General Assembly summit seeks wide participation, says President

General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann

14 April 2009 – The General Assembly's upcoming summit on the financial and economic crises that have swept the globe seeks to give a voice to nations not responsible for the turmoil but most impacted by it, the body's President said today.

Miguel D'Escoto told reporters in New York today that the so-called Group of 8 (G-8) and Group of 20 (G-20) industrialized nations represent only a fraction of the world's countries.

“We are working towards democratization of our world, of our Organization, and we want an inclusive system where 172 countries that don''t participate in any decision-making process” are able to play a role, he said.

The President has been tasked with organizing the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, which was called for by participants at a financing for development meeting held in Qatar in late 2008.

The 1-3 June high-level gathering, he stressed, is just the start of a process of laying the foundation for a new “financial and economic architecture,” but cautioned that there is no time to lose given the current emergency the world faces.

Financial and economic matters historically have not been dealt with by the Assembly, which makes the forthcoming meeting even more important, he said, noting that he is sending out invitations today to heads of State and Government.

Last month, an expert panel appointed by Mr. D'Escoto and chaired by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz emphasized that international finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, calling on wealthier nations to direct one per cent of their economic stimulus packages to help developing countries address poverty.

A coordinated approach – bringing together not just the G-8 or even G-20 nations, but the “G-192” representing all members of the Assembly – is needed to pull the world out of the recession, according to the recommendations of the Commission of Experts on Reforms of International Finance and Economic Structures.

The experts also called for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase the availability of funds for hard-hit nations.

A new global reserve system must be put into place to promote economic stability and equity, the Commission said, as this would ease the deflationary effects of the massive accumulation of reserves that countries believe are necessary to brace themselves against global instability. Such a system would offset the risk of a drop in value of major reserve currencies.

Other recommendations included the creation of an elected and representative Global Economic Coordination Council, as part of the UN, to meet annually at the head-of-State level to assess development and serve as a “democratically representative alternative to the G-20.”

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