Brown, Ban call for international efforts to boost economy

January 30th, 2009 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownDavos, Jan 30 (DPA) Coordinated international efforts will be needed to lead the world out of the current economic crisis, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Friday, urging countries to maintain aid levels to the poor.Brown said countries needed to “come together as one” and take steps like those he introduced in Britain, including capital injections and the introduction of stimulus packages.

Ahead of an April Group of 20 industrialised countries (G20) meeting in London, Brown also said that, if needed, central banks could lend directly to companies who cannot get loans owing to the credit crunch.

“The resumption of lending to the real economy” was key to recovery, he said at the World Economic Forums’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“Protectionism in the end protects nobody, least of all the poor,” the prime minister said, warning against “deglobalisation”.

“There is no solution in abandoning globalisation,” Brown emphasized, but said it needed to be better managed.

“Globalisation has lifted many people out of poverty, but not enough,” Ban said, calling for “international coordinated measures” in which the UN could play a role.

The G20 meeting was expected to focus mostly on the world economy, but Brown said climate change and poverty would also be on the agenda.

Brown said the global financial system required changes, including an early warning system for risks, reforms and clearer responsibilities and accountabilities from financial institutions and an agreement on international standards for transparency.

For his part, the UN chief welcomed stimulus packages in industrialised nations, but urged them to “put aside a portion for your less fortunate neighbours. Do not overlook them.”

“The well-being of our neighbours is our own well-being,” said Ban.

He said efforts to fight diseases like polio and malaria in the developing world were bearing fruit, but required more donations from the richest nations.

Meanwhile, Bill and Melinda Gates announced a $34-million grant to help fight so-called “neglected tropical diseases”.

They also called on countries and corporations to continue to be generous in their foreign assistance commitments, in spite of the economic downturn.

“Simply put, aid works,” said Melinda Gates, adding that improving health care and fighting diseases led to increased economic output in poorer countries.

“Aid has been a huge success,” echoed Bill, supporting a tier-pricing system, in which drug companies only charge poorer nations for the cost of medicines, instead making their profits in the industrialised world.

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