Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Second Committee, Outlines United Nations Coordinated Responses to Address Climate Change, Food Insecurity, Other Crises

5 October 2009

Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Second Committee, Outlines United Nations Coordinated Responses to Address Climate Change, Food Insecurity, Other Crises

5 October 2009
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks to Second Committee, Outlines United Nations


Coordinated Responses to Address Climate Change, Food Insecurity, Other Crises


Following are the remarks by UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro to the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, 5 October:

Before proceeding with my remarks, I would like to echo the Secretary-General’s condolences to the victims and bereaved families affected by the recent natural disaster in the South Pacific.  My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of great need.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is deploying an emergency team to provide assistance as required.

I congratulate the Chairperson and other members of the Bureau on their election to this important Committee.  The United Nations needs your guidance as we strive to coordinate effective responses to the major challenges of our day.

The world economy is finally stabilizing ‑‑ but the recovery process is brittle.  Unemployment is still high around the world.  The prospects for a dramatic improvement are bleak.  An additional 100 million people could fall into poverty by the end of this year.

The world as a whole is dealing with the financial crisis, but some countries are still struggling just to feed their populations.  The spread of the H1N1 virus, which has already been identified in 180 countries, could turn into a severe pandemic.

Climate change remains one of the most pressing challenges of our time.  The summit meeting here last month signalled the world’s determination to address it.

Developed countries acknowledged that they must lead and take radical measures to reduce their emissions.  They also expressed readiness to provide financial and technological support to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation.

Developing countries already have ambitious plans for renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.

The most encouraging commitment world leaders made at the summit was to work towards an ambitious, effective and fair deal in Copenhagen.

The G-20 [Group of 20] leaders have taken decisions that have played a significant role in mitigating the effects of the global economic and financial crisis.  I welcome this.

At the same time, a more inclusive decision-making process will be critical to ensuring effective implementation and a fair and balanced regulatory framework; hence the need to institutionalize the collaboration between the G-20 and the United Nations.

The United Nations system, for its part, has mobilized to carry out coordinated responses to the various crises through nine joint initiatives.

First, the UN system is providing additional assistance to those who have been hardest-hit by the economic crisis.  We are bringing together funding and operational capacities to develop a concrete approach tailored to each country’s needs.

Second, our Food Security Initiative, led by the Secretary-General’s High-level Task Force on Food Security, sets out the concrete outcomes required to address the global food crisis and introduce greater food and nutrition security.  We are carrying this out within the broader framework of the right to food.

Third, the United Nations Trade Initiative works to counter protectionism, advance the conclusion of the Doha Round, and promote transparency and the sharing of best practices on trade finance markets.

Fourth, the Green Economy Initiative aims to demonstrate that investing in green sectors improves chances for recovery and sustainable growth while preserving the environment.  The Initiative also aims to identify the necessary policy and institutional framework to support green economic growth in all countries.

Fifth, the Global Jobs Pact aims to focus the attention of decision makers on employment and decent work as the foundation for long-term recovery.  It provides them with a range of crisis-response measures.

Sixth, the United Nations is supporting countries in reviewing how they handle social transfers and how they develop social protection floors.

Seventh, the Humanitarian Security and Social Stability Initiative helps decision makers take a holistic and concerted approach to these issues.

Eighth, the Technology and Innovation Initiative works to promote technological innovation, investment incentives and strong legal frameworks.

Finally, the Secretary-General is working to mobilize and share information that will help us all respond better to the economic and financial crisis.  To this end, he has launched the Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System, or GIVAS, which gives voice to the poor and most vulnerable.  In addition, we have set up an Integrated Monitoring and Analytical System for Crisis Response, and the monitoring of economic and financial policies ‑‑ IMF Surveillance.  We must also continue our work on the legal empowerment of the poor.

Furthermore, the United Nations system is strengthening coherence.  We need better governance, improved funding and, above all, greater results.  We need to foster a culture of evaluation, reform and simplification.  We must better respond to the needs of programme countries.  We must help the world’s women and enhance their role in development.  On 14 September, the General Assembly adopted an important resolution that should improve our performance in reaching these goals.  We look forward to working closely with Member States for its fullest implementation.

Your involvement is all the more important as we approach 2010’s United Nations high-level plenary meeting.  This will be a timely opportunity to revamp our efforts as we head toward 2015.

Let us press ahead together.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.