Q&A: U.N.’s Enormous Potential Being Marginalised

Linked with A tale of two paradigms.

Published on IPS, by Thalif Deen, June 23, 2009.

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 23 (IPS) – An international conference on the global financial crisis – hosted by the United Nations – is being marginalised by Western countries which have refused to send any of their political leaders to the meeting. Thalif Deen interviews MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, President of the General Assembly.

Of the 126 countries participating in the three-day conference, scheduled to take place Jun. 24-26, there will be two heads of state, four vice presidents, 10 heads of government, three deputy prime ministers and 32 ministers. 

But an overwhelming majority of the top level attendees are from the developing world, including Ecuador, Venezuela, Philippines, Brazil, Iran, Gambia, Laos, India, Bangladesh, Honduras, Zimbabwe, China, Russia, Barbados, Malaysia, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The only relatively high level Western representation is a deputy prime minister from Luxembourg and six ministers from Finland, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Britain.

Asked whether this is an attempt undermine the conference and marginalise the United Nations, the President of the General Assembly Fr. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann said: “There are countries and institutions that are against this global conversation for obvious reasons.”

Speaking on the eve of the conference, he said: “They have wanted this meeting to be another donors’ conference and have characterised the U.N. process as one in which the developing countries line up, bowl in hand.”

Their attitude continues to be: ‘We know best; trust us’.

“In light of all that has happened in the world economy, this claim is no longer convincing,” D Escoto said in an interview with U.N. Bureau Chief Thalif Deen.

“They marginalise and denigrate the enormous potential of the United Nations at their own risk. I sincerely hope that, as a result of elections taking place across the globe, new leadership will bring new support and energy to the United Nations.”

Excerpts from the interview follow … (full long text).

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