Friday, January 23, 2009

UN chief expects G-77, China to play bigger role in fighting economic crisis

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Friday that he expects the Group of 77 (G-77) and China to "play a strong and constructive role" as the world at large is dealing with the global financial crisis, the climate change, and global health.

Ban, who was addressing the G-77 chairmanship hand-over ceremony, said "I will be counting on the Group of 77 and China to play a strong and constructive role, and I am keen to work closely with you."

"The crises that erupted last year highlighted the interdependence of economies and countries," he said. "They also showed that the United Nations and its multilateral framework are indispensable," he said.

"As we move into 2009, these global challenges remain. They threaten to undo the progress made toward the development goals in the last decade," he said.

"We are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," he said. "Most developed economies have entered recession. The strong growth rates enjoyed by developing countries from 2002 to 2007 will soon be distant memories. Prospects for the least developed countries are particularly worrying."

"Governments have taken unprecedented action to mitigate the crisis -- at home and internationally," he said. "But much more is needed to reverse the downward spiral. The fiscal stimulus packages under consideration in many larger economies must be suitably sized and well-coordinated internationally to be effective."

"The United Nations will continue to support efforts to correct the global financial system and safeguard development gains, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable," he said.

"The broken international financial system must also be fixed to avoid a recurrence of today's problems," he said. "The December2008 Doha Declaration on Financing for Development stressed the need for such reforms."

"We are already making preparations for the United Nations conference on the impact of the global economic crisis on development mandated by the Doha Declaration," he said. "I urge your governments to participate at the highest possible level."

"Slow progress toward the development goals related to health remains a major concern," he said. "In many areas of the world, health systems are stretched to the limit or broken. In many countries, prospects for meeting the most basic goals related to maternal health, child mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases are low."

"As populations age and non-communicable ailments such as diabetes and heart become more prevalent, ensuring health care for all will grow more and more challenging," he said.

Sudan takes over the G-77 chairmanship from Antigua an Barbuda on Friday.

G-77 is an international organization established in 1967 to promote economic cooperation and greater influence in world affairs among developing countries. Originally consisting of 77 countries, the organization had 133 member states in 1998, primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


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