By Abimbola Akosile
United Nations senior officials have stressed the importance of establishing a new paradigm for growth that ensures social inclusiveness, job opportunities for all, and more accountability from the financial sector to tackle the ongoing global economic crisis.
“It is time to recognise that human capital and natural capital are every bit as important as financial capital,” said Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his remarks to the recent General Assembly’s high-level thematic debate on The State of the World Economy and Finance and its Impact on Development, which took place at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Let us face the facts: the old model is broken. We need to create a new one – a new model for dynamic growth,” Ki-moon, one of the meeting’s co-chairs, said. “A new paradigm based on stable economies and decent jobs and opportunities for all.”
Noting that since the financial economic crisis began, millions of people have lost jobs and income, he stressed that governments must not only address this job loss but also actively seek to create new income sources over the next years.
“Worldwide, more than 400 million new jobs will be needed over the next decade. That means that policy-makers must get serious, now, about generating decent employment,” he said.
Ki-moon emphasised the key role that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) can play in brining countries together to come up with a coordinated approach to set up goals for the future regarding the economy.
“Growth that is equitable, growth that can be sustained within planetary boundaries, growth that will benefit current and future generations – this is the focus of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development next month in Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
He added that, “At Rio, we need to agree on a process to establish Sustainable Development Goals that build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 – sustainable development goals that will lay the foundation for dynamic economic growth, respect for the planet and social equity.”
There are a total of eight MDGs, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. They form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions and have galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.
In his remarks to the meeting, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the debate’s other co-chair, said that a coordinated approach would need to give developing countries a greater role in decision-making and give priority to helping the most vulnerable sectors of society, who are also the ones that have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis.
“Our overarching priority must be to implement an effective and globally coordinated policy that serves to place the world economy on the path of sustained growth and development,” Al-Nasser said. “This conference provides a timely opportunity to address these issues in an inclusive, candid and responsible manner.”
Following the opening of the event, attendees of the debate broke out into four thematic roundtable discussions focusing on various issues, such as youth unemployment, social protection, debt sustainability, trade and investment, and accountability of the financial system.
Among the keynote speakers at the event were the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; the Nobel Prize Laureate and President of Columbia University, Joseph Stiglitz; and Paul Volcker, the former head of the United States Federal Reserve.