Saturday, June 27, 2009

Un General Assembly Calls for New World Economic and Financi al Order

by Mike Tolochko

United Nations General Assembly Calls for a
New Financial and Economic World Order

OUTCOME DOCUMENT Is Passed Unanimously by Consensus


[Venezuelan Government Minister Denied Visa to Attend UN Session]

At 3:00 PM on Friday, June 26, 2009, Miguel d'Escoto, President of the United Nations General Assembly, gaveled the meeting to order. He then announced that the OUTCOME DOCUMENT, which was previously agreed to through often-fierce negotiation, had passed the General Assembly unanimously by consensus. [See June 25th Blog on Day One of UN Session for entire DOCUMENT]

A very loud applause followed.

This moment has been seen by most of the General Assembly's 192 nations as a turning point in the struggle to bring the world back from economic and financial crisis. It was previously noted by everyone that this current crisis came on the heels of the Food, Energy and Climate Changes crises. And, on more than one occasion delegates and d'Escoto called for full nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament is the theme of the annual NGO meeting-taking place in Mexico City in September.

It was President d'Escoto who coined the term G192 to deal with them all. This as compared to the G8 or the G20, which is dominated by the major powers; which gave us these crises.

There was a great spirit in the main General Assembly hall and the gallery who witnessed the event.

The most important part of the DOCUMENT is Item #53. This section of the DOCUMENT clearly came from the rejection of the "CONDITIONALITIES" that the IMF, World Bank and its Regional Banks placed on their financing. And, also, the demand that any future monies will not ADD to the debt that most developing countries already have accumulated. Section 26 made it clear that previous commitments made must be honored: "Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus, the 2005 world Summit, at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, in the Doha Declaration by 2015, and the G20 London Summit." Here it as stated in the DOCUMENT:

53. In order to operationalise the lines of action agreed to in the Conference and as a bridge to on-going processes through which Member States may be informed on a timely basis of on-going work and decision-making processes, the following mechanisms might be considered:
 Establish a multi-stakeholder Panel of Experts to offer independent advice to the General Assembly and to the Economic and Social Council on issues that they shall deem relevant to each of the main areas of global economic, financial, trade, and regulatory coordination and action.The Panel shall include well-respected academic experts, as well as representatives of social movements and the private sector.
 Establish a new Global Economic Council that is part of the United Nations system which provides coordination and oversight of concerted responses in addressing the broader range of global challenges.
 Review how ECOSOC can more meaningfully implement its mandated role to make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters and make recommendations with respect to any of such matters to the General Assembly, to the Members of the United Nations, and to the specialized agencies concerned (Article 62.1.) in order to promote consistency and coherence of and support consensus around policies on global economic issues.
 Review the agreement between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions in collaboration with these institutions, focusing particular attention on the mechanisms for enhancing coordination and cooperation between the respective institutions, as well as the opportunities for contributing to strengthening the development mandates and effectiveness of both institutions.
 We request the President of the General Assembly to keep the Conference open and name the following seven ministerial and technical level working groups:
1. Global Stimulus for Restructuring and Survival
2. Finance for Restructuring and Survival
3. Emergency Trade Stimulation and Debt Relief
4. Global and Regional Reserve Systems
5. Regulation and Coordination of Global Economy
6. Restructuring International Institutions
7. Role of the United Nations
We further request the President of the General Assembly to program subsequent meetings with the first at the technical and ministerial level to take place in the first fortnight of September, 2009, and the last at the level of Heads of State and Government, prior to the end of the 64th General Assembly. Measures should be taken to ensure the continuity of this process through its culmination.
54. We hold these extraordinary undertakings to be appropriate and necessary for the times. And we believe that the truest measure of our success shall be told in our ability to work together to build a better world that affords to all members of our global society equal opportunities to live in conditions of far greater economic opportunity, prosperity, security, and justice.

Part #53 is the centerpiece of the G192 and the source of most of the discussion.

In the area of jobs the document placed demands on the International Labor Organization in number 51: "The International Labor Organization to elaborate a proposal to create a Global Jobs Pact based on the Decent Work Agenda. This pack would make the global response for recovery job-intensive and shape a pattern for sustainable growth, which would also include ensuring adequate access to credits for small and medium sized enterprises and for farmers, especially in developing countries."

Speaking on the New Document

President d'Escoto started calling on the assembled nations for their last comments. The first to speak was the United State of America.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, was not present; which was probably a big mistake. The person speaking clearly needs to get in sync with the method of speaking by the new Administration. After giving some comments that he listened to the previous couple of days and welcomed the comments from developing countries; he said that he would be giving the United States interpretation of the document. His tone was bellicose and condescending.

He focused on item # 53: He made it clear that the US does not agree with the Ad Hoc Expert Panel being a co-equal partner with the Breton Woods groups, i.e., the World Bank, their regional banks and IMF. He said that the governing bodies of those two groups had to be respected. And, that trade agreements must be honored.

Then he went through ten different parts of the Document giving the US interpretation of what was said. He said that the G8 $250 billion would make a real difference.

