Despite Signs Of Economic Growth, World’s Poorest ‘Still Not Out Of the Woods,’ U.N. Secretary-General Says

During a news conference Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the need to focus on the poorest people in the world even as “economists in developed nations are cautiously pointing to the first signs of renewed economic growth,” the New York Times reports (MacFarquhar, 9/17).

Though “[t]here is talk of ‘green shoots of [economic] recovery’ … the data show another picture,” Ban noted, according to a U.N. press release. “We are still not out of the woods – and this crisis is layered upon the food crisis and the [H1N1] pandemic,” he stated. “‘The near poor are becoming the new poor,’ he said, noting that over 100 million more people are expected to fall below the poverty line this year,” according to the release (9/17). This point is one Ban wants to emphasize during the U.N. General Assembly meeting next week in New York, though climate change is expected to take center stage, the New York Times writes.

“Mr. Ban also wants to highlight the need to keep aid flowing in the middle of still-turbulent economic times,” the newspaper writes. “He compiled a report, ‘Voices of the Vulnerable,’ which he distributed to all the foreign missions on Thursday and plans to make a centerpiece of his own address to the General Assembly.” The article includes some of the “grim findings” presented in the document as well as skepticism by several international experts who question the accuracy of the poverty statistics cited by Ban (9/17).

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