Development gains must not be lost amid current crises – Migiro

15 December 2008
UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today urged countries to work together to ensure that critical development gains are not lost at a time when the world’s people are facing multiple crises involving food, fuel and finance, all of which threaten global anti-poverty efforts.

“We should use every opportunity in 2009 to ensure that these trying times do not distract us from our commonly shared goals, particularly the goal of pursuing peace and prosperity for all,” Ms. Migiro told delegates during a General Assembly meeting on development.

She noted that today’s crises threaten efforts to reduce poverty and achieve other development targets, including those world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The financial crisis, in particular, is threatening to roll back gains in a number of other areas, especially if official development assistance (ODA) suffers as a result of the economic slowdown. “We know that people and countries plagued by poverty will be hit hardest by the crisis. This is why aid flows have to be sheltered from its impact,” she said.

The expected recessions in most developed economies are likely to slow the robust growth experienced by developing countries during the past five years. There is already evidence that the financial crisis is proving contagious, as exports from and remittance flows into many developing countries are diminishing.

While some important steps have been undertaken to strengthen international development cooperation, she noted that there is a growing fear of setbacks if the recessions in developed countries deepen.

Furthermore, the slow-down in developing countries is coming before many of them have had a chance to recover from the shocks of food and fuel price hikes of 2007 and 2008. The prospects for the least developed countries are deteriorating rapidly.

“The financial crisis has made it clear that our destinies are deeply interconnected,” stated Ms. Migiro. “We have to work together to ensure that our gains are not lost.”

The Deputy Secretary-General stressed that in times of crisis, global solidarity is vital, and recalled the political will and pledges of support displayed at September’s high-level event on the MDGs.

At the 25 September meeting, governments, foundations, businesses and civil society groups rallied around Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to action by announcing an estimated $16 billion in new commitments to meet the MDGs.


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