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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

18 May 2012

Closing remarks to High-Level Thematic Debate on "The State of the World Economy and Finance and its Impact on Development"

Thank you once again for attending this debate.

We have had a rich and illuminating discussion.

Our challenge is to take the best of your insights and ideas and turn them into real-life action to improve people’s lives and prospects.

As I said yesterday, we face challenging times.

I am deeply concerned about the slow recovery of the global economy and the possibility of another worldwide recession.

If this happens, it may be even more devastating since we have less resources and fiscal capacity to respond.

Furthermore, many countries are reeling under heavy debt burdens.

Many face political uncertainties.

If there is another global recession, many hard-won gains will be put at risk.

I am particularly concerned about the potential impact on governments’ commitment to sustainable development.

The current difficulties are a reason to recommit, not to shrink from it.

We will not kick-start the global economy with slash-and-burn policies.

But if we act within a long-term vision of sustainable development, we can reduce debt burdens, we can consolidate development gains and we can generate new dynamism and growth.

People are making their voices heard on the streets and in the ballot boxes.

Let us listen and move forward in a sustainable and inclusive way.

Thank you for contributing to this debate.

We will put together a brief chair’s summary to feed into the upcoming summits – G-20 in Los Cabos and Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro.

Our discussions will be an important input to these forums.

The tests we face should be taken as a cue to strengthen our resolve and to think outside the box.

Let us leave here today with one shared goal: to galvanize global support for a transformative agenda for change.

Our opportunity lies in Rio.

It is not an end, but a beginning.

It is our chance to set in motion a conceptual revolution in how we think about creating balanced, dynamic growth for future generations.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank the many heads of government and honorable ministers for taking time to come to New York to participate, and to those many economists and specialists who have contributed to a very rich discussion.

And, also, lastly, to our distinguished facilitators, Ambassador [Daniele] Bodini of San Marino and Ambassador [Ertugrul] Apakan of Turkey, for their role [in making] this conference possible.

Again, thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership and vision to have convened this meeting to a successful conclusion. I will convey this message of your discussions to the G-20 Summit and the Rio+20 Summit meeting.

Let us make the most of it and I thank you for your leadership and commitment.

Thank you very much.