Economic crisis could trigger political instability, social unrest, warns Ban

25 March 2009

As the economic crisis engulfing the world continues to intensify, it could potentially herald political instability and social unrest, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling for a four-pronged strategy to prevent the onset of new catastrophes.

The financial turmoil cannot roll back gains made towards achieving the global anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Mr. Ban told reporters in New York, following a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ahead of the so-called Group of 20 (G-20) meeting next week in London.

“Social recovery will take much longer than economic recovery,” he said. “A child taken out of school today will bear the consequences for the rest of his or her life.”

The Secretary-General said he outlined a four-point proposal for the G-20 nations – which he has also relayed in a letter to their leaders – during his talks with Mr. Brown.

Firstly, in addition to their own stimulus packages, G-20 nations should commit to support a global stimulus plan, which must be “of a very substantial size, commensurate with the challenge,” Mr. Ban said. This package must include assistance for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, long-term public lending from development banks and cash aid to both least-developed and middle-income developing countries.

He also stressed the need to firmly reject protectionism and revive the Doha round of trade liberalization negotiations to allow real benefits to reach developing nations.

Another element of his plan is the ‘greening’ of the global economy, including in poorer countries, with G-20 leaders committing to conclude negotiations and reach agreement on an ambitious successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012, in Copenhagen this December.

Lastly, the Secretary-General highlighted the importance of reforming “global rules and institutions so that they reflect today’s economic and political landscape.”

He voiced hope that the upcoming G-20 “Summit for Stability, Growth and Jobs” can send a “signal of solidarity and hope to all peoples and countries of the world.”

The 2 April gathering in London will be one of several stops on a nearly two-week trip that will also take Mr. Ban to Russia, Qatar, the Netherlands, France and Turkey.

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