Global Financial Crisis Puts Success of MDGs At Risk, U.N. Head Says
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday said he is concerned about the effects that the current global financial crisis will have on impoverished nations and efforts to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals -- which include targets to curb the spread of diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria -- AFP/The International News reports. Ban said he is "deeply concerned" about the impact of the financial crisis on the developing world, "particularly on the poorest of the poor and the serious setback this is likely to have on efforts to meet major goals." He also said there is a need to "consider urgent multilateral action to alleviate the impact of recent events on the development agenda" of the United Nations.
According to Ban, next month's Financing for Development Conference -- organized by the World Trade Organization in Doha, Qatar -- "provides us an important opportunity to review developments and the ensure that the current financial difficulties do not undermine commitments already undertaken to provide more aid and other financial resources for the achievement" of the MDGs. In addition, because the global financial crisis could add pressure to donor organizations, the World Bank estimates that as many as 100 million people are at risk of poverty because of higher food and energy prices (AFP/The International News, 10/14).
In related news, the Group of 24 developing nations -- which includes developing and emerging countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East -- on Friday said that they could be affected by the current financial situation, adding that wealthy nations are not meeting aid pledges. "Developed countries have the means to deal with the problem, but we who are developing countries, or emerging countries, could collapse under the weight of such a crisis," G24 chair Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, governor of the central bank of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said, adding, "Our banking systems could come really crashing down." According to Mulongo, the U.S. developed a $700 billion financial rescue package in one week but could not meet pledges made in 2005 to increase aid. "We heard promises being made for development and to help countries in trouble," he said, adding, "These promises have not been respected in the face of an international crisis, which may spread very quickly, become systemic, with the risk of the international, whole world economy falling apart, or collapsing."
The G24 includes Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Gabon, India, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. China is a G24 observer (Wroughton, Reuters, 10/10).