How governments can respond to the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis has propelled an unprecedented wave of protests worldwide and governments must respond.

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The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the Global Social Justice Program at Columbia University's Initiative for Policy Dialogue co-hosted a discussion event on the cost of living crisis and how governments can respond to it.

The event featured two 1-hour panels. The first presented research on the surge of cost of living protests beginning in 2022 and the need for government responses. The second panel explored practical short and medium-term options for governments, policies consistent with advice from the IMF, World Bank, and UN system, which trade unions and social groups can also get behind.


Opening remarks and introduction

  • Cathy Feingold, Director, AFL-CIO International Department and Deputy President, ITUC

Panel 1: Cost of Living Protests – Why Governments Must Respond

  • Moderator: Michael Bröning, Director, FES New York


  • “Food, Energy and Cost of Living Protests in 2022” by Naomi Hossain, Professor, American University (AU) and Jeffrey Hallock, Ph.D. Student, AU

  • “The Labor Movement Confronts the Global Cost of Living Crisis” by William Spriggs, Chief Economist, AFL-CIO

Discussant: Abdel Rahmen El Lahga, Associate Professor, University of Tunis, UGTT


Panel 2: How can governments respond to the cost of living crisis?

  • Moderator: Shereen Taalat, Co-Director MENA, Arab Watch Regional Coalition


  • “End Austerity: What governments can do to respond to the cost of living crisis” by Isabel Ortiz, Director, Global Justice Program, Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University

  • “Recommendations from the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development” by Shari Spiegel, UN-DESA, Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development

  • “Social Protection: a response for the cost of living crisis” by Shahra Razavi, Director of Social Protection, ILO

  • “IMF Fiscal Affairs Proposals for Fiscal Crisis” by Rodrigo Cerda, Fiscal Affairs Department Expenditure Policy Division, International Monetary Fund


  • Karim Trabelsi, Economic and Social Officer, UGTT


Closing remarks: Alex Campbell, Director of Washington DC office, ITUC and GUFs

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