The United Nations hosted yesterday a high-level meeting of international
trade and finance officials to discuss measures to deal with policy challenges
and emerging issues in development finance.
Participants at the annual high-level meeting of the UN Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC) included senior officials from the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The officials came to the UN
meeting to consult with the ECOSOC following their weekend talks in Washington.
Addressing the opening session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spotlighted
the growing global food crisis, calling for both immediate and long-term
measures to tackle it.
"The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has
reached emergency proportions," he said, warning that the crisis could not only
push millions of people deeper into poverty but also have larger political and
"The international community will also need to take urgent and concerted
action in order to avert the larger political and security implications of this
growing crisis. The UN needs to examine ways to lead a process for the immediate
and longer-term responses to this global problem," he said.
Turning to the theme of meeting, Ban called for building consensus around
measures on development financing that would lead to more stable and predictable
long-term resource flows to developing countries.
ECOSOC President Leo Merores said that new initiatives on financing for
development could play a crucial role in increasing and complementing existing
official development assistance.
"In a true partnership for development, developed and developing countries
have come together to explore further innovative ways of financing for
development," Merores said, adding that the council could play an important role
in strengthening that international cooperation in the future.
Despite the progress already achieved, many middle-income countries continued
to face challenges to the alleviation of poverty and inequality, the improvement
of trade competitiveness and the building of solid infrastructures, Merores
added, urging greater international cooperation to help resolve those issues.
The high-level gathering focused on new and emerging issues, including
financing of climate change responses, sustainability of financial markets,
impact of trade on middle-income as well as least developed countries and -- in
a mid-term year for the Millennium Development Goals -- identifying and
mobilizing new resources for supporting development.
The meeting was held as a follow-up to the 2002 Financing for Development
summit held in Monterrey, Mexico, and as preparation for a major
inter-governmental development financing review which is to take place at the
end of this year in Doha.
The Conference on Financing for Development in Doha will assess progress made
in the areas of trade, aid, debt, international investment, domestic resources
and the architecture of the international financial system.