Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"After the G20: UN chiefs point the way to recovery"

Meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on the weekend of 4 and 5 April, the Chief Executives of 28 UN bodies issued a joint communiqué on the economic crisis.
The social effects of the crisis are already disturbing and could worsen. If action is not taken urgently, it can be devastating for the most vulnerable and voiceless, with growing social insecurity and displacement of people. The achievement of the MDGs is at stake. Progress in reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries is being set back. The 850 million people already suffering from chronic hunger in 2006 will increase to around one billion in 2009. The middle class in many countries is being weakened. The vulnerable groups, children, women, youth, elderly, migrants and people with disabilities, are hit the strongest.

Even before the onset of the current financial crisis, significant challenges existed in terms of food, education, health, water and sanitation, housing and minimum welfare for the most needy. Poverty and deprivation define the lives of too many.
The communiqué defined a set of joint initiatives:
1. Additional financing for the most vulnerable: advocating and devising a joint World Bank - UN system mechanism for the common articulation and implementation of additional financing, including through the World Bank proposed Vulnerability Fund.
2. Food Security: strengthening programmes to feed the hungry and expanding support to farmers in developing countries.
3. Trade: fighting protectionism, including through the conclusion of the Doha round and strengthening aid for trade initiatives and finance for trade.
4. A Green Economy Initiative: promoting investment in long-term environmental sustainability and put the world on the climate-friendly path.
5. A Global Jobs Pact: boosting employment, production, investment and aggregate demand, and promoting decent work for all.
6. A Social Protection Floor: ensuring access to basic social services, shelter, and empowerment and protection of the poor and vulnerable.
7. Humanitarian, Security and Social Stability: Emergency action to protect lives and livelihoods, meeting hunger and humanitarian needs, protecting displaced people and shoring up security and social stability.
8. Technology and Innovation: developing technological infrastructure to facilitate the promotion and access to innovation.
9. Monitoring and Analysis:
• strengthening macroeconomic and financial surveillance and implementing an effective economic early warning system;
• Urgently establish a UN system-wide vulnerability monitoring and alert mechanism to track developments, and report on the political, economic, social and environmental dimensions of the crisis.

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