16 November 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the commitment made by world leaders to take joint measures to tackle the global financial crisis.
The Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy, issued by the heads of the so-called Group of 20 (G-20) nations yesterday in Washington, includes an agreement on coordinated stimulus packages, a move Mr. Ban had called for in his remarks at the White House.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, he also welcomed the leaders' agreement on new market regulation to avert future crises, greater inclusivity in economic governance, and the need to reduce trade and investment protectionism.
The meeting in Washington saw the participation of the leaders of the 20 countries that account for nearly 80 per cent of global production, trade and investment, with more than 170 other nations – comprising one-third of the world's population – not in attendance.
Addressing the G-20 summit – the first-ever at the heads of State level and the first time the United Nations Secretary-General has been invited to attend – yesterday, Mr. Ban underscored the importance of a wide-ranging form of multilateralism which includes all countries not represented at the gathering.
“He stressed the need for international coordination of stimulus packages and the importance of meeting aid commitments to avoid global economic slowdown, adversely affecting global security, stability and the wellbeing of poor countries and poor people,” according to his spokesperson.
The Secretary-General called for furthering “green” economic growth – including bolstered support for renewable energy and switching to more carbon-friendly systems – as part of the fiscal stimulus.
He expressed appreciation for the Declaration's recognition of the importance of the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and previous aid commitments, “particularly in view of the impact of the current crisis on developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable.”
Mr. Ban also welcomed the leaders' commitment both to the development principles agreed at the landmark 2002 landmark agreement known as the Monterrey Consensus. Strong participation at the upcoming conference in Doha, Qatar, to review that accord is essential, he said.
In an op-ed appearing this weekend in the Brunei Times and the Guatemala Times, among other publications, he wrote that addressing the current global financial turmoil must not come at the expense of solving other critical problems, such as hunger, the food crisis and climate change.
Invoking Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Ban said there is a need to recognize the “fierce urgency of now” to protect the livelihoods of millions around the world.
His greatest concern, he said, is that the financial crisis of today could spiral into “tomorrow's human crisis,” warning that the clock is ticking on finding solutions.
Overlooking poverty and global warming will “only exacerbate the already fragile political and security situation in many countries that are hardest hit,” the Secretary-General said.
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