Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Economic crisis could change global political landscape

Repercussions from the global economic crisis could be more sweeping than Western nations realize. News out of Switzerland is that former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for "radical" changes to the structure of the United Nations, including the Security Council. "We cannot continue to run the world based on countries that won a war 60 years ago," Annan said, according to the Reuters international news service. Speaking at the opening of the World Economic Forum today in Davos, Annan said the worldwide recession had exposed a "crisis of global governance" and called for changes to the Security Council, which controls the use of UN resources. The council is dominated by the five permanent members -- France, Britain, China, Russia and the United States -- which have veto power over the organization. "The current architecture of managing global affairs is broken and needs to be fixed," Annan said. "We have major new players coming on the scene and they need to be integrated and given a voice." Annan, one of six co-chairs of this year's meeting, also urged delegates to address energy, security and climate change, Reuters said. "It is important leaders work on ways of finding effective, far-reaching policies -- even if they are radical -- that will allow us to create sustainable economic growth and create jobs for those who are out of jobs," Annan said. The other chairs are journalism tycoon Rupert Murdoch, HSBC Chairman Stephen Green, Werner Wenning of the German chemical group Bayer, Indian industrialist Anand G. Mahindra and Maria Ramos, chief executive Transet, the South African transport group. Later Wednesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are also scheduled to address the conference, Reuters said.

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