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ECOSOC High-Level Meeting with IFIs Addresses Financial Crisis, MDGs

11 March 2011: A two-day High-Level Meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was held in New York, US, from 10-11 March 2011, and addressed pressing issues related to the global financial crisis and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The meeting included a short opening plenary with brief statements by the Heads of relevant intergovernmental bodies and other senior officials, and informal thematic debates on: the follow-up to the 2010 MDG Summit outcome; the role of the UN system in global economic governance; financial support for development efforts of Least Developed Countries (LDCs); and financial support for development efforts of Middle-Income Countries.

Opening the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged participants to make the most of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio 2012), and to take an integrated approach to the challenges of recovering from the financial and economic crisis, devastating natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, underlining that they continue to jeopardize development gains. He called for increased investments in job creation, food security, health, clean energy, infrastructure and climate adaptation. Ban also underscored that the world's poorest countries continue to confront significant levels of poverty and hunger, and that they are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts.

During the panel on “Financial support for development efforts of Middle-Income Countries:  development cooperation, trade, capital flows, policy space and reserve system,” middle income countries expressed their concerns that the development of a “green economy” would lead to “green protectionism” in trade, blocking exports from those countries. Countries also discussed the "Role of the United Nations system in global economic governance," in light of other groups like the G20 taking the lead in tackling the latest global financial crisis.

These discussions are expected to feed into the Development Committee Discussions to take place during the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings in April 2011. [Meeting Website] [Ban's Statement] [Note from Secretary-General (Document E/2011/74)] [UN Press Release]