UN members OK resolution on global response to economic crisis

Published by rudy Date posted on June 28, 2009

UNITED NATIONS – More than 140 countries agreed Friday on a blueprint for a global response to the world’s worst economic crisis in 70 years, which gives the UN a new role in representing hard-hit developing countries but leaves some demands by rich and poor countries unmet.

Near the end of a three-day financial summit, General Assembly president Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann asked members to approve a resolution adopting the 15-page document. When there were no objections, he banged his gavel, approving the final document by consensus.

While the document is not legally binding, it makes clear that a solution to the economic crisis cannot be left just to the Group of Eight major industrialized nations or the Group of 20 key countries that account for over 80 percent of the global economy.

It must include the views of all 192 UN member-states, especially developing nations, which have been impacted more severely than the developed countries that are mainly to blame for the crisis.

The final document called the conference “a milestone” in engaging all U.N. member states to address the economic crisis.

“Today, we have set forth our global consensus on the responses to this crisis, prioritized required actions and defined a clear role for the United Nations,” it said.

The document paints a depressing picture of the current state of the world economy: millions of people losing jobs, savings and their homes; more than 50 million additional people driven into extreme poverty, and the prospect of over one billion hungry and undernourished people, a historic high.

The summit was delayed from early to late June in hopes of getting a larger turnout of world leaders, but of the 14 heads of state and government scheduled to attend, the two biggest names – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales – didn’t show up.

And there was not a single head of state or government from the developed world.

Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazee complained on Friday that he was delivering the speech of First Vice President Parviz Davoodi since entry visas for him and his delegation “were not issued by the host country,” the United States.

While the final document is short on specifics, it states that “the world is confronted with the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression” of the 1930s.

In order to respond to the crisis, it said, “developing countries will need a larger share of any additional resources – both short-term liquidity and long-term development financing.” And it calls for an examination of ways to ensure that adequate resources are provided, especially to the least developed countries.

The document notes that the G20 at its London summit in April agreed to make available an additional $1.1 trillion to revitalize the world economy, but only $50 billion was targeted to low-income countries.

“We call on the G20 to further consider addressing the financial needs of developing countries, especially low-income countries,” the document said, without making any specific recommendations.

It calls for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international lending institutions to be flexible in imposing conditions on developing countries so that they can take action to deal with the economic crisis, including adopting stimulus packages.

The document also calls for measures to avoid a new debt crisis and new approaches to restructuring debt.

It urges further study of the feasibility and advisability of reforming the current global reserve system, now based on the U.S. dollar, “to overcome its insufficiencies.”

As for reforms, it recognizes “the critical need for expanding the scope of regulation and supervision and making it more effective, with respect to all major financial centers, instruments and actors, including financial institutions, credit rating agencies and hedge funds.”

It also recognizes “the need for tighter and more coordinated regulation of incentives, derivatives and the trading of standardized contracts.”

The draft calls on the General Assembly to establish a working group to follow up on the issues in the document and report to its next session, which starts in September. – AP

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