Secretary-General: Remarks to the G-20 Summit , Pittsburgh

Sep 25, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to join you today. 

In London last April, you called on the United Nations to establish a mechanism to monitor what is happening on the ground, in people’s lives.

You have before you today the first report of The Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System, or GIVAS.

The picture it paints should alarm us all: the crisis is having a dramatic and potentially enduring effect on many of the world’s poor and most vulnerable people. They are far from seeing any of the so-called green shoots of recovery. 

Today we must send a signal that we will not overlook the oft forgotten people of our world. 

I see three top priorities:

First, concrete assistance, beginning with the $50 billion for the poorest pledged in London.  A premature exit from stimulus efforts could put global recovery at risk.
I agree with your assessment that we are not yet out of crisis. 
Second, official development assistance, including for Africa.

In London, less than half a year ago, you reaffirmed the Gleneagles commitments.  But with 2010 around the corner, we are very far from meeting these targets.  I hope you will all be able to report fulfillment of these commitments by the time of your next meeting in Canada.

Third, recovery strategies should include investments in jobs, health, education, infrastructure and food security.

In particular we must see the $20 billion promised at L’Aquila for food security move quickly to address very real needs.

Tomorrow, on Saturday, Secretary of State Clinton and I are going to co-chair a high-level meeting on food security.  I thank you for your support for the high-level task force on food security I have been chairing during the last eighteen months.


Recovery and sustainable development are, and will continue to be, undermined by accelerating climate change. 

Climate change is an integral part of the picture.

And addressing climate change is not only intrinsically important, it can also stimulate recovery and move us towards a safer, more sustainable low-carbon economy.

Climate finance is crucial. At long last, at this week’s climate change summit at the UN, you and other leaders focused on this central issue. 

The discussion also got more concrete as the proposal for a financial package of $100 billion per year during the next decade, coming from a combination of public and private sources, was supported by many.

As you know, I had called for more.  At the same time, I recognize that we must start somewhere.
We now need to agree on a target amount and on principles and options for managing and delivering such funds.

Those options must be developed well before Copenhagen.  That means hard work now.  The Prime Minister of Denmark and I stand ready to work closely with you all to ensure options get surfaced for consideration as soon as possible.

I hope that leaders will task the Sherpas and Finance Ministers to come up with concrete recommendations so that this can be agreed in Copenhagen.


As we have been sharply reminded by the ongoing economic crisis, the global economy today ties the fates of all the world’s people closely together.

I agree with the conclusion reached yesterday during dinner that the G20 needs to move forward as the premier forum for addressing your international economic cooperation.

For the G20 to become an effective and credible forum for international economic cooperation, you will need to address the fact that more than one-third of the world’s population, and more than 85% of the world’s countries are not represented here.  I urge you to consider how you might address this important issue.

In this regard, I agree with the points made yesterday by President Zuma of South Africa and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

International economic cooperation  invariably intersects such issues as trade, climate change, poverty alleviation, food security, and disease control – all of which have an existing international legal and institutional base.
I would urge the G20 to offer steadfast support for success of the Millennium Development Goals, including support for a global plan at next year’s MDG Summit.

I would urge you to work closely with existing multilateral institutions with legislative and implementation capacity.   

In this regard, the UN has a central role to play.  I hope you see the UN as a key partner that can participate fully at all stages of your deliberations, for example, meetings of Finance Ministers and Sherpas.


The United Nations will continue to do its part to address the full range of issues discussed here today.

I look forward to working with you, for the benefit of all.

Thank you.

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