Forgotten Victims of the Global Downturn in the Developing World
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
At a recent private brainstorming session at United Nations headquarters in New York, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general, heard a uniformly grim assessment of the devastating impact the global financial crisis will have on the developing world.
What began as an economic crisis was in danger of turning into a social, humanitarian, political and security meltdown that could spin out of control in the most vulnerable regions, his experts told him.
The message they want him to take to donor countries is that by shoring up foreign aid levels they would be helping to revive their own sinking economies.
While attention on the financial crisis in the developed world has focused on the need for bank bail-outs, domestic stimulus packages and rescue plans for failing industries, gatherings of officials and aid experts ahead of next month’s Group of 20 summit in London are highlighting an even graver emergency.
“It’s obviously a tragedy that people in rich countries are losing their jobs and their homes,” says Kevin Watkins, a senior UN development adviser. “But in poor countries, the rising poverty could result in vulnerable children losing their lives.”