Globalisation 'must be reformed to achieve equality': UN body

AFP , Saturday 21 Apr 2012

UN Conference on Trade and Development calls for immediate fundamental reforms to the world's financial system in order to achieve social equity for the poor nations

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi (left) and General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser hold press conference (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

Globalisation must be reformed to achieve social equality for the poor nations in the wake of the world financial crisis, high-level speakers said Saturday at the opening of a UN trade conference.

"Globalisation must be inclusive ... Failure at this stage undermines the legitimacy of globalization," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said at the opening of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Qatar.

"Economic recovery (after the crisis) has been fragile at best ... Inequality has reached a new high," Ban said in a speech delivered on his behalf by his deputy, Asha-Rose Migiro.

Ban said protests in the Arab world, that have so far toppled four regimes, show that "the lack of economic equality and political freedom is not sustainable."

Globalisation has been frequently criticised as being favourable to the rich nations and corporations, especially in the United States and Europe.

Held under the theme "development-centred globalization: towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development," the UNCTAD meeting is attended by hundreds of delegates from mostly developing countries.

As a result of the ongoing impact of the global financial crisis, "200 million people remained unemployed," at present, said Ban who urged UNCTAD to examine the causes of the crisis to prevent it from happening again.

UNCTAD ministers will hold several roundtable debates on enhancing development, investment, global partnerships and addressing development challenges in the wake of widening income equality among nations.

Ruler of the host nation, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, said dealing with the global financial crisis "represents the biggest challenge facing globalisation."

"Fundamental reforms must be introduced to the world's financial system which triggered the crisis," in 2008, said Sheikh Hamad, who said that the crisis has started to affect economies of emerging countries like Brazil.

UNCTAD was created in 1964 as the focal point of the United Nations system responsible for trade and interrelated development issues. It makes policy recommendations on trade, finance, investment and technology.

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