27.02.2009 -

Rescuing development from the global financial and economic crisis

Decades of hard-won progress towards a range of international development goals, such as the reduction of poverty, improved health and access to education, the rise of a “green” economy and gender equity are under threat from the global financial and economic crisis.

How can a reversal of these gains be prevented? How can the advances made be reinforced? Can investment in social services help to overcome the crisis? What should be the role of UNESCO and the UN system as a whole? These issues will be the subject of discussions at a day-long conference at UNESCO Headquarters on 2 March.

The conference, open to the public, will be divided into five sessions focusing on:

• The parameters and potential impact of the crisis on multilateralism (9.30 a.m.);
• The impact of the crisis on developing countries, particularly in Africa, and the prospects for attaining internationally agreed development goals, including the Millenium Development Goals (11 a.m. – 12.45 p.m.);
• Investing out of the crisis – in education, social services, science, culture and knowledge (2.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.);
• The potential impact of the crisis on women and gender equality (4.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.);
• And the impact of the crisis on climate change and prospects for a green economy 5.30 p.m. - 7.30 p.m).

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will open the event. Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board, will also address the meeting.

Keynote speakers in the first session include Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Abdoulie Janneh, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; and Mohan Munasinghe, Vice-Chair of, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 2007 Nobel Peace laureate, and Chairman of the Munasinghe Institute for Development, Sri Lanka (by video conference).

Participants will include senior representatives and experts from United Nations agencies, international financial and donor institutions, inter-governmental and non governmental organizations as well as national and international decision-makers.

The panel sessions will be moderated by senior journalists, including Alison Smale, the Executive Director of the International Herald Tribune, Andrea Sanke from France 24 and Eric Glover from the Courrier International.

“The Global Financial and Economic Crisis: What impact on Multilateralism and UNESCO” is the first in a new round of conferences by UNESCO’s foresight programme, entitled UNESCO Future Forum.




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