Development Forum on
“Integrating economic and social policies to achieve the
United Nations development agenda
14–15 March 2005 | United Nations headquarters, New York
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Highlights from Monday, 14 March 2005

The UNDESA Development Forum opened today at UN headquarters in New York . Following opening addresses by Ali Hachani, ECOSOC Vice-President, and José Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, delegates heard panel discussions on: structural reforms and equity; economic and social effects of financial liberalization; trade liberalization and employment; and monetary and exchange rate policies and employment.

Opening session of the UNDESA Development Forum

Ali Hachani, ECOSOC Vice-President and Tunisia ’s Ambassador to the UN, said the Forum is the first of a series of meetings to prepare for the ECOSOC High-level segment and also forms part of ECOSOC’s contribution to the General Assembly’s High-level meeting on the review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration in September 2005. José Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored the central role of social, gender and environmental dimensions in the UN Development Agenda.

Francis Butagira, Uganda’s Ambassador to the UN, drew attention to the need for pro-poor policies, market access for the poor, and improving and shaping existing policies to support the needs of developing countries.

Giovanni Andrea Cornia, University of Florence, said that while there has been a growing awareness for the need to integrate social and economic policies, inequality reduction has not yet featured as a target of economic policies. Francisco Ferreira, World Bank Development Research Group, presented the preliminary findings of a World Bank study on the relationship between equity and development, focusing on equal opportunities and prevention of extreme deprivation as pillars for long-term prosperity. Sanjay Reddy, Columbia University, commented on the importance of going beyond the Millennium Development Goals, not only to prevent severe deprivation, but also to foster equity.

Professor Frances Stewart, Director, CRISE (Centre for Rsearch on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity). Gustav Ranis, Professor - Economics Yale University. Byron Blake, Jamaica.

Swati Save, MDG Global Watch, Development Expert. Erwin Ortíz-Gandarillas, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations. Xolisa Mahbango, South Africa's acting Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Panel on Economic and Social Effects of Financial Liberalization

Crispin Grey-Johnson, Gambia’s Ambassador to the UN. In his opening remarks, Chair Grey-Johnson stressed the importance of discussing measures to ensure that financial liberalization supports pro-poor policies of governments and the development process in general. Graciela Kaminsky, George Washington University, underscored that financial liberalization may reinforce institutional reforms, noting that as firms access mature capital markets, corporate governance also improves. Jayati Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, highlighted the impacts of internal and external liberalization.

Ian Kinniburgh, urged the Forum to address not only the economic, but also the social consequences of financial liberalization, particularly on employment, poverty, wages, women, and vulnerable social groups. Stephanie Griffith-Jones, UNDESA. Albert Berry, Department of Economics, University of Toronto.

Nanak Kakwani, Director/Chief Economist, UNDP International Poverty Centre. Óscar Ugarteche, Peru. Husniyya Mammadova, Azerbaijan.

Panel on Trade Liberalization and Employment.

Eddy Lee, International Labor Organization, contested the standard proposition that trade liberalization is always a good policy option, noting that in some cases it results in a contraction in output and rising unemployment. Alan Winters, World Bank, highlighted the difficulty in differentiating trade reform effects from technological improvement effects. Manuel Montes, UNDP, underscored the labor and employment implications of trade liberalization and questioned liberalization models that take employment increases as a given benefit.

Roberto Frenkel, Principal Researcher Associate, Center for the Study of State and Society (CEDES). Amb. Ali Mchumo, Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). Cinthia Soto, Costa Rica.

Delegate from the European Community. Roberto Guimarães, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Panel on Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies and Employment

Agim Nesho, Albania’s Ambassador to the UN, stressed the role of monetary and exchange rate policies on the achievement of the MDGs and other development goals. Lance Taylor, New School University, and Roberto Frenkel, University of Buenos Aires, presented a study on the benefits of a weak exchange rate to support economic development.

Stephanie Griffith-Jones, UNDESA, commented on the presentations comparing the approaches of Asia and Latin America to exchange rate appreciation, and said that although capital flow regulation can have negative effects it makes the system more sustainable in the long term. Alessandro Prati, International Monetary Fund, explained that aid influences exchange rates and that monetary and exchange rate policies may be used to respond to foreign aid inflows and its negative effects on the exchange rate.

Miscellaneous photos

South Africans in the ECOSOC Chamber: Xolisa Mahbango, South Africa's Acting Deputy Permanent Representative talks to IISD's Richard Sherman (South Africa).

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