The world's four largest emerging markets, collectively known as the BRIC countries, have voiced their views on the current global financial crisis, and called for global efforts to address the crisis, which has been affecting every nation in the world.
The appeals came as representatives of the BRIC nations, a popular acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China, took the floor at the three-day high-level UN conference on the world financial and economic crisis, which opened on Wednesday in response to the crisis emanating from the United States.
The leaders of BRIC nations hold their first summit meeting on June 16 in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, as they are contributing increasingly to global economic growth and playing a vital role in stabilizing the world economic situation amidst the spreading international financial crisis.
BRAZIL: VOICES OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES MUST BE HEARD
Ambassador Celso Amorim of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said: "At the United Nations, countries without a voice in the existing financial governance structures are able to put forth their views. Some of them are among the poorest in the world and were hit the hardest by the global economic downturn."
"They bear no responsibility for the current crisis. We must listen to their concerns. We must keep their interests in mind in our collective actions towards recovery," he said.
"This Conference is an historic opportunity for change," he said. "It has brought the UN membership closer together to strengthen, improve and reform global economic governance."
"The fact that we have been able to agree on balanced and ambitious outcome document is a testament to the vitality of the UN," he said. "It has disproved many of the skeptics. This conference should not be a final point. Nor should it be an end in itself," he said.
"It is incumbent upon us, UN Members, to ensure that it is the beginning of a process by means of which the whole of mankind, and not just a few, take ownership of their own destiny," the Brazilian ambassador said.
INDIA: EFFORTS NEEDED TO REFORM GLOBAL GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES
Preneet Kaur, minister of state for external affairs of India, told the high-level UN meeting that "specific responses to the financial and economic crisis must address both short-term needs, as well as the longer-term imperatives of reforming structures of global governance, including here at the UN and at the Bretton Woods institutions (BWls)."
"These reforms need to redefine the role of institutions of global economic and financial governance to reflect contemporary realities of today while being rooted in pragmatism and collaboration," she said. "It is imperative that in key decisions and decision-making processes the voice and real participation of developing countries is substantially strengthened and increased."
"Developing countries were not the cause of this crisis, but they are amongst its worst affected victims. Their exports have been hit and they are facing vastly reduced capital flows and foreign direct investment," she said.
"The economic crisis coupled with the food and fuel crises of last year has slowed down their economic growth and casts an ominous shadow on eradication of poverty and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," she said. "The human dimension to this crisis is even more frightening with estimates of additional millions being pushed back into extreme poverty."
RUSSIA: COLLECTIVE WAYS TO ADDRESS CRISIS
Alexey Kudrtn, Russian deputy prime minister and minister of finance, said: "It is very important that the decisions of the UN Conference, having universal legitimacy and reflecting the will of the entire international community, should be aimed at seeking collective ways of stepping up international cooperation for development."
"We fully support the main approaches toward further actions aimed at overcoming the repercussions of the crisis set forth in the outcome document," he said. "We welcome the fact that the draft outcome document contains decisions that emphasize the importance of ;an adequate and timely international support for anti-crisis efforts undertaken by developing countries. It is fundamentally important that in the economic and financial crisis the donor community should reaffirm its development assistance commitments."
"In the context of the crisis, we attach special importance to the role of the so-called 'new donors' in financing development of needy countries," he said. "To coordinate the efforts of 'new donors' in that area, we intend to convene a specialized international conference in Moscow next February."
"Anti-crisis efforts at all levels must have a distinct social component," he said. "It is very important that the draft outcome document should send a clear signal in that regard."
On reforming the world financial system, Kudrtn said: "We believe that the parameters for a new global financial architecture must be enshrined in international conventions and agreements. Only in this case will the system become legitimate and enjoy the trust of the entire international community."
"Otherwise in some time we will inevitably face the repetition of the crisis," he said. "The role and significance of the relevant key international financial institutions must be strengthened. This, however, can happen only if they are transformed to become more representative and independent and new approaches toward replenishment and distribution of resources are elaborated."
CHINA: WORLD COOPERATION ON DEVELOPMENT CRUCIAL TO TACKLE CRISIS
At a time as the international financial crisis is still unfolding and resources for international development cooperation are dwindling, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, in his speech at the high-level UN conference, called on the international community to enhance cooperation on development in a bid to tackle the global financial and economic crisis.
"Though developing countries did not cause this crisis, they have turned out to be the hardest hit," Yang said, adding that should the development situation continue to worsen, the whole world will feel the pinch in this era of economic globalization..
The international community should therefore look at the development issue from a broader perspective and in a wider context, and take resolving the development issue and easing the development crisis as a key part of the effort to tackle the financial crisis, he said.
Countries should also build on the progress already made in the Doha round negotiations and make vigorous efforts to achieve the goals set for this development round at an early date in accordance with the existing mandate, he said.
He put forward four proposals:
First, coordinate macroeconomic policies. When introducing fiscal, monetary, trade and employment policies in response to the crisis, all parties, developed economies in particular, should take into consideration their possible external impact and make every effort to avoid any negative spillover effect on developing countries.
Second, promote growth of international trade. The international community should firmly oppose trade protectionism, open markets to developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, and lower or exempt their tariffs.
Third, intensify international development cooperation. Developed countries should implement the Monterrey Consensus, fulfill the commitment of using 0.7 percent of their gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance and act further to reduce and cancel the debt of developing countries.
Fourth, broaden and deepen South-South cooperation. Developing countries should increase trade and investment cooperation, open markets to each other, and work together to foster new areas of growth. It is important for developing countries to share development experience, learn from each other and draw on each other's strengths.
The high-level meeting, officially known as the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, is an historic event as it is the first UN meeting on the international financial crisis in the history of the world body.
The United Nations provides a unique forum, with unparalleled legitimacy and inclusiveness. It is vitally important that this landmark event coupled with the UN's convening power is used to hear the voice of the entire global community on the extraordinary crisis being faced by the global economy today.