Insulate poor from financial crisis, Ban tells world leaders

November 12th, 2008 - 10:28 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghUnited Nations, Nov 12 (IANS) As world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, prepare to meet in Washington this week to discuss the global economic crisis and find a solution to it, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said their focus should be on making sure that its impact is not felt by poor and vulnerable people.Ban would be attending the summit of G20 countries, convened by US President George Bush Saturday, to discuss the global financial crisis that has resulted in thousands of people becoming jobless overnight, companies going bankrupt and markets plummeting to a record low.

“We must do everything we can to alleviate the impact of the crisis on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. This is clearly a question of will,” Ban told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York Tuesday.

“The sums being spent to mitigate the crisis are already vastly more than the amounts allocated for ODA (official development assistance),” Ban observed.

The UN secretary general emphasized that there is need to address the systematic roots of the crisis, instead of trying to find a stop gap arrangement.

Ban said that at this point of time he is more concerned about the plight of the most vulnerable developing countries.

“My focus (at this summit) will be more on how to insulate the interest and well-being of developing countries from the financial crisis impact. That is more important at this time,” he said.

“The crisis is also an opportunity to address climate change. At a time of growing economic hardship, green growth can create millions of jobs,” Ban said, indicating the three main points he is planning to raise during the meeting of the world leaders in Washington later this week.

“I will be carrying the same messages to the Financing for Development conference that opens later this month in Doha. People around the world will be looking for a signal that aid will flow and that opportunities will grow,” he said.

Responding to a question on reforms of the Bretton Woods institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Ban said he believes that in the course of discussing the reform of these institutions, the process should be done in an inclusive multilateralism.

“That is the basic principle,” he argued.

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