UN financial summit ‘first step’ on new path towards solidarity – Assembly President

General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann

26 June 2009 – The high-level United Nations meeting on the global economic crisis has culminated in the approval of an outcome document that represents the first step in a long process of putting the world on a new path towards solidarity, stability and sustainability, the President of the General Assembly said today.

The Assembly – the “G-192” – has now been established as the central forum for the discussion of world financial and economic issues, Miguel D’Escoto said, as the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development wrapped up in New York.

“This in itself is a major achievement,” stated the President, who 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.

In addition, he said, the Assembly has been asked to follow up, through an ad hoc open-ended working group, on a number of issues such as crisis mitigation, the restructuring of the financial and economic system and architecture, external debt, and international trade.

At the same time, it has been recognized that the financial and economic crisis must not delay the necessary global response to climate change and environmental degradation through initiatives for building a ‘green economy.’

“We are happy but not content, or rather, not completely satisfied,” he stated, noting that other crises loom on the horizon, such as those related to food, clean water and energy.

“We must all join forces to confront these crises. The proposals we have adopted today point in this direction. But much remains to be done,” he said.

The three-day meeting also featured several roundtable discussions on topics including the role of the UN in responding to the crisis and how to mitigate the impact of the downturn on development.

Addressing one of the round tables today, the head of the UN Development Programme noted that while developed countries have felt the impact, some severely, for the most part they have had tools at their disposal to address the crisis.

“Some expect a slow recovery towards the end of this year or in the first half of next year,” said Administrator Helen Clark.

“The turn-around for developing countries, however, may well take longer,” she pointed out. “Many impacts of the crisis in developing countries, such as slowing growth rates, rising unemployment, and declining budgets are only now beginning to unfold.”

Among the main worries is that the crisis will slow down the rate of progress towards meeting the anti-poverty targets world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), or even reverse hard-won gains. “We must do all in our power to stop this happening,” she urged.

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