UN chief says no 'green shoots' of economic recovery for the world's poor

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that there are no green shoots of economic recovery for the world's poor.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that there are no green shoots of economic recovery for the world's poor.

A year after the global financial crisis began, he said, U.N. data indicates that over 100 million people are expected to fall below the poverty line this year.

"We are finding that it is not the chronic poor who are most affected, but the near and working poor, whose lives had improved significantly over the last decade," Ban told a news conference. "The near poor are becoming the new poor."

Ban said he will "hammer" the same message to world leaders at the General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting that starts Sept. 23 and the 20 major financial powers meeting in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 24-25: deliver on pledges to help the world's vulnerable and protect poor countries through the global financial crisis.

"There is talk of green shoots of recovery but ... we are still not out of the deep woods - and this crisis is layered upon the food crisis and the (swine flu) pandemic crisis," the secretary-general said.

"The poor and vulnerable are reaching the limits of their coping strategies," he added in an informal briefing to ambassadors from the 192 U.N. member states ahead of next week's General Assembly meeting.

Ban said he has written to leaders of the G20 countries asking them to deliver the $1.1 trillion they pledged last April at their summit in London, "and especially $50 billion for the poorest countries."

He said the Group of Eight major industrialized countries - the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia - should also honour the commitments they made in 2005 to increase development aid by $50 billion a year by 2010.

Ban also urged all countries to accelerate efforts to meet the U.N. development goals, which include reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015.

The secretary-general announced that the U.N. is working with member states to create a new system to collect and analyze data on the impact of the financial crisis that will flag "critical developments on the ground."

 
 
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