UN-backed public symposium calls for ‘deep and lasting’ financial reforms

20 May 2009 – A public symposium on the global financial crisis has recommended “deep and lasting” reforms to avoid a repetition of the current downturn, according to its sponsor, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The two-day meeting in Geneva of some 360 UN experts, government officials and members of the public also recommended that “significant international efforts and funding be supplied to stimulate developing-country economies and to support employment in those nations, and that steps be taken to stabilize currency-exchange rates,” UNCTAD said in a press release.

The symposium, which began on 18 May, also said “recent reports of economic improvement in industrialized countries should not be taken to mean that the downturn is over, and should not lead decision makers to ignore the profound and long-lasting effects on poor countries.”

Other recommendations included a debt moratorium for heavily indebted developing countries so that they have more money available for stimulating their economies, and a global programme to preserve and protect jobs in developing nations.

The conclusions of the symposium will be sent to the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, scheduled for 1-3 June in New York.

In a separate communiqué, UNCTAD said its studies showed that foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide decreased by 15 per cent in 2008 and was liable to decrease further in 2009.

A pick-up in FDI flows will depend on a series of factors such as the speed of economic and financial recovery, the return of investor confidence, and the efficiency of public policy in addressing the causes of the crisis, the agency added.

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