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Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group completes six meetings

arton2597The Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to follow up on the issues contained in the Outcome of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development met in six meetings from April to June 2010 on subjects ranging from debt burden to improved financial regulation and supervision.

 

By its resolution 63/305 of 11 August 2009, the General Assembly established an ad hoc open-ended working group to follow up on the issues contained in the Outcome of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development. The President of the General Assembly appointed Ambassador Morten Wetland, Permanent Representative of Norway, and Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, Permanent Representative of Zambia, to serve as its Co-Chairs. During the meetings of the Group held on 11 September 2009 and 11 February 2010, Member States provided inputs on substantive and procedural issues. In addition, the Co-Chairs held informal consultations with all regional groups and key stakeholders on the work programme of the Group. Based on those consultations, the Co-Chairs organized a series of six substantive meetings of the Group from April to June 2010. The outcome of these meetings will be included in a report of the Working Group, to be presented by the Co-Chairs to the President of the 64th General Assembly.

12 April: “The impact of the crisis on debt sustainability of developing countries”

Overview: The co-chairs introduced the topic based on paragraphs 15, 33 and 34 of the Outcome Document. The presentations by the panellists focused on the joint World Bank/IMF debt sustainability framework (DSF) for low-income countries (LICs), identifying vulnerabilities in LICs and suggesting ways forward including sustainable borrowing and lending. A case study of Poland was presented to illustrate the policies adopted by that country to help keep it on a growth path. The discussion also covered the impact of the crisis on the debt difficulties of some middle-income countries. Some delegates called for a critical analysis of the DSF for both low and middle-income countries, as well as the international support needed for crisis prevention. Opinions varied between the proposal to establish a new framework and the call to reform the existing debt restructuring mechanisms.

23 April 2010: “Mobilization of additional resources to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable”

Overview: Mr. Wetland, Co-Chair, introduced the theme of the meeting, emphasizing stocktaking on paragraphs 19-31 of the Outcome Document of the Conference. He gave an overview of resource mobilization since the financial crisis, noting that the concerns about the decline in resource flows to the developing countries during the crisis did not fully materialize. In 2009, ODA from the OECD DAC countries increased in real terms, which was better than expected. Also, after a fall, FDI was rebounding. He underscored that one of the important issues was how to ensure meeting ODA commitments as well as improve its effectiveness. Another was how countries could mobilize other sources of financing for their development, from multilateral as well as private sources. The presentations by the panellists focused on seeking solutions to mitigating the impact of the crisis, particularly in Africa, and on what was needed to reach the MDGs. The discussion covered the issues in resource needs as well as exchange of ideas and proposals on a range of efforts to move forward in mobilizing the requisite resources.

See also:

30 April 2010: “Access to credit and concessionary finance; fiscal space for countercyclical policies; and the current global reserve system”

Overview: Mr. Wetland, Co-Chair, introduced the theme of the meeting, which was based in particular on paragraphs 12-14, 16-18 and 35-36 of the Outcome Document, with the focus on assessing new lending facilities from international financial institutions in response to the crisis, concessionary finance, the modernization of conditionalities and other issues related to global liquidity and financial stability, including the use of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and the current global reserve system. The presentations and discussion also addressed the extent to which developing countries had regained access to credit from private sources and the key obstacles they had faced at the national and international levels in seeking the fiscal space to enact countercyclical policies.

3 May 2010: “Improved financial regulation and supervision”

Overview: The meeting was based in particular on paragraphs 37-41 of the Outcome Document. The presentations and discussion focused on several questions suggested by the Co-Chairs on the current working relationship between members and non-members of key international standard-setting bodies in financial regulation and supervision, the relevance of new standards in these areas for developing countries and the role of the UN in facilitating information exchange among Member States in these matters.

26 May 2010: “Reform of the international financial and economic system, including voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions”

Overview: The main issues addressed at the meeting were based in particular on paragraphs 43-50 of the Outcome document. The Co-Chairs had offered a number of questions for discussion at the meeting: (1) the contribution of recent reform in the World Bank to a fair and equitable representation of developing countries and to enhanced transparency and responsiveness; (2) the principles that should underlie quota and voice reforms in the IMF; (3) how the Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) and the regional development banks helped developing countries weather the crisis; and (4) whether regional approaches need further attention. The two speakers, Mr. Amar Bhattacharya, Director of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G-24), and Mr. Yilmaz Akyuz, Special Economic Advisor, South Centre, gave presentations on the reform of the BWIs. It was followed by an interactive discussion among delegations.

See also:

  • Third World Network Briefing Paper 44 “Reform of the international financial architecture”
  • South Center Policy Brief 1 “The Role of the United Nations in Global Economic Governance"

2 & 4 June 2010: “Strengthening the role of the United Nations in Global Economic Governance”

Overview: The main issues addressed at the meeting were based in particular on paragraphs 1-2, 5-6, 11, 16, 32, 43 and 52 of the Outcome document. The Co- Chairs had offered the following questions for discussion: (1) the meaning of global economic governance; (2) which international economic challenges needed a regional response and which economic problems needed global solutions; (3) what had the economic crisis revealed about the role of the UN in global economic governance, its relation to emerging informal international structures and the fulfilment of its development mandate. Three panellists gave presentations on the topic of the meeting: Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme; Antonio de Lecea, Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs and Principal Advisor to the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Washington, D.C.; and Chrystia Freeland, Global Editor-at-large at Thomson Reuters. The presentations were followed by an interactive discussion among delegations. The Co-Chairs announced that a draft report of the Working Group would be completed by the end of June and finalized by the end of August to allow the PGA to disseminate the report for discussion before the start of the 65th session of the General Assembly.

Further information is available here.

 

This article is available in Spanish.

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