Key economists to meet UN chief to discuss global financial crisis

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United Nations, Oct 23 (UNI) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will meet a group of eminent economists tomorrow as part of his evaluation of the impact of the global financial crisis on the United Nations efforts to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Five economists would participate in the meeting in New York, which would also consider the effects of the financial crisis on climate change, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told mediapersons.

The economists are Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University; Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University; Dani Rodrik of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; Nancy Birdsall, President of the Centre for Global Development, a think tank; and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia.

Earlier this week, General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto announced he has appointed Professor Stiglitz, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001, to lead a high-level task force to review the global financial system.

The composition and terms of reference of the task force, which would examine such major bodies as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are expected to be unveiled next month.

In recent weeks, Mr Ban has repeatedly stressed the need for global leadership to help ensure that the battle to achieve the MDGs, which aim to halve extreme poverty and other ills, by their target date of 2015 is not forgotten by countries as they seek to shore up their economic and financial systems.

''Now, more than ever we must be bold. In these times of crisis, when we are tempted to look inward, it is precisely the time when we must move pursuit of the common good to the top of the agenda,'' Mr Ban said in a speech delivered yesterday at Harvard.

He later added, ''While recently we have heard much in this country about how problems on Wall Street are affecting innocent people on Main Street, we need to think more about those people around the world with no streets. Wall Street, Main Street, no street -- the solutions devised must be for all.'' In addition, the world cannot afford to delay action on the issue of climate change, which Mr Ban called ''the ultimate global and existential threat.'' He urged countries to conclude a new comprehensive climate deal that can be ratified and be in place before the current commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

A spokesperson for Mr Ban also announced that the Secretary-General has been invited by US President George W Bush to attend a financial meeting of the leaders of G-8 industrialised nations, scheduled for November 15 in Washington.

It is expected to be a larger gathering of G-20 nations and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been invited to that White House meeting.

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