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Countries Address Financial Crisis, Burden On Developing Nations At U.N. Financial Summit

At the opening of a three-day U.N. financial summit on Wednesday, developing countries joined U.N. officials in “calling for more money and a greater role in regulating the world economy in the wake of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression, which has taken a disproportionate toll on poor nations,” AP/Google.com reports (Astor, AP/Google.com, 6/25).

“Developing countries, which make up the vast majority of the 192-member assembly, argue that they are paying the price for a crisis that was created by the developed world,” according to AFP/Google.com (Aziaku, AFP/Google.com, 6/24).

U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, the event’s organizer, said the goal of the conference is to identify emergency and long-term responses to ease the impact of the financial crisis, especially on vulnerable populations. “Brockmann also said the conference aims to start a dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture, taking into account the needs and concerns of all member states,” Deutsche Welle reports (Deutsche Welle, 6/24).

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told the summit that the U.S. believes “we should use every instrument at our disposal to tackle different dimensions of the crisis.” According to AP/Google.com, “Rice also said the U.S. was ‘committed to substantially increasing our own official development assistance’ despite the ‘challenging times.’”

An agreement among developing and developed countries prior to the conference “calls for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other lending institutions to be flexible in imposing conditions on developing countries so they can take action to deal with the economic crisis, including adopting stimulus packages. The draft also calls for measures to avoid a new debt crisis and new approaches to restructuring debt,” AP/Google.com writes.

World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said an additional 200,000 infants could die from malnutrition and other diseases each year between now and 2015, if the crisis continues (AP/Google.com, 6/25).

In an address to the conference, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the international community should look at the development issue from a broader perspective and seek to resolve the development issue as a key part of the effort to tackle the financial crisis. “To this end, we should deepen global development partnership, strengthen development institutions, increase input in development and ensure unimpeded progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said (Xinhua, 6/26).