From the IBA President - June 2009
IBA Task Force
The Financial Task Force is continuing its work, with a view to contributing to the search for efficient and lasting solutions to the problems confronting the world’s financial markets and those who depend on the resumption of an efficient and appropriate global market system.
The Task Force is focusing its work on:
- developing proposals for changes to the regulatory architecture and rules system, looking at both international aspects (the need for a global market to have some form of global regulations being widely acknowledged) and issues applicable to the major financial jurisdictions;
- reviewing and commenting on ideas and proposals developed by other contributors to the discussions;
- advocating the continuance of liberal world financial markets and taking a firm stand against protectionism by regulation;
- defending the Rule of Law as the fundamental principle and prerequisite of free trade;
- communicating through statements, reports and conferences; and
- as appropriate, meeting in the major jurisdictions of the world with politicians, regulators, market participants and other interested parties to consult and discuss its ideas and proposals.
Human rights and rule of law initiatives
The IBA, through its Human Rights Institute and the Rule of Law Action Group, will organise a session at the POLA (Presidents of Law Associations in Asia) Conference 2009 to be hosted by the Korean Bar Association in Seoul in July 2009, the main subject of which will be ‘Global Economic Crisis and the Rule of Law’. It is our intention to focus this session on human rights and rule of law issues and to present our initiative to undertake conferences and seminars in the region with the purpose of continuing the education of the legal profession on human rights and the rule of law in cooperation with local bar associations across the region.
A similar initiative has been undertaken in Brazil to organise in collaboration with AASP (Sao Paulo Lawyers Association) two programmes, one to take place this year, focused on anti-money laundering, and another in 2010 on the rule of law.
Even though I have been working closely with our European and Latin American Regional Fora within the last two months, I will report on recent activities within the Latin American region this time, and in my next column I will provide information on a special initiative undertaken by the European Forum.
Within the Latin American region there are now two trends. First there are countries whose governments have developed and maintained sound and responsible economic and fiscal policies with a legal framework which gives confidence to national and foreign investors observing and respecting human rights and the fundamental pillars of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the division of powers. Then there are countries in which the state has a very strong interventionist policy with regard to the economy, controlling the major or most important industrial sectors, without sound and responsible economic and fiscal policies, with a legal framework which is highly volatile due to constant changes to existing laws and new legislation, with serious impact on the political and economic environment, which does not generate confidence to investors. In this second group of countries we find populist governments that, as a result of their policies have harassed and diminished the private sector and foreign investors. In these countries the independence of the judiciary, as well as the division of powers, is either on permanent threat or is practically non-existent.
Colombia and Brazil fall within the first group of countries. In the last eight years, in Colombia there has been an important evolution in the political and economic environment, with the result that Colombia’s economy is today one of the five most important economies of the region. As result of this evolution and the interest that foreign investors from both within and outside the region have in Colombia, which has produced an important increase in foreign investments, the Latin American Forum organised in March 2009 the first IBA Conference in Bogota. The main subject of the Conference was ‘Merger and Acquisitions; Trends and Challenges’, and it was an absolute success attended by more than 200 delegates. The quality of the substantive programme and therefore the different sessions was excellent, and the local and international speakers were recognised specialists in the different areas under discussion.
Another project in Colombia is the rendering of technical assistance in the organisation of the Colombian National Bar Association, facilitated through the IBA Human Rights Institute.
At the end of March, I visited Brazil together with Michael Reynolds, IBA Secretary General, and Tim Hughes, IBA Deputy Director. As you are aware, our first regional office was established back in 2005 in São Paulo and the purpose of our visit was to attend the annual meeting of CESA (Centro de Estudos das Sociedades de Advogados) and to meet with our Brazilian Advisory Board and with Flavia Alves, Office Manager of our Regional Office.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the advice, work and support that we have received since the opening of our Brazil Regional Office from the members of the Advisory Board, which is composed of Antonio Meyer, Horacio Bernardes Neto, Altamiro Boscoli, Gilberto Gusti, Moira Huggard- Caine, Ronaldo Veirano and Jose Luis Freire, representing CESA, and Domingos Fernando Refinetti, representing AASP.
As a result of our meetings an action plan was drawn up to organise several conferences in 2009 and 2010 in São Paulo, and a special project is in the process of being drawn up to organise conferences and to reach existing and potential members within the major Brazilian cities.
I will continue informing you about my activities and the work done through the different parts of our Association; if you have any comments or suggestions please send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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