23 June 2009 A major high-level United Nations gathering aimed at tackling the global economic meltdown and its effects on the developing world is set to kick off on Wednesday at the world body’s Headquarters in New York.
“Let’s hope and let’s continue praying that we will have a conference that is up to the exigencies of the gravity of the crisis confronting humankind,” General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto, the event’s organizer, told a press conference today.
Mr. D’Escoto also told reporters that he was “relieved” that a revised outcome document for adoption at the end of the three-day meeting has been finalized, stressing that the gathering is “not concerned with the good of some, but the good of all.”
The UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development aims to assess the “worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression,” providing “a uniquely inclusive forum to address issues of urgent concern to all nations,” according to the summit’s website.
A commission of experts – established by Mr. D’Escoto and compromised of economists and finance officials from all regions – submitted recommendations on immediate and longer-term measures relating to the global financial system, as well as practical proposals for reforming the international financial architecture, which helped form the basis of the draft outcome document.
The Assembly President underscored the need for leaders to help the world’s developing countries, which had no hand in creating the crisis, to cope with the global recession, noting that the World Bank recently predicted that the consequences of this crisis among the “most vulnerable, those that don’t have safety nets, is going to be devastating.”
The World Bank projects a finance gap of up to $700 billion in these countries, resulting in additional deaths of 1.5 to 2.8 million infants by 2015 and more than 100 million people tipping over into extreme poverty each year for the duration of the crisis, the summit’s website states.
“This meeting leaves no doubt that the proper and most fitting venue to discuss this type of problem is the United Nations,” said Mr. D’Escoto. “After all, we’re talking about global problems and they should be discussed globally.”
Mr. D’Escoto was tasked with organizing the summit by Member States during the follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development, held in December 2008 in Doha, Qatar.
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