UN ESCAP calls for coherent international monetary system to support post-2015 development agenda

Bangkok (ESCAP News) — The top United Nations official in Asia and the Pacific called for the development of a robust and coherent international monetary system that imposes responsibilities on debtors and creditors alike in delivering macroeconomic and financial stability, during the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said such a system would need to be supported by global and inclusive institutions to give voice to developing countries in international economic decision-making.

“We must ensure that a stable and resilient global platform for finance is in place to play its role in furthering the post-2015 sustainable development agenda that the governments of the world are expected to adopt in September 2015,” said Dr. Akhtar, during her keynote address to a high-level panel on global finance on Friday. “The economies of Asia and the Pacific intend to not only effectively deal with the negative implications of prevailing issues with global monetary system but to lead the debate on reform ideas,” she said.

Dr. Akhtar explained that thus far, Asia and the Pacific has been able to withstand the global crisis as the countries had strengthen their financial system post 1997/98 regional financial crisis.  The global financial market volatility and uncertainties’ however are testing the resilience of the emerging markets of the region and there remain worries how the countries will manage the risks emanating from capital movements following the Fed reserve hike.  The regional economies have over the years developed their defense mechanism including buildup of foreign exchanges reserves and regional swap credit lines and have at hand capital management and macro-prudential instruments to curb financial market volatility.

In this context, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP outlined four broad areas that need attention, namely an automatic international adjustment mechanism, effective management of cross-border capital and financial flows, an explicit nominal anchor, and an effective and credible international lender of last resort.

Dr. Akhtar emphasized that the international community needs to work together to ensure that global finance serves as a guarantor and not a threat to global economic and financial stability: “The challenge is to strike a balance between maximizing the benefits of global finance while minimizing its negative implications,” she said.

During her visit to St. Petersburg this week, the Executive Secretary also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ESCAP and the Electric Power Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS EPC) to enhance energy connectivity and regional integration in North and Central Asia. The MoU was signed by Mr. Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation and President of the CIS Electric Power Council. Dr. Akhtar also met with Mr. Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss a wide range of issues including strengthening ESCAP and Russia’s cooperation in transport and energy.

For further information, contact:
Ms. Katie Elles, Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, 

M: (66) 9481 525 36 / E: elles@un.org