World’s poor should not have to bear brunt of financial crisis – Assembly President

12 February 2009

Countries must work together in the face of the worst global economic crisis in decades to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable – who are the least responsible for the meltdown – do not bear the brunt of the turmoil, the President of the General Assembly said today.

“Our first and overriding task must be to solve this problem by mobilizing the financial resources needed to avert a human catastrophe,” Miguel d’Escoto told an informal meeting of the Assembly convened to discuss the holding of United Nations conference to tackle the financial crisis and its impact on development.

“This task will require immense focus, flexibility on the part of all stakeholders, a shared sense of overwhelming urgency, and a commitment to using every resource – economic and political, moral and religious – to find our way forward,” he told Member States.

The Assembly President has been tasked with organizing the conference, which was called for by participants at a financing for development meeting held in Qatar late last year. Among the issues that need to be decided by March are the dates for the conference and whether there should be an outcome document.

“This body has a unique role to play in leading and facilitating a coordinated global effort that will not let the most vulnerable among us – who are, after all, least responsible for the crisis – bear the brunt of its impact,” said Mr. d’Escoto.

The Assembly President said he believes the current global economic situation is the result of a “deep systematic crisis, and of a deeper moral and ethical failure.”

It may not be possible to address all the underlying failures right away, he noted.

“We cannot create a new architecture for our vast global economic, financial, and trading system by June,” he said, referring to the possible timeframe for the holding of the conference. “We can point out some of the most important weaknesses, and begin to identify the priorities, the direction and the process that reconstruction must take.”

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