Background

The United Nations system had long pointed out that globalization was not fair or inclusive. Prevailing policies had overvalued the role of markets, undervalued the role of Governments and devalued social, environmental and other factors. A sustainable solution would require a focus on people, as well as on the humanitarian and social aspects of the crisis. A global crisis required a global response, and the CEB member organizations were well placed to work together in key policy areas where coherence was crucial for results and impact. The individual contributions that all organizations had provided to the Committee had led to the identification of seven broad policy dimensions to deepen policy coherence and collaborative action: (a) finance; (b) trade; (c) employment, production and aggregate demand; (d) environment; (e) social service, empowerment and protection of people; (f) humanitarian, security and social stability; and (g) development and international cooperation.

Discussion

It was also noted by several participants that, in the present crisis, technology, innovation and creativity would be critical in creating opportunities for economic renewal leading to a more innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable world. Members of the Committee felt that CEB should articulate a coherent system-wide response to the financial crisis similar to the response to the food crisis. Some anticipated that Member States would come to the United Nations for assistance when they had exhausted other remedies, as had been the case when the food crisis took on a security dimension in 2008.
Members of the Committee cautioned against complacently equating multilateralism with the United Nations system, which should not be viewed as the same thing. It was considered vital for the United Nations system to be mindful of the pre existing crises that had already been affecting vulnerable populations around the globe.

Action

The Committee concluded that:
    (a)    Inputs for the revised issue paper to be presented by the Chairman and discussed at the CEB retreat should be submitted to him by 13 March 2009;
    (b)    The Committee would develop the identified joint United Nations system initiatives for immediate response to the crisis on the basis of a sustainable development approach (economic, social and environmental sustainability) (see annex III). The respective lead agencies and cooperating agencies would establish a framework for action in each area by 10 April 2009;
    (c)    Following the first regular session of CEB and the mandate received by executive heads, the High-level Committee on Programmes and the United Nations Development Group could jointly discuss ways to translate those policy directions and joint initiatives at the country level;
    (d)    Individual agencies and bodies other than the High-level Committee, including the United Nations Development Group, would, of course, be free to respond to requests by the General Assembly and others for material and views from each organization’s perspective;
    (e)    Following the General Assembly’s June conference, and depending on its outcome as well as other developments, the need for an intersessional meeting of the Committee in July, on the sidelines of the Economic and Social Council session, would be considered;
    (f)    The CEB secretariat would develop, with possible support from the United Nations Communications Group, a communications and advocacy strategy, including an Internet site, a calendar and a possible CEB press conference, as well as interacting with other forums;
    (g)    The Chairman would seek the Secretary-General’s guidance on the possibility of producing a statement after the CEB retreat.