The United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development will take place in New York this week. From June 24-26th senior officials and leaders will meet to address the deep impact on development as well as the ongoing international discussion on reforming and strengthening the international financial economic system and architecture. Nuria Molina from Eurodad an many others from our member organisations will be attending the conference.
The government representation at the conference is so far disappointing. Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, is one of the few heads of state attending, joined by 19 other presidents, vice presidents and prime ministers as well as 31 ministers. Eurodad member Jubilee Debt Campaign has condemned the decision of UK prime minister to attend the G8 summit, but not the UN one. Coordinator Nick Dearden said: “the Prime Minister and other western leaders need to start listening to the majority of the world. It’s surely become apparent over the last 12 months that the rich don’t have the answers. If we need to clean up politics in the UK, it’s needed even more internationally, where the rule of the richest is still taken for granted.”
A Commission of Experts appointed by UN General Assembly President d’Escoto and chaired by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has provided recommendations on international financial structures and practices as part of broad-based inputs into the preparations for the Conference. Yet d’Escoto has been subjected to an aggressive briefing campaign by diplomats from major powers who seem keen to derail the UN summit. Some of them have told Reuters that they consider the meeting “a waste of time” and that the real action is with the G20. Smaller governments, and civil society organisations, are making the case that trying to find inclusive solutions in exclusive governmental clubs is in fact more likely to fail than a UN process, however hard it may be to reach full consensus.
Civil society representatives have been taking action worldwide to make clear that whatever policy and reforms are applied, the great majority of nations need to make their voices be heard on the matter, and we must go beyond the tendency for important global decisions being taken by a group of few countries gathering in the G20 and G8.
Strong mobilisations promoted by civil society groups, joint actions and conferences are taking place around the meeting, and across the world. Western nations governments may be changing the positions they backed up at Doha undermining the meeting by sending low-key representatives to attend. Thus, civil society pressure on government officials and public opinion is vital to achieve new political approaches and decisions, for a better humanity.
At the same time the United Nations Development Programme is promoting an on-line conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development
. The first phase of the discussion continues till 26 June 2009. It focuses on issues of the global economic governance and the role of UN and other multilateral institutions. Its key questions include: “how is the international system (i.e. the UN and other multilateral institutions) responding to the current financial and economic crisis? What is the impact of these responses, in your country, as well as at regional and global levels? Are these responses sufficient both in addressing the current situation, and in preparing the system itself for the future? What are the critical gaps (if any) that remain?” It also asks how can the system of global economic governance be best strengthened for the future?
These are the crucial questions, which it is not yet certain that the UN conference in New York will be able to answer. Eurodad will report on the negotiations and outcomes later this week.
Europeans not keen on far-reaching reforms at the UN conference (Eurodad News Article)
UN crisis conference postponed, outcome may lead to institutional reforms (Eurodad News Article)
Social Watch: Ten days of action (Comprehensive CSO events list and articles)
United Nations Conference (Official website)
People’s Voices Press Release (parallel event)