The Economic and Financial Committee – also known as the Second Committee – began its work for the 65th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 4 October 2010.
“With the global economy in such a delicate state… special efforts must be made to ensure that the social needs of the vulnerable groups are adequately met,” said Under Secretary-General, Mr. Sha Zukang, in his statement at the opening session.
“The sad truth is that despite centuries of spectacular growth on our planet, two billion people live in poverty… If we continue on our current path we will bequeath poverty, not prosperity, to our children and grandchildren,” he warned.
Looking ahead, Mr. Sha cautioned that the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, would only be successful if efforts were bolstered to create a green economy focusing on poverty eradication and sustainable development. He added that effective global governance was also crucial, with the G-20 and the United Nations having complementary roles in the ongoing economic recovery process.
Mr Sha’s sentiments were echoed in the keynote address given by Robert Shiller, Professor of Economics and Finance at Yale University. Prof Shiller suggested greater economic stimuli were needed in many countries, as were greater efforts to create jobs and restore the morale underlying any successful economy. ‘A fundamental driver of the economic success of nations has to do with the spirit of the people.’ he said ‘An economy needs an esprit de corps just as an army or business does.’
Prof Shiller also called for the creation of regulations to ensure trust and cooperation, and promote fair dealing in business. More importantly, he said, Government policy should aim to democratize finance, making it work for the people, by allowing everyone to benefit from access to financial services such as savings plans, loans and insurance policies that were designed with their interests in mind.
“The importance of providing universal medical care is widely recognized around the world today. The importance of providing financial care is less recognized. Perhaps the financial crisis will awaken us to the importance of such care, for everyone,” said Professor Shiller.
The Chair of the Second Committee H. E. Enkhtsetseg Ochir (Mongolia) opened the session by urging the Committee to make better use of its discussions to contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. She encouraged members to generate concrete ideas and proposals.
The Committee will focus on issues relating to economic growth and development, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight global anti-poverty targets set for 2015. The Committee will also consider Groups of Countries in special situations – such as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The Committee opened its session by electing Paul Empole Efambe Losoko (Democratic Republic of the Congo) as Rapporteur.