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Gerald Karl Helleiner fonds
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Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-four on International Monetary Affairs (G24)

“The G24…was founded in 1971 to provide more effective voice for developing countries in the international financial institutions….Early in its development, it established a research programme, funded by the UNDP [United Nations Development Program], administered by UNCTAD [United Nations Commission on Trade and Development], and run by Sidney Dell, as a backup for its efforts.” In the 1980s Dell approached Professor Helleiner to undertake research on behalf of the group. One of the latter’s projects was to plan, synthesize and summarize two of the G24’s research programme’s major projects – “one on the implications of the post-1971 (flexible) exchange rate regime for developing countries, and the other on the longer-term implications of the balance of payments crisis in developing countries which had been created by the severe exogenous shocks of the 1970s.” In the mid-1980s Professor Helleiner was able to find alternate funding through IDRC [International Development Research Commission] for the G24 research programme when it was about to run out of money. He also did most of the organizational work and editing (he also contributed a paper on African finance and debt) of a memorial volume in honour of Sidney Dell (who died in 1990) that appeared in 1995 as Poverty, prosperity and the world economy.

In 1991 Professor Helleiner agreed to replace Dell as the co-ordinator of the G24 research programme, in spite of being very busy with other projects, which he directed until 1999. He noted that “UNCTAD tended to see this program as a project of their own, and to see me as their employee…[as they] handled all of the G24 research programme’s administration…” Professor Helleiner’s duties included attending all the G24’s deputies’ and ministerial meetings and often its Bureau meetings as well. He also attended International Monetary Fund/World Bank meetings, most often in Washington but once every three years in other cities – Bangkok (1991), Madrid (1994) and Hong Kong (1997).

The research programme’s budget never exceeded $200,000 per year, but Professor Helleiner was able to attract further support from the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark and, later from individual G24 governments as well. Between 1992 and 1999, he commissioned over 80 papers, most of which were “published – in batches – in 11 volumes of a new UNCTAD series created solely for this purpose, entitled International monetary and financial issues for the 1990s. Further unpublished issue papers were done in response to specific requests from developing country Eds.” Unfortunately, most of the time these papers were ignored by the IMF and the World Bank staff which had their own permanent research units. Professor Helleiner believes that research programme’s greatest success was at the 1994 conference in Cartagena which was convened to review, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference that created the IMF, “the state of the international monetary and financial system from the standpoint of the interests of developing countries.

A subsequent innovation, resulting from a meeting in Antigua, Guatamela in August that year, was a decision to create “a G24 Technical Group to improve the relations between the research programme (and its coordinator), the G9 Executive Directors and the G24.” It met twice a year in G24 national capitals as well as Washington, the site of annual fall meetings. The first meeting in November 1994 was followed by specially ones in Abidjan (February 1995), Islamabad (March 1996), Margarita Island, Venezuela (March 1997), Algiers (March 1998), Colombo (March 1999). Professor Helleiner was responsible for the programmes and missed only the Venezuela meeting. Again, the capacity of the Technical Group’s research papers, even when right on topic, to influence G24 members efforts was limited by international political considerations.

This series contains correspondence, memoranda, notes, minutes of meetings, contracts and related legal documents, drafts of research papers, reports, and press coverage.

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