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North-South leaders to meet at UN to set globalization talks on path to dialogue

North-South leaders to meet at UN to set globalization talks on path to dialogue

In the most significant attempt yet to shift international debate on globalization from confrontation to dialogue, world leaders from north and south will meet Monday at United Nations Headquarters in New York to launch a new global discussion on the vital role of fairness in ensuring peace, prosperity and security for all.

The meeting, on the eve of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s annual general debate to be attended by some 100 Heads of State or government, comes just a year after the collapse of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Cancun, Mexico, where African nations walked in protest at the refusal of developed countries to open up their agricultural markets by eliminating subsidies and other barriers.

Monday’s meeting will be hosted by Presidents Tarja Halonen of Finland and Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania, who co-chaired the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, and will be moderated by the Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavia.

The event will seek to press upon the international community that, as poverty, social conflict and insecurity are rising worldwide, global efforts under the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals to address these issues by 2015 will fail unless new ways are found to create job opportunities and decent work for all through building a fair and inclusive globalization.

The Declaration and Development Goals, adopted by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, seek to rehabilitate the world's social fabric, from slashing extreme poverty and hunger to curbing infant mortality and major diseases to improving access to education and health care for all – all by 2015.

Perspectives on the social dimension of globalization will be provided by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Presidents Jacques Chirac of France and Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and Foreign Minister Jean Ping of Gabon, President of the 59th session of the General Assembly.

The meeting will urge the 191-member UN to begin discussions on the need for “A Fair Globalization: Implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration” for the first time.

The findings of the Halonen-Mkapa Commission highlight fair globalization as essential for global prosperity, peace and security and see a strengthened UN multilateral system as the instrument for bringing about the necessary reforms and ensuring coherence between international, economic, social and environmental policies.