial surplus expanded, but global
consumer demand leveled off, and poverty increased substantially in developing nations. Monetary,
financial, and trade deregulation, combined with fast-paced technology and unbridled capital mobility,
have also increased the volatility of exchange rates and interest rates, and reduced the capacity for debt
repayment in poor countries. Concentrated in international production, currencies, and investment, money
has been diverted away from domestic development, local investment, savings, social programs, labor,
and fair wages, exposing local markets and poor people to the intense ebbs and flows of speculative
capital. Economic turmoil in a single nation—precipitated by default, devaluation, recession, or 3
deflation—can spread rapidly to its neighbors. The world now faces the real possibility of financial
contagion, which can result in internal political instability, further eroding global investment in
developing nations.
Two major financial crises have already occurred: in Latin America (1981-86) and Southeast Asia (1997-
98). Neither International Monetary Fund bailouts nor guarantees from private investors are likely to stem
another major financial meltdown—due to massive increases in global debt and in speculative markets
such as derivatives—leaving banks, investment houses, and investors at risk, and further strangling the
foreign capital needed for development in poor nations. Multilateral cooperation for debt forgiveness,
major transfers of aid and technology, fair terms of trade, a stable world currency system, and new rules
for international finance are needed. These measures would generate an increase in the level of consumer
purchasing power so that the world’s people could buy the world’s excess of products and services—
before oversupply, unused capacity, and unemployment lead to prolonged global recession or worse.
The Brandt Equation: A New Round of Global Negotiations
World leaders can only make major democratic changes with the awareness and backing of the
international public. A global citizens’ movement, with a focus that goes beyond singular issues and
nationalistic viewpoints, is the necessary political counterweight to the corporate and financial policies of
globalization. The Brandt Commission proposed that, with broad and informed public support,
international representatives could begin two sets of negotiations to link together objectives for
meeting the world’s basic needs and reforming the international economy.
I. Summit of World Leaders — A representative group of heads of state from developed and
developing nations convenes a World Summit Meeting to plan and mobilize a major international relief
program, targeting:
Hunger– Mobilize immediate supplies of food and clean water for developing nations through the
creation of a global clearinghouse for food storage and distribution, a global food assistance program and
food financing agency, and local agricultural and rural development programs
Poverty – Provide basic necessities in poor regions of the world, including stable supplies of food, water,
and energy; health and medical care, including preventable disease control; basic housing and sanitation;
education; family planning services; micro-loans; and new agricultural, environmental, industrial, and
technological infrastructure
Aid – Expand financial assistance to poor nations by increasing contributions from developed nations to
0.7% GNP, and eventually to 1% GNP; ending political and commercial entailments on aid by developed
nations; and requiring developing nations to eliminate corruption, restructure their legal and financial
institutions, and strengthen their democratic institutions
Debt – Begin partial or unconditional debt forgiveness for developing nations, linking debt relief to
effective domestic policy reform
In addition to launching this international relief program, the conference of world leaders initiates
discussion on restructuring the global economy by setting the guidelines and format for such
negotiations, offering possible solutions, deciding on a timetable for results to be achieved, and
submitting these recommendations to the UN General Assembly.
II. Popular Referendum of the UN General Assembly — Based on the work of the summit of world
leaders, the UN General Assembly hosts a multilateral referendum to guide the restructuring of the 4
international economy. Representatives of governments, major corporations, private capital banks, central
banks, the World Bank, the IMF, the World Trade Organization, and other international institutions are
invited, along with members of non-governmental organizations and civic and regional groups from
around the world. Together, they negotiate an agenda for a new global economy, including major
initiatives for:
Environmental Protection– Make ecological sustainability a cornerstone of global economic policy
through financial incentives for encouraging environmental protection, cleaning up the environment,
expanding reforestation projects, reducing industrial emissions, slowing climate change, conserving
energy and resources, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and developing clean and renewable energy
Fair Trade – Expand world trade by redirecting its focus from international export markets to the
domestic markets of emerging economies; curbing protectionist trade restrictions; decreasing commodity
subsidies in developed nations; stabilizing international commodity prices; restructuring the World Trade
Organization to allow proportional representation and decision-making by developing nations;
establishing a new code of conduct for international corporations; developing a new framework for
foreign direct investment; and broadening trade agreements to improve working conditions as well as
environmental, wage, and labor standards
Regulation of the Global Economy – Reorganize the global monetary system by redirecting investment
from international capital markets into the domestic markets of emerging economies; encouraging stable
currencies; stimulating balanced economic growth; maintaining environmental sustainability;
restructuring the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to allow proportionate representation
and decision-making by developing nations; expanding and strengthening the United Nations and its
development agencies; creating a small oversight body to help coordinate international economic policies
and goals; and establishing new international programs for development finance, including a Global
Development Fund
Consensus for a New Global Economy
As the world’s issues are interrelated, so too should be the process of global decision-making. The Brandt
Reports were a comprehensive, forward-looking plan from a group which, in its own roundtable
discussions, exemplified the sort of representative negotiations and good faith needed at international
levels to gather consensus on economic issues from a diversity of world opinion.
