The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) says banks have done their bit to help economic recovery and governments must do more.
The Basel-based organisation - usually dubbed the "central banks' central bank" says it is time for them to stop pumping funds into their economies.
Markets are already bracing themselves for a world without central bank help.
Last week the US central bank said it planned to stop pumping money into the economy, sparking market volatility.
In its annual report, the BIS said the world's central banks had done their bit to offset the worst effects of the six-year long global credit crisis.
As the credit crunch bit, central banks tried a number of tactics to try to keep the money flowing, initially cutting interest rates and later adding in quantitative easing, buying in assets and releasing vast sums into the banking system.
The BIS said it was now the turn of governments to oil the economic wheels.
It said this should be done through labour market reforms to increase productivity.
It said they should undertake a "forceful programme" of "repair and reform", as this was the only way to bring about a lasting economic revival.
It said: "Although six years have passed since the eruption of the global financial crisis, robust, self-sustaining growth still eludes the global economy.
"During this time, central banks in advanced economies have been forced to look for ways to increase their degree of accommodation. But central banks cannot solve the structural problems that are preventing a return to strong and sustainable growth."
The BIS said central bank action had borrowed "time for others to act, allowing them to repair balance sheets, to consolidate fiscal balances, and to enact reforms to restore productivity growth".
But Stephen Cecchetti, the head of the BIS monetary and economic department, said this had made it easy for the private sector to put off reforms and for governments to finance deficits more cheaply thanks to the low interest rates their actions had introduced.
Mr Cecchetti said central banks must return their focus to maintaining financial stability and encouraging reforms, rather than "retarding them with near-zero interest rates and purchases of ever larger quantities of government securities".
The BIS was founded in 1930 and is the world's oldest international financial institution.
Its 60-strong membership includes the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of Japan.