General Assembly of the United Nations
Economic and Financial - Second Committee

Second Committee

Special events

Date / Time Event

Monday, 6 October,
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Conf. Room 2

Keynote address by Professor Ricardo Hausmann

Prof. Hausmann is Director of Harvard University's Center for International Development and Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government. Previously, he served as the first Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank (1994-2000), where he created the Research Department. He has served as Minister of Planning of Venezuela (1992-1993) and as a member of the Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela. He also served as Chair of the IMF-World Bank Development Committee. His research interests include issues of growth, macroeconomic stability, international finance, and the social dimensions of development.

Friday, 10 October
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

Panel discussion on “Challenges and emerging issues in external debt restructuring”

The informal General Assembly review session on the External Debt chapter of the Monterrey Consensus on 10-11 March 2008 at UN Headquarters noted the improvements made since the Monterrey Conference in 2002 in the external debt situation of developing countries and the action taken on debt write-offs for low income countries under the HIPC and MDRI initiatives and debt relief provided to some countries under the Evian approach. Despite these improvements, Member States pointed out that some remaining problems and drew attention to some problem areas. For example, Member States raised the problem with litigating creditors against some developing countries as the “comparability of treatment” principle in all Paris club agreements proves to be difficult to implement in practice. Paris Club agreements reached amongst bilateral OECD donors for official debt are not legally binding on creditors. Thus far the approach towards litigating creditors has been one of moral suasion. Another issue raised was that we have not been able to extend debt relief to other low- and middle-income countries which face trade-offs between expenditure on development and repayment of loans.

Since the Monterrey Conference, private capital flows have increased substantially and private debt has gone up significantly. These flows are now much larger than official flows in many developing countries. It was pointed out that with more liberalized capital markets and floating exchange rates, the risks associated with global financial uncertainties and high oil prices have implications for debt sustainability. Some Member States pointed out the need for considering a debt resolution mechanism that provides equal burden sharing between creditors and debtors, whether dealing with official debt or commercial debts. There was also a call for further consideration of the prospoal to establish an independent debt arbitration mechanism to assess, adjudicate and pass judgment on debt reduction options.

This panel discussion assessed the positive contribution of present approaches to debt restructuring, both official and commercial, while at the same time identifying gaps and suggesting possible ways to move forward.

Friday, 17 October
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

Monday, 20 October
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

Panel discussion on “Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)”

The panel served as a forum to address priorities for action within the framework of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) and launched the discussion ahead of consideration by the GA of the SG Report on the Implementation of the Second Decade.

The GA proclamation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) was in support of the internationally agreed development goals related to poverty eradication, including the Millennium Development Goals. The Second Decade seeks to further advance the momentum provided by the First Decade in inspiring global awareness and action to fight poverty. The proposed panel will discuss how the Second Decade can be an effective catalyst in achieving poverty eradication.

The panel discussed the priority lines of action proposed in the SG Report:

- the promotion of productive employment and decent work as pathways to successful poverty reduction;

- social protection as integral to poverty reduction in order to help the poor avoid destitution and the near poor form falling into poverty when faced with loss of income, health and other emergencies;

- the development of inclusive financial institutions that offer appropriate financial products and services to all segments of the population, including the poor, and to significantly increase outreach to unserved and underserved enterprises and households (as discussed in the SG Report on the role of microcredit and microfinance in the eradication of poverty) and;

- forging effective public-private partnership mechanisms in support of the objectives of the Second Decade at all levels from the global to the local.

Friday, 24 October
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

Panel discussion on “Globalisation and health”

The panel discussion was chaired by H.E. Mrs. Uche Joy Ogwu (Nigeria), Chairperson of the Second Committee, and moderated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University.  Presentations were made by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), H.E. Mr. Luvuyo Ndimeni, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN in Geneva, Dr. Nils Daulaire, Chief Executive Officer, Global Health Council, and Dr. Daniel Halperin, Senior Research Scientist, Lecturer in International Health, Harvard University School of Public Health.

The panel addressed challenges to public health systems and communicable disease interventions in the context of globalization. The background note and summary of the event highlight that much remains to be understood regarding the impact of globalization on health. It shows that although national health systems remain largely national in terms of service delivery, healthcare workers, training and regulation, the impact of globalization can be witnessed through increasingly transborder provision of healthcare, physical migration of health professionals and the development of telemedicine and teleconsulting across national boundaries.

It also stresses that globalization also poses new challenges to public health systems in the areas of communicable disease.  With greater worldwide mobility of people, through business, tourism, rural-urban migration and displacement, the risk of importing and exporting communicable diseases increases.  In response to the problem of communicable disease, disease-specific programmes have proliferated, promoting vertical interventions, which lack effectiveness without an adequate healthcare system.

Tuesday, 11 November
3 – 6 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

Panel discussion on "Overcoming Economic Insecurity"

Economic insecurity is on the rise everywhere, often times accompanied by increasing economic inequality.  Different countries and communities face different threats and vulnerabilities.  However, there has been in recent months much discussion about a perfect storm brewing among a set of interconnected forces, particularly those of finance, food and fuel, that together are threatening livelihoods across the global economy and beyond the poorest communities.  These heightened economic risks and compounded threats have often been met with the response that the forces behind them are autonomous and irresistible, and beyond our collective political control. A key message from this year’s World Economic and Social Survey is that overcoming economic insecurity markets cannot be left to their own devices to deliver the desired mixture of prosperity and security. What is needed is a strong “social contract” which can help secure the spaces for individuals, households and communities.  Doing so requires a more balanced mixture of private and public sector responses, along with a more integrated approach to economic and social policy, and a much greater degree of pragmatism in their design and implementation, at both the national and the international levels. The proposed panel will explore these issues and consider possible policy responses, particularly at the international level, which together might bring about a more secure and just future for all.

Thursday, 13 November
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Conf. Room 2

"Post-Conflict State Capacity:  Reconstructing Public Administration for Conflict Prevention, Recovery and Development"

Of the countries emerging from war, nearly 50% percent face relapse into conflict within a decade. The re-establishment of credible governance and public administration institutions and systems after violent conflict is arguably the most critical determinant of sustainable recovery and peace.  For almost 60 years, the United Nations has successfully assisted Member States in their efforts to strengthen, improve and reform their governance systems and administrative institutions.

While there is a large amount of research and literature on reconstructing governance and public administration structures after conflict, it has proven difficult to distill the concrete lessons learnt and best practices for useful adaptation and replication. It is particularly important to look both at the role and responsibilities of internal state and non-state actors, as well as the influence of external actors such as regional and international organizations in the sustainable reconstruction of governance and public administration capacities after conflict. UNDESA/DPADM is preparing the World Public Sector Report on “Reconstructing governance and public administration capacities in post-conflict situations – lessons learnt” in 2009. The panel discussion is meant for reporting on the preliminary research and findings of this Report, including the upcoming Expert Group Meeting on this topic to be held in Accra on 2-4 October, with a specific focus on concrete examples of successful practices and good models.


[29 October 2008 ]


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