While global financial issues may seem tangential to environmental problems, the past twenty years have taught environmental organizations that the global economy has enormous implications for environmental protection. Environmentalists have long understood the impact that international financial institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have on the protection of natural resources and biodiversity. But recent events, such as the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, have clearly shown that financial volatility can also negatively affect the environment. Environmentalists have learned that, in order effectively to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems, they must also develop a keen grasp of financial phenomena like currency speculation, capital controls and shortterm investments in bonds and equities. The Asian financial crisis unleashed a vigorous debate about how the global economy is run, and how the global financial architecture – or rules governing the global financial system – affects people and the environment. As a result, civil society groups, including environmental groups, have a growing awareness that addressing global economic and financial issues is crucial for achieving sustainable development.