Statements home | Search results | Full text



Print this article

Email this article

News story

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Washington, D.C. (USA)

14 November 2008


Remarks at the G20 Financial Summit

President Bush,

Distinguished heads of State and Government,

It is a great honor to participate in this crucial and historic gathering.

During the last two years, we have dealt with so many crises - regional crises in Darfur or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, global challenges such as the food crisis and climate change.

But we can, perhaps, all agree that this financial crisis is unique and overpowering in its immediate as well as potential impact.

It has become a full-scale economic crisis, spreading across the globe.

Many financial experts have diagnosed its causes.

Policymakers have offered prescriptions for solving it.

We talk of new banking regulations and a new global financial architecture.

All this is desirable.

Yet while I welcome this debate and fully recognize the need for long-term measures, I am acutely conscious of passing time.

As UN Secretary-General, my greatest concern is that today's financial crisis should not evolve into tomorrow's human crisis.

We cannot allow it to become a reason for neglecting other critical issues: unacceptable levels of poverty and hunger, the food crisis, climate change.

For that will only exacerbate the already fragile political and security situation in many countries that are hardest hit.

I therefore come, tonight, with four messages reflecting my dialogue with member states of the United Nations.

First. We need a truly global stimulus package.

The IMF projects that virtually all global growth in 2009 will come from emerging and developing economies. Large increases in public expenditures will be required in many regions of the world to counteract falling demand.

The emerging “green economy” should be key to the stimulus plan. Eco-friendly renewable energy will drive the world's next great industrial transformation. It has the potential to create millions of jobs and spur growth. Let us therefore invest in fighting climate change.

Second. These financial rescue and assistance packages cannot stop at the borders of the richest countries. Emerging markets and other developing countries need access to liquidity.

They need the oxygen of credit lines and trade financing. And we must stand against protectionism. Without open trade, this engine of growth and development could break down entirely.

Third. Some part of our global stimulus package should come from our commitments on aid. In today's environment, fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals is more than a moral imperative. It is a matter of pragmatic economic necessity. For that reason I welcome the latest IMF and World Bank initiatives.

Four. Inclusivity must be our watch-word on financial reform. The challenges we face can only be met through a new multilateralism: one that is fair, flexible and responsive, with leaders coming from all quarters.

The next few months will be crucial. Many of us will meet again in two weeks in Doha to review progress made in implementing the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development.

Six years ago, President Bush and other leaders adopted the ambitious goals that constitute the core of the MDGs. History will judge us harshly if we fail to live up to these commitments.

I urge all nations to send their highest-level representatives to Doha with full determination to do what needs to be done.

In December, our climate change negotiators meet in Poland. We have one year until Copenhagen - one year to reach an agreement that all nations can embrace.

The sooner we have a climate change agreement, the sooner we will see the green investments and green growth we so badly need.

These great challenges are interrelated - the global economy, climate change and development. We need solutions to each that are solutions to all.

Thank you.