United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday, 18 June, to attend the Summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) hosted by Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.
Upon arrival, he proceeded directly to the ceremonial inauguration of the Summit. Afterwards, he participated in three Summit sessions on “The Global Economy and Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth”, “Strengthening the International Financial Architecture and the Financial System and Promoting Financial Inclusion”, and “Development, green growth, infrastructure and food security”.
In his interventions at these closed sessions, the Secretary-General expressed his concern about the effects of the global job crisis — particularly on the 75 million young people actively looking for work at the moment. He said that the human pain, the loss of welfare and remittances, and the effect on confidence and on productive potential cannot be understated.
While he understood the emphasis given to containing the breakdown of the financial system, he urged Governments to give the highest priority to job creation. Failing to do so, he noted, threatens to erode the social fabric of our societies, and sadly, to bring out the worst in many. Generating jobs would also reinvigorate recovery, and help break the vicious circle of financial fragility, sovereign debt problems, deleveraging, low growth and high unemployment, he said.
He noted that investing in clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and climate-resilient infrastructure could contribute significantly to job creation and help reinvigorate economic growth in the short run. At the same time, this investment could lay the foundations for inclusive green growth and sustainable development in the long run. He commended leaders for their decision to support the Green Climate Fund that was established last year.
He also commended the Mexican presidency’s emphasis on inclusive green growth. He expressed his hope that the G-20 would embrace a holistic approach to economic, social and environmental challenges. Creating a more balanced and sustainable global economy that can deliver growth and create jobs in all parts of the world requires investments in infrastructure, agriculture, education and training, he said. This can reduce poverty, contribute to more private sector investment and growth opportunities, and stimulate employment.
He noted that, in partnership with the G-20 and other international organizations, the United Nations system has done considerable work analysing the opportunities of the green economy, and is well placed to assist countries to embrace green growth on the road to sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The Secretary-General welcomed the Mexican presidency’s efforts to move the financial inclusion agenda forward. He reminded leaders that financial inclusion is important not only for the 2.7 billion who lack access to financial services, but also more broadly for the soundness and stability of the global financial system, the global economy recovery and, ultimately, to development.
The Secretary-General said that fostering financial inclusion is critical from a developmental perspective, because first, inclusive finance can effectively contribute to inclusive growth, besides strengthening financial stability; and second, it supports achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by making financial services widely available at reasonable cost in order to increase income, build assets, smooth consumption and reduce risks.
He commended the G-20 leaders for having adopted the Seoul Development Consensus, and urged them to build upon it. He also urged them to maintain commitments on financing for development in these difficult times.
The Secretary-General also met with a variety of leaders on the sidelines of the Summit, and had a bilateral meeting with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia. He shared with President Yudhoyono his concerns about the situation in Syria. He also exchanged views with the President on the next steps regarding the work of the High-Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda.
He left Los Cabos at noon that day, arriving in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the early hours of Wednesday, 20 June, to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).