Discussions at HLCP grouped the several dimensions of the crisis and their impact in key policy areas, highlighting the connections within and across them. They also recognized the need to identify the gaps that have to be addressed. The eight key priority areas are:

finance;
trade;
employment, production and aggregate demand;
environment;
food security;
social services, empowerment and protection of people;
humanitarian, security and social stability, and;
international cooperation for development.

Though fixing the financial system is a pre-condition to re-launch economic activity and contain and mitigate the effects of the crisis on people, action in several inter-connected areas needs to be taken from the outset. Finance is linked to trade and in turn, both affect employment, produc tion and aggregate demand. In a world threatened by environmental degradation and climate change, any response to the crisis needs to take environmental issues on board as an opportunity to change patterns of production and consumption and to make the investment required for a sustainable approach that can reconcile economic, social and environmental aspects.

Responses to the crisis should not just be seen as piecemeal measures to be rolled out temporarily, only to revert back to “business as usual” as soon as possible. There is a need for structural changes in critical areas of international, regional and national action. Moreover, inter -connectedness across areas is a powerful reason for pursuing objectives in one area while enhancing results in the others. This brings the themes of systemic coherence and multilateralism to the forefront more than ever. Global coordination efforts could facilitate not just global outcomes but clearer policy approaches at regional, sub-regional, national and local levels.

There are a number of policy actions that can most effectively be implemented at the national level and a number of them that ideally should be globally coordinated, but there are also a significant number of responses that can most effectively be undertaken at the regional level. Integra ting the regional dimension is therefore essential in the broader response to the crisis. The right mix of national, regional and global responses will be needed to confront the crisis as well as prevent and control impacts of crises in the future.

Various joint UN system initiatives for immediate response to the crisis based on a sustainable development approach have been identified by HLCP as priority areas for impact of multilateral action, under the responsibility of volunteering agencies. Some of them are new and some others build on on-going initiatives which gain new importance, focus and spin as a response to the crisis, calling for joint action by a group of multilateral agencies most directly concerned. Each proposal is briefly described by lead agencies in a separate box.