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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

24 October 2008


Opening remarks at press conference on the Chief Executives Board's [CEB] response to the global financial crisis

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

As you know, the executive heads of the United Nations system, funds and programmes, specialized agencies, had a very good meeting on various issues, particularly on the financial crisis issues.

We agreed that we face the prospect of on-going turmoil in the world's financial markets, coupled with a serious threat of global recession.

Today's crisis will affect all countries. But those who will experience the greatest hardships are likely to be those least responsible the poor in developing countries.

The United States and Europe have so far experienced the brunt of the crisis.

We fear the next shoe to drop will be emerging economies. Hard-won economic gains are in jeopardy.

Volatile movements in commodity prices, energy and food, in particular, have lowered standards of living of life and nutrition. The financial crisis threatens the foundations of globalization, which in turn underpins global growth.

We see new protectionist pressures.

Credit markets are tightening, further impairing trade and growth.

Many developing nations lack the resources to rescue financial institutions in emergencies, as wealthier nations have done. At today's session, we discussed ways in which the United Nations can respond.

All agreed that the UN has a special responsibility, the protection of the poorest and most vulnerable. We agreed that the UN must act in a coordinated manner. We express our full commitment to the cause of economic development and will do our utmost to deal with the repercussions of this worldwide crisis.

We have made encouraging progress in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, in improving global health and combating the scourge of disease. As we look to the next 7 years of our work on the Millennium Development Goals, we must ensure that our gains are not reversed.

We cannot allow the financial crisis to force millions of people back into extreme poverty.

We cannot allow the financial crisis to weaken our resolve on climate change. It remains the defining challenge of our era. The upcoming summit in Poznan must lead to a successful climate change agreement in Copenhagen. We must do all we can to ensure that the momentum we have generated does not flag.

We must not compromise our efforts on mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer.

At this time of crisis, the UN must be doubly vigilant with respect to international norms concerning economic, social, environmental and human rights.

We call for a new global solidarity, so that we all, together, can weather a gathering storm.

We call on all States to reaffirm, and even strengthen, their commitments on development assistance. Amid the current crisis, official development assistance, ODA [Official Development Assistance], has become even more important to poor developing countries faced with financial constraints, declining liquidity and seriously worsening Balance of Payments positions.

We express our gratitude to those world leaders who have pledged not to reduce their ODA and call on leaders of all developed countries to meet their pledged commitments.

We urge all Member States to engage with renewed vigour in preparing for the Doha Conference on Financing for Development in order to ensure a successful result in building up a common framework to assure our common future. A healthy, open and rule-based trading system is essential to maintaining long-term economic growth to the benefit of all.

We must resist protectionism and promote openness and inclusiveness.

We call on all States to reengage in efforts to conclude the Doha Trade Negotiations.

We welcome the initiative to convene a G-20 summit level meeting on November 15 in Washington.

We reaffirm our support for meaningful, comprehensive and well-coordinated reform of the world's international institutions. To prevent today's crisis from becoming tomorrow's disaster, the CEB pledges to show proactive leadership. We will work toward well-coordinated and comprehensive policies on trade, development, finance, humanitarian assistance, the environment and the protection of global goods and norms. Thank you.