Ms. Shamshad Akhtar Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Report of the Secretary-General on Globalization and Interdependence

Distinguished Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

As we prepare for the post-2015 development agenda, we are yet reminded how interdependent our world has become. This global interdependence encompasses areas like finance, trade, communication, technology, movement of people, and exchange of ideas, with far-reaching implications for national development strategies and objectives.

This is the focus of the report submitted to this Committee under the agenda item on Globalization and Interdependence. The report highlights the impact of globalization on the achievement of sustainable development; it also explores its implications for a unified, universal, people-centered sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 era.

Overall, globalization has unleashed a wide array of opportunities, as well as new challenges for realizing sustainable development.

Trade has fuelled growth in many countries. A number of developing countries have made major inroads in reducing poverty and hunger by taking advantage of trade opportunities.

Information and communication technologies have enabled the acceleration of global integration of production processes. Knowledge and skills have special premiums in job markets nowadays.

Through open markets, trade and investment, cleaner production technologies and eco-efficient management systems are becoming more accessible.

Empowered by the Internet and access to information, civil society organizations have increased their influence and contributions to tackle global challenges. This important stakeholder group is often key to implementing development projects and building integrated perspectives on global issues.

Despite these positive developments, it remains a challenge to ensure that all countries and all people benefit from globalization’s full potential. Global forces, such as trade and cross-border flows of capital and labour, have created opportunities for some and negative consequences for others.

 

Distinguished Delegates,

The report highlights the following challenges.

Firstly, globalization is a powerful force that has influenced global growth and development. Driven by the mobility of goods, services, capital, labour and technology, it has brought a large array of new opportunities and benefits.  Yet globalization also has attendant challenges and risks, manifested by imbalances in the distribution of its benefits and costs.

Secondly, a range of events has changed the character and trend of globalization, reinforcing the need to rethink the course of development.  Current economic, social and environmental challenges have been fuelled by food, energy, financial and economic shocks, social upheavals, growing frequency of natural disasters and associated humanitarian crises, climate change, and the prevalence of conflict and political transition in different regions of the world.  International migration is an increasing phenomenon with distinct impacts on globalization.

Thirdly, a transformation has occurred in economic globalization resulting in a geo-economic realignment. Several developing countries have made significant progress in poverty reduction and many have established a stronger economic interdependence with each other. This has helped to sustain recent world economic growth, particularly with respect to the proportion of global growth attributable to middle-income countries.

Fourthly, globalization trends have led to calls for more effective multilateral cooperation to ensure that its consequences do not threaten peoples’ livelihoods or the sustainability of the planet.  The United Nations must address anew this phenomenon.

Fifth, in this rapidly evolving context, the international community is stepping up efforts to formulate a global development agenda beyond 2015. The initial process has involved consultations with a broad range of stakeholders and a first set of discussions among Member States. The recent Special Event of the President of the General Assembly on the MDGs highlighted the closely related imperatives of accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and defining a post-2015 development agenda.

There is a widely shared view that the post-2015 development agenda should build on the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty eradication and sustainable development remain the key development challenges for the international community.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To meet these challenges, the report makes some recommendations, which are not exhaustive but address some of the key areas for cooperation:

The world needs to enhance the effectiveness of multilateralism to fully realize the opportunities created by globalization and minimize and manage its costs and risks.  The United Nations could further promote multilateral coordination, coherence and accountability in the post-2015 era.

The proper functioning of the institutional framework for the review and follow-up work in the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, including the new High-level Political Forum, will be more important than ever.

There is need for a longer-term strategic repositioning of the UN development system to strengthen its effectiveness and relevance in the new development environment. This would involve rethinking, adjusting and strengthening such areas as functions, funding, capacity, partnerships, organizational arrangements and governance.

Monitoring and evaluation capacity will be key to ensuring that policies are well targeted.

Data and statistics need to be improved to provide the basis for sound analysis of the impact of globalization on development.

 

Distinguished Delegates,

Overall, the current governance mechanisms and institutions need to be revisited. They should serve to further enhance the coherence, complementarity and coordination of global economic policy making for the post-2015 era.

We must strengthen efforts to place development at the centre of globalization.  This means that greater consistency must be achieved among the macroeconomic, trade, aid, financial, education, environmental and gender equality policies of all countries, so that globalization works to the betterment of all.

The current approach to the post-2015 development agenda offers an historic opportunity to change the development paradigm. It could help ensure that a global development agenda beyond 2015 would be able to distribute globalization benefits to everyone, facilitated by a strong multilateral system.

The global development landscape has been changing rapidly and will continue to do so. As the opportunities, challenges and risks of globalization are highly interrelated, a new, broader development framework is needed to address them.

In this context, the Committee may wish to consider a specific theme, so that its consideration of this broad item could focus on a certain aspect of the globalization discourse. The Secretariat stands ready to provide assistance throughout the process.

Thank you.

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