TWN Info Service on Finance and Development (Feb09/01)
6 February 2009
Third World Network

General Assembly President proposes high-level meet on 26-29 May
Published in SUNS #6631 dated 3 February 2009

Geneva, 2 Feb (Kanaga Raja) -- The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, has proposed the dates of 26-29 May 2009 for a high-level conference on the global financial and economic crisis and its impacts on development.

The proposal for the high-level meeting, to take place at the UN headquarters in New York, is in line with a General Assembly resolution (63/239) adopted on 24 December 2008 that endorsed the Doha Declaration.

The Doha Declaration stated that the United Nations will hold a conference on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development. The Declaration further stated that the conference will be organized by the President of the General Assembly and the modalities will be defined by March 2009 at the latest.

In a letter to all 192 Members of the UN General Assembly, the Assembly President said: "In view of the worsening world financial situation and its impact on the real economy everywhere, I look forward to working closely with you to give a strong signal on the important role the General Assembly can play to address some of the critical challenges raised by the crisis."

The initiative of the General Assembly President can be seen as an attempt by member states, especially developing countries, to provide the UN with a more prominent role in discussing and contributing to solutions to the global financial and economic crisis, and especially in giving focus to development concerns and the interests of developing countries.

Up to now, the main forum for discussing responses to the crisis has been the G20, which held its inaugural summit in Washington last November and which will hold its second Summit in London in early April.

Only about twenty developed and developing economies are involved in the G20 process. Most developing countries are not invited to be part of this process and the leaders of some of these countries have complained at being left out. The UN General Assembly meeting would be an alternative forum in which all UN members can participate in discussing the global economic crisis and the measures required to tackle it.

The letter by the President of the General Assembly also included a draft resolution containing the proposed organization of the conference. Also attached is a schedule of related meetings between January and September 2009 aimed at helping in the preparatory process for the conference and its outcome.

The General Assembly President also announced his intention to hold as early as possible in February an informal consultation of the plenary on the draft resolution to hear views from Members.

The draft resolution on "Organization of the Conference on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impacts on Development" expresses concern that the Millennium Development Goals and other international commitments adopted at UN international conferences may not be met by their respective target dates, and may be fundamentally compromised, if the current crisis is not overcome through timely and effective action.

The draft resolution proposes that the conference be convened from 26 to 29 May 2009, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It also proposes that the conference be held at the highest possible political level, including with the participation of Heads of State and Government, ministers, special representatives and other representatives, and that it be chaired by the President of the General Assembly.

The draft resolution proposes that the conference will consist of:

-- a short meeting on 26 May, with statements by the President of the conference and the Secretary-General;

-- four interactive multi-stakeholder round-tables on 26 and 27 May, based on the major issues relating to the financial and economic crisis and its impacts on development;

-- a high-level segment on 28 and 29 May, consisting of plenary meetings at the level of Head of State and Head of Government or their designated representatives at Ministerial and above level;

-- negotiating and drafting session at the Ministerial or highest possible level on 26 and 27 May and thereafter during the Conference.

According to the draft resolution, the conference will result in an inter-governmentally agreed outcome document, as well as result in summaries of the plenary meetings and of the round-table discussions, to be included in the report of the conference. +