Friday, June 26, 2009

Day Two of UN Session: Ecuador President Speaks




Thursday's UN sessions on the financial and economic crisis continued in a few venues. Under the guidance of President Miguel d'Escoto, the General Assembly continued the procession of nation's responding to his call.

At a special morning roundtable, "coordinated and collaborative actions and appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on development" various speakers presented.

Martin Khor spoke from a group home based in Geneva whose mission is to focus on developing countries, South Centre. Khor is the executive Director. The full house heard a very sharp proposal that the UN play a central role in the next phase of recovery and stabilization. He endorsed the prevailing position that the crisis was not of "our" making; yet are suffering the most. He fingered, as none had before, Wall Street and the U.S., as the culprits. In another repeat, he also said that the few "green shoots" in the U.S. means nothing to the rest of the world. Secretary-General of UN Ban Ki-Moon said that earlier.

This is the fear that as improvement starts, may start, in the developed world, the G8, there won't been a need for worldwide action.

Khor said that any help given to the developing nations cannot be credit driven. We don't need to go into further debt.

He said that the G8 or G20 is not the solution; it is the UN with its 192 nations. There is a crisis in credibility that has to be overcome.

Speakers from the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Supachai Panitchpakdi; and, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific, Noeleen Heyzer, both repeated the theme that the developing nations did not create this crisis; but they are feeling it the worst.

Also, each of the speakers, as did almost every other speaker, pointed to the crises in Food, Energy and Jobs that were taking place before the general economic and financial crisis hit.

Robert Johnson, a member of the Stiglitz Expert Commission, sounded a particularly almost ridiculous tone when appealed for compassion from other countries for the crisis in the U.S., the developed countries. He cited the crisis in Michigan and its high unemployment rate. He said that he has heard such comments as "Just rewards" and similar vengeance comments at the U.S. as pleading for some compassion.

But, he did end with saying that the full UN, the G192, must be part of the solution, even though they were not part of the problem.

Needless to say, most speakers said the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals MDGs set by the UN under Kofi Anan, were in deep jeopardy.

President Rafael Correa Delgado

In another special session held in the prestigious ECOSOC Chambers, the Economic and Social Council, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa spoke before a full house. The session was sponsored by "Our World is Not for Sale" Alianza Social Continental; Friends of the Earth International; Jubilee South; Social Watch; 10 Days of Action; and Anlazaqndo Alternativas.

The Title of the Session was; People's Rights Not Corporate Profits; Closing the International Centre for Settlement of Investment ?Disputes [JCSID] and Challenging free Trade Agreements on the Road to Build Just Economic and Social Governance.

The Permanent missions of Ecuador and the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations were cooperative partners in this session.

Correa's talk made it clear that Latin America, while suffering in the current crisis, is not suffering had it not gone its own road; each country and also together separate from the United States massive influence that used to take place.

Correa said that the crisis was inherent in the Capitalist system. "We are not the authors of the crisis; that is the IMF. He said that even today, after talking with Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, that the IMF is still imposing instruments of backwardness with its lending."

"As far as I am concerned the IMF should go away," that got a standing ovation.

He than talked about the Bank of South that is being started by: Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay. This regional bank will be free from the influences of the World Bank and the IMF.

He said gone are the days when our money will be used to invest in Florida and loose money.

He pointed to the need for a common currency; and the contradiction that his own country used the US dollar.

He pointed to ALBA [see yesterday's blog] as a real step forward. Both ALBA and the Bank of the South will give all of Latin America, Central America and Caribbean countries an alternative to the Brenton Woods groups, i.e., the World Bank and IMF.

All of these measures are to protect us from the globalization that has given us the crisis.

PEOPLE FIRST BEFORE MARKETS was his main cry and he received a standing ovation.