What was probably most offensive was his assertion that the UN didn't have the expertise to have an Ad Hoc Expert panel. This was clearly a direct slap at Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who heads the General Assembly's expert panel. He is a Nobel Prize winner and a former head economist for the World Bank.

The European Union was represented by the Czech Republic and also supported the IMF and World, but was clearly very respectful of the General Assembly's Document and the process that generated it. He did call for all nations to work together.


The next nation to speak was Cuba. The speaker complemented the GA leadership for working hard to get the Document before the body. He said that document should have directly documented the failure of the Neo Liberal Model and that that Model created the crisis. He said unless real action takes place, soon, the United Nations' MDGs are in deep jeopardy. He said the human being should be at the center of the solutions. And, he emphasized that the UN needs to be at the center of the activities; not the G20 or G8. "The International financial system has to be restructured from the bottom up."

The Cuban speaker said that the discussion of "Human Security" must not be interpreted for imperial actions of strong countries interfering in weaker countries.

[3. Globalisation has facilitated the rapid international diffusion of the crisis, and it compels us to devise a coordinated, comprehensive and global response. Most countries lack the individual financial capacity to either affect the system or provide the necessary ameliorative stimulus measures. But those countries nonetheless have ideas, concerns, perspectives and a necessary historical role in shaping the institutions that would mitigate or prevent such crises in the future. Only the inclusive presence of all States and their
collective voice in the General Assembly of the United Nations can ensure the enduring legitimacy of our future international financial system and institutions. And, No. 6. This Conference represents the beginning of an ongoing and concerted engagement of the entire global community with the pillars of our financial architecture. We stand at the crossroads of growth and development; and at the threshold of a new era of global fiscal responsibility and people-centered progress. The bedrock ethics and values of our common humanity must also inform our global financial interactions, and cannot be sacrificed on the altar of reckless speculation or onerous conditionality. Our continued pursuit of profit and economic growth must be leavened by our collective responsibilities in the satisfaction of human needs, the realization of human rights and the achievement of human security.]

He said that the food, energy and climate change crises are now confronted with the economic and financial crisis.


Venezuela was next. He complemented the leadership of the General Assembly for his work in getting the Document in the best shape he could. He fully supported the Document's Expert Working Group/Task Force as a logical follow through.

He also said that, "imperial powers might use the working of the Human Security phrase in the Document."

He cited the two Latin American institutions: ALBA and Bank of the South as the wave of the future.

The representative from Nicaragua voice great pride in the work of President d'Escoto who is from Nicaragua. He said that the final document was a compromise text. The "Human Security" phrase also worried him.

The Canadian speaker said that the United Nations General Assembly has brought the world consensus together. Of course, he voiced support for the Breton Woods groups, but in a calm, not bellicose manner.

The Iranian representative supported the Document and that it sent a positive signal to the world. He also expressed concern with the Human Security references.

The representative from Jamaica speaking for the CARICOM nations, the Caribbean countries were very supportive of the Document. He spoke at length about the value of the Document. At the end of his statement, in praising the working of d'Escoto he read the lyrics of a famous Bob Marley song, the historical Jamaican songwriter and performer.

The Bolivarian representative emphasized the G192 aspect of the report. He expressed doubt that the Free Markets and Free Trade years can be regulated by those who were supposed to be doing that. He called for a restructuring of the Breton Woods groups.

Sudan spoke for the Group of 77 plus China. They reported for support for the DOCUMENT especially the continuation group: the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts.

Japan was the last nation to speak. They voiced support for the Document, but also for the Breton Woods groups.

President d'Escoto then called an end to this segment of the GA meeting. Declaring the DOCUMENT passed and commented on. He said that the DOCUMENT would bring: SOLIDARITY, STABILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY. He said that this was a major achievement and a good first step. Reforming the International Finance Institutions is top priority.

He emphasized the need to continue work on Climate Change.

He thanked everyone associated with the document; especially Joseph Stiglitz who headed up the EXPERT PANEL. He said we are in a battle of ideas and the Expert panel did a great job of leveling the field.

He was heartened by the political will to get this DOCUMENT THROUGH.

He reminded everyone that we don't own the world; we are its caretakers.

The General Assembly then continued making its comments.

The next speaker from Venezuela made the stunning announcement that their government's minister who was to give this discussion point was denied a visa from the United States embassy in Caracas.

The speaker spoke at length about the new directions being forged in Latin America with the ALBA and the Bank of the South. And that the SUCRE would be the common currency of the new system. The ALBA and its SUCRE were highlighted in the DOCUMENT.

He said that the IMF and World Bank are obsolete. He also ripped the Washington Consensus of the 1990s, which unleashed the developed world against the developing world.

He said that the G192 was the most legitimate, democratic way to proceed. He also cited Reuters and the financial news of people associated with nation who work at the UN in their demeaning comments on this General Assembly meeting. One said that the meeting was a "Joke" and the other called d'Escoto a REBEL priest.

US News Boycott; Internationally the Session was Fully Reported

The New York Times, Daily News, Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post ALL completely rejected any reporting on this special UN General Assembly meeting and its outcome.

On the other hand, Reuters gave full coverage, but the U.S. mainstream press did not pick them up.

China Daily and Xinhua gave full coverage.