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UN conference on financial crisis this week

The United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development takes place this week from Wednesday June 24 to Friday June 26.

This past Saturday, UN president Miguel d’Escoto addressed the ‘People’s Voices on the Crisis’, a civil society event in New York preceeding the UN conference.

Highlights from his speech include:

1. “This Conference is about bringing the discussion about economic reforms to the United Nations. We must ensure that the countries most affected by the crisis have a real voice in solving this global crisis. We have had summits of the G8 and the G20 and other ad hoc groups. Now let us give the G192 its opportunity to express its concerns and needs and concrete recommendations.”

2. “This Conference should be seen as an opportunity to initiate a global conversation about global economic governance and ways to make our international institutions more representative and inclusive, now and in the decades to come.”

3. “Despite the growing need for major changes, many Member States, particularly those in the North, increasingly resist reforms of the IMF and the World Bank, hoping that things will return to business as usual. And they have also made it very clear that they do not want a serious global conversation to take place at the United Nations.”

4. “Business and many governments have lost the sense of commitment to the wellbeing of the people. The business of business is business, we are told. But the current crisis provides us with the opportunity to inject a new spirit of responsibility and solidarity with our less fortunate Sisters and Brothers. It is a chance to insert morality and codes of ethics that temper the selfishness and recklessness that have characterized the excesses of recent decades.”

5. “I would have liked to end here on what may be called an optimist note.
But I am a man of hope, not an optimist. Optimism is only cheap hope. As people of hope we do believe, indeed, that another world is possible and we commit our lives to its achievement. Fully knowing that the road will be bumpy and uncomfortable and that the time of harvesting the fruits of our labors might belong to others.”

Additionally, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is in England this week and notes that the Guardian reports today, “The world’s poorest countries will see $1 trillion (£600bn) drain from their economies this year according to the first detailed analysis of how the global recession is hitting developing nations. Figures published today by the World Bank show the financial crisis taking a heavy toll, with the flow of money into the developing world halving this year after heavy losses in 2008.”

The Council of Canadians believes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Trade Minister Stockwell Day should attend the G-192 conference this week.

But rather than mistakenly continuing to promote free trade as the answer to this global economic recession, they should support the G-192 draft declaration and actions that will address unemployment, poverty and hunger both around the world and here in Canada.

To respond to our ‘ACTION ALERT: Demand that Harper attend UN global economic crisis conference’ please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=607.

You can read more about the conference on the UN president’s website at http://www.un.org/ga/econcrisissummit/.

The article in the Guardian is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jun/22/world-bank-international-capital-recession.