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India criticises UN over financial crisis

Source: PTI
October 07, 2008 12:17 IST
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India has sharply criticised the United Nations and its affiliated organisations for sitting on the sidelines as the current financial crisis unfolded, saying that the IMF remained helpless despite the economic meltdown impacting adversely on the developing nations.

India called on the world body to use its universality to coordinate an international response, which is crucial to overcoming the crisis.

During a discussion on the annual report of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Indian Ambassador Nirupam Sen attacked the Secretariat for ignoring the economic crisis that is now 'crushing' the poor around the globe and for lacking any vision for the future or how the organisation could help developing countries deal with the serious looming challenges.

While the world had not ended, the world of Wall Street had certainly ended, and the "Masters of the Universe had bitten the dust, the same dust that is now in the mouths of the rest of us," Sen said, adding that the free market, like free love, had come to an end.

He branded the report, which gives snapshot of UN work in development, human rights and other areas and its vision for future, as 'inadequate if not irrelevant'.

Sen told delegations gathered for the Assembly's annual review that the document should have spelled out how the UN could rebuild the global political and economic institutions.

The report, he said, also remained silent on intellectual property rights and how the organisation could stimulate the stalled Doha Round of talks being held under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation, another institution 'approaching irrelevance.'

Sen emphasised that the secretary-general's report was a summary of events that had taken place in the past and did not provide a vision for the future.

The investment banking world, he said, has achieved the destruction of world liquidity, and has increased financial risks and bankruptcies.

"The impact on the developing world would be profound. Projects are already stopping because of the lack of liquidity and financing. The debt crisis would become worse. The decline in commodity prices and exports would hurt the developing world," he said, calling it 'a solidarity of suffering'.

Only an international response could overcome the crisis, which was impacting the real economy in widening circles, he told the delegates.

The problem with the UN chief's report, Sen said, is that it did not discuss those issues or how the United Nationscould rebuild the global economic and political institutions.

"The International Monetary Fund has been helpless and practically irrelevant during the crisis, and that irrelevancy could not be addressed until the international community faced its fundamental reform issues, such as transparency and quota reform in the IMF."

The report was silent on that issue and others, Sen said, criticising the absence of recent and relevant statistics in the document.

The report touched on public goods, climate change, public health and other pressing issues, yet it did not look at the problems in intellectual property rights laws, he said.

It was also silent on what the United Nations could do to stimulate the stalled Doha Round of WTO talks and the important issues of trade in cotton, sensitive products and safeguard mechanisms.

"The WTO was fast approaching irrelevance like the Bretton Woods institutions," he said and called on the UN to use its universality to address the present crises.

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