3 December 2010
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference by General Assembly President on Parliamentary Hearing ‘Towards


Economic Recovery:  Rethinking Development, Retooling Global Governance’


Close collaboration between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was critical, IPU President Theo-Ben Gurirab said at a Headquarters press conference today.


Speaking after the conclusion of the 2010 Parliamentary Hearing, held in New York on 2 and 3 December, he underlined the importance that IPU attached to the long-standing cooperation between the two organizations, noting that the United Nations “adds value” to the work of parliamentarians.  IPU should help build parliamentary capacities while parliamentarians, in turn, added “the voice of the people” to international discussions, he said.


Opening the panel discussion, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss had described parliaments as instrumental in providing political support for decisions adopted by the United Nations organ, citing the Millennium Development Goals, which must be translated into national policies, as one example.  Meanwhile, parliamentarians were also critical to ensuring accountability and transparency in decision-making processes, including at the international level.


Co-organized by IPU and the Office of the President of the General Assembly under the theme “Towards economic recovery:  Rethinking development, retooling global governance”, the Hearing had focused on questions of reforming international financial systems, rethinking sustainable development in the context of the current global economic crisis, empowering the United Nations, and the need for accountability, among other topics.


Participants in the Hearing’s panel discussion had noted that the United Nations and parliaments around the world provided each other with critical support, particularly in matters relating to development and the global economic crisis.  They had discussed the unique struggles of their respective countries with the global economic and financial crisis, as well as their hopes for economic progress on the international level.


Turning to the experiences of individual countries facing the economic crisis, panellists had emphasized the critical roles that IPU and the United Nations system had to play in supporting Governments and addressing the main problems arising from it.


Accompanying Mr. Gurirab and Mr. Deiss, were Gyöngyösi Márton, a Member of Parliament from Hungary, and Rosario Green Macías, Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate of Mexico.


Mr. Márton said his country had taken on “exorbitant” debt as a result of having taken over “toxic assets” from failing banks.  As the losses were nationalized, tax payers had been called upon to pay, he said, noting that while there had been much finger-pointing, very little had been accomplished in resolving problems stemming from the banking crisis.  He said he was pleased now to have the opportunity to discuss those issues with IPU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations and other international actors.  “It is our responsibility to find solutions, and good solutions, to these problems,” he added.


Ms. Green said parliamentarians attended the annual Hearing to better understand global problems and how to translate them into clearer words for their constituents.  “I consider this an excellent opportunity to educate and be educated,” she added, noting that 2010 was the second year in which the Hearing’s discussions had focused on issues relating to the global economic crisis.  The discussion had been particularly valuable this year in having linked many seemingly disparate topics and reframed them in the light of the new international economic reality.  “We have to put into this casserole ingredients that were there, but that weren’t being correlated before.”


Ms. Green pointed out that while Latin American countries had fared better than others, including the United States and European Union member States, Mexico faced its own unique set of problems, including a major struggle against organized crime.  Particular national needs must therefore be central to a country’s economic recovery strategy, she stressed.


Asked about the venue for international financial negotiations, Ms. Green said G-20 debates were more expedient than those of the “G-192”, the group of all United Nations Member States.  Nonetheless, proposals from the G-20 still went to the General Assembly for review by all States.


When asked whether there was a global lesson to be learned from developing States with strong social safety nets, such as Brazil, she said it was not social programmes but strong exports that had carried them through the crisis.


In response to the same question, Mr. Gurirab said it was too early to determine whether there were strong economic models to emulate in the future.


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For information media • not an official record