The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has called for an urgent, coherent and concerted collective response to deal with the global financial crisis.
Ban, delivering he Ninth Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture, said he was very worried development assistance will suffer and that investors might pull back from emerging markets. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was also present at the lecture.
“A slowdown in consumer spending could reduce demand for developing-country goods and commodities. We would see a spike in unemployment. Remittances could plummet. Poor countries might end up with even fewer resources for social spending,” he said.
“People who have striven so hard to rise out of poverty could fall back into destitution. Fear is widespread. We cannot know what twists and turns the crisis will take next.”
Ban stressed on the pressing need to address the systematic weakness at the root of the crisis. “We need to find institutional mechanisms that will help minimize the risk of both market and regulatory failures. Most immediately, the least developed countries, the poorest of the world’s poor – children, older persons and others – stand to suffer most.
We at the United Nations are determined to see that this does not happen,” he said.
We must not allow the crisis to become an excuse for deferring or backing away from our fight against climate change
According to him, pressures of the global financial crisisshould not make the world forget about climate change. “Some ask how we can afford to tackle climate change and invest in alternative energy and renewables. The better question is: Can we afford not to? Every day we do not act, the problem grows worse. Developing countries and small-island developing nations are already the first and hardest hit,” he said.
The Secretary-General said that all countries needed to be part of the solution. “All countries must contribute to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and adapting to the impacts that are already inevitable.”
Calling the India-UN partnership “indispensable”, Ban said, “You are our indispensable partner for peace and security. Indian peacekeepers are deployed across the world. You’re the largest contributor to our operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. India was the third biggest contributor to peacekeeping with more than 8700 personnel at work for peace.”
The United Nations, he said, needs India to be its our partner for political stability as well. “India is situated in a region still beset by a number of unresolved disputes. We see terrorism and ethnic strife. Trade has now opened across the dividing lines between India and Pakistan. Trucks from each country have delivered goods to the other. This latest breakthrough grew out of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari,” he added.