Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Remarks High-Level Policy Dialogue on Current Developments in the World Economy
2 July 2013, Geneva
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to moderate this dialogue on current developments in the world economy.
I wish to thank my colleagues from UNCTAD, WTO, IMF and the World Bank for joining us. Your participation today bears testimony to the UN system’s commitment to working together on meeting global economic challenges.
As moderator, I would like to share with you briefly my perspectives on three challenges facing policymakers today:
1) how to strengthen the global economic recovery;
2) how to accelerate the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals; and
3) how to advance the global development agenda beyond 2015.
I would also like to raise questions in each of these three areas for our distinguished panelists.
The world economy continues its protracted and uneven recovery from the global financial crisis, which erupted five years ago.
Despite a measurable reduction of some systemic risks, and improvement in global financial markets, real economic activity worldwide remains subdued.
According to the latest report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects Mid-2013, a joint UN publication, the world economy will grow in 2013 at 2.3 per cent, the same sluggish pace as it did in 2012.
A mild pick-up in global growth is only expected in 2014.
Downside risks remain. The possibility of a further deterioration in the euro area is still a major risk factor. The risk of a further slowdown in some of the large developing countries cannot be ruled out.
Therefore, strengthening a robust global recovery, with a focus on promoting job creation, should remain the main objective for current macroeconomic policies.
My questions for the panel are:
First, facing a combination of high public debt and weak aggregate demand, developed countries have adopted different fiscal policies:
- a continued fiscal austerity in the euro area,
- a fiscal sequestration (that is, automatic spending cuts) in the US, and
- a fiscal stimulus in Japan.
What are your comments on these three different fiscal measures?
Second, as the central banks of major developed countries intensify quantitative easing (QE), developing countries have expressed their concerns about the negative spillovers of QE on their economies.
How can these international policy spillovers be mitigated?
The second challenge we are facing is how to accelerate progress toward achieving the MDGs. Despite setbacks brought by the global financial crisis, progress has been reported in most areas.
As indicated by the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, launched yesterday by the Secretary-General, we are making impressive gains on a few important targets.
For example, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been halved at the global level. Remarkable gains have been made in reducing child mortality and in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and against malaria and tuberculosis. The hunger reduction target is within reach.
However, prominent shortfalls are found in many other areas. Environmental degradation continues, the poorest children are most likely to be out of school, and gender-based inequalities in decision making power persist.
Meanwhile, for the first time since 1997, official development assistance (ODA) decreased for two consecutive years.
My question for the panel:
What concrete actions should Member States and the international community take to accelerate the progress towards achieving the MDGs in the remaining two years?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we approach the 2015 deadline for meeting the MDGs and related targets, let us ensure continuity of progress in the MDGs.
Let us strengthen our efforts to address new and persistent challenges, including climate change, as we advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015, with sustainable development at its core.
Member States have already set in mention a global process to forge a consensus on a post-2015 development agenda.
I would like to hear from our panellists your views on the priorities for the global development agenda beyond 2015.
I thank you for your attention.
With these opening remarks, I now wish to invite our distinguished panellists to share their insights with us.