The Brandt Commission offered the international community a vision for balancing the creation of wealth
with the provision of public services, anticipating new foundations for the future of civilization. In a
world where economic growth has become the means to human and social development, the Brandt
Reports declared that local development must be the means to growth—“that the focus has to be not on
machines or institutions but on people,” and the creation of an environment in which they can lead
long, healthy, and productive lives (N-S, 23).
North-South and Common Crisis had a profound initial impact on the public, governments, and
international agencies across the world, but went unheeded by developed nations during the prosperous
1980s and 90s. The disparities about which the Brandt Commission cautioned are reaching the breaking
point, yet there is no collective effort to resolve them. What divides us now is not a shortage of
resources or plans. The only scarcity is the courage to act.

A Brandt New World?
In 1977, Willy Brandt assembled a group of international statesmen and leaders to take a close look at the
failure of the global economy and the problems plaguing developing nations. Brandt, the former West
German Chancellor, was recipient of the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize for the Ostpolitik policies that achieved
détente between the Soviet Union and the nations of the NATO alliance. With his new commission, a
blue-ribbon panel of former heads of state and other prominent world figures, Brandt hoped to produce in
North-South economic relations the kind of breakthroughs he’d had in the East-West political arena. The
Independent Commission on International Development Issues was to produce a blueprint for the global
economy of the twenty-first century.
2000 marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Brandt Commission’s report, NorthSouth: A Program for Survival. A sequel, Common Crisis: North-South Cooperation for World Recovery,
was published in 1983. The Brandt Reports were the subject of major international publicity and
discussion. They were widely hailed as the world’s first internationally representative proposals on global
development and economic interdependence. With sales of nearly one million copies in two-dozen
languages, the Brandt Reports remain the best-selling books on international development in history.
“It discusses,” writes Brandt in the introduction, “North-South relations as the great social challenge of
our time. We want to emphasize our belief that the two decades ahead of us may be fateful for mankind.
We want responsible world citizens everywhere to realize that many global issues will come to a head
during this period. But we also raise problems to be dealt with at once, long before we have come to the
end of the century” (N-S, 7).
The fundamental concern, said the commission, is that the developed nations dominate the international
economic system—its rules and regulations, as well as their institutions and policies for trade, money, and
finance. At the same time, developing nations are economically dependent on the developed nations, and
most are deeply impoverished and in debt. To break this stalemate, the Brandt Commission made a set of
bold recommendations to governments, international agencies, and the global public. It proposed a
restructuring of the global economy, along with a comprehensive new approach to the problems of
development, including an emergency program to eliminate poverty in developing nations.
“Each of us on the Commission, coming from countries in five continents with very different political
systems and principles, has our own perspective and historical experience. But all of us have become
convinced that the world community will have to work out dynamic new approaches, both immediately
and for the longer run. The debate between North and South has been continuing for some years; it is
urgent that both sides should now work together in a program based on action for a rational and equitable
international economic order. The journey will be long and difficult, but it must begin now if it is to meet
the challenge of the next century” (N-S, 270).
Okay, the clock’s been ticking on Brandt’s twenty-year plan—now time is up! So it’s fair to ask, how did
we do? Does the prosperous world of the twenty-first century still have use for the Brandt Reports? Could
they be relevant today?
The Brandt Proposals: A Report Card
The Brandt Commission put numerous issues on the global agenda, demonstrating their interrelation, and
urging the world to link them in all future discussion and planning. The international community has had……………………………

The Brandt Equation
21st Century Blueprint for the New Global Economy
© 2002 James Bernard Quilligan
Brandt 21 Forum
PO Box 63776
Philadelphia, PA 19147