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General Assembly, in special debate, aims to boost interaction between UN and G20

A wide view of the General Assembly Hall.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
A wide view of the General Assembly Hall.

General Assembly, in special debate, aims to boost interaction between UN and G20

The United Nations General Assembly today is holding a thematic debate with the Group of 20 major economies, or G20, to strengthen interaction between the two bodies and to improve global economic governance.

“Since the outbreak of the world economic, financial and debt crisis, the ongoing discussions about how to improve global economic governance have grown in significance, drawing increased public attention across the planet,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said in his opening address to the thematic debate, ‘UN and Global Economic Governance.’

Mr. Jeremic noted that the UN General Assembly is the only global forum with universal membership and the only one to give equal voice to all members.

“The General Assembly should become a venue for enhanced interaction between international financial and trade institutions, the G20 and non-G20 Member States, by providing a platform to reflect on common concerns, as well as exchange views and share information,” he stressed.

In his speech, Mr. Jeremic outlined some ways to better formalize ad hoc practices to boost relations between the General Assembly and the G20, whose presidency is held this year by the Russian Federation.

These steps include inviting Secretary-General Ban to attend G20 summits, inviting the UN’ participant in G20 meetings, known as a Sherpa, to participate in preparatory meetings, and to hold more open briefings to the Member States with participation of the Secretary-General and the UN Sherpa before and after G20 summits.

The one-day debate takes place just ahead of the spring meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors set for 18-19 April in Washington DC.

The debate also takes place during the 1,000 day countdown to the 2015 deadline for the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the shaping of the post-2015 agenda.

Also addressing the General Assembly, Deputy-Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted the importance of supporting effective and fair global economic governance, particularly from the UN perspective, for development issues now and post 2015.

“I would also hope to see continued emphasis by the G20 on financing for development, not least by ensuring that Official Development Assistance is not reduced,” Mr. Eliasson said, reiterating the UN’s call for the 0.7 per cent of donor country’s gross product be devoted to Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“Development needs to be fully integrated into global economic governance. This is vital if we are to shape a dynamic and effective post-2015 development agenda and to build an economic governance system universally accepted,” he stressed.

He added that to amplify the MDG successes and to bridge the gaps in the post-2015 agenda requires “an inclusive consultative process, involving Member States, the UN system, Bretton-Woods institutions, civil society, the private sector, academia and the scientific community.”

Today’s debate includes one panel discussion on lessons learned in global economic crisis-management, and another on ways to further a more integrated, integrated, coordinated and inclusive approach to economic and financial challenges.