In this together – why cooperation is the only way forward for global economy

As we usher in the new year, we find ourselves in a world fraught with uncertainty and challenges. On the surface, global macroeconomic indicators remain favourable, but they mask underlying risks and imbalances. The global trade disputes are intensifying, monetary policies are shifting and climate risks threaten to undo decades of development gains. These are just some of the factors that endanger not only our current economic activity but could also negatively impact longer-term development.

What is more, economic growth is uneven, often not reaching the people that need it the most. In many countries, per capita income is continuing to decline and poverty rates remain high. If we want to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have to look past the headline economic figures and build growth on sustainable foundations. The world is in urgent need of concrete and effective policy action to support growth in the future.

“We must act urgently and – even more importantly – we must act collectively,” says Elliott Harris, UN Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.  “Opting out of the global economy is not an option. For better or for worse, we are all in it together and only together can we find the solutions to the problems that blight our world. We need our multilateral system now more than ever.”

His call for more international cooperation comes at a time when the multilateral approach to global policy-making is facing significant headwinds.

Whether in international trade or environmental sustainability, truly global problems require truly global policy approaches. The sooner the global actors commit to that reality, the faster will we be able to grapple with the challenges that face our generation.

On 21 January, UN DESA will launch the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019, providing a detailed analysis of the driving forces behind the global economic growth. The report, a joint effort of UN DESA, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five UN Regional Commissions, with contributions from other UN agencies, is expected to issue a clarion call to safeguard and build on the multilateral policy framework. Our future – not only in economic terms – will depend on our ability to work together at this critical juncture.

Watch the launch live on 21 January: UN Web TV

For more information: World Economic Situation and Prospects