I recently spent a day in Mumbai with the man who arguably has done more than anyone else in the world to save millions of lives of people with AIDS and other diseases.
The issue of foreign debt has made a major comeback due to the crisis in Europe, in which many countries had to seek big bailouts to keep them from defaulting on their loan payments. Before this, debt crises have been associated with African and Latin American countries. In 1997-99, three East Asian countries also joined the indebted countries' club.
A growing number of international lawsuits has highlighted an emerging global crisis: the nature and effects of investment treaties signed between governments, which are allowing private companies and investors to sue countries for millions or even billions of dollars.
India may be famous for the Taj Mahal, its religious ceremonies, Bollywood films and one of the highest economic growth rates in recent years. But more importantly, India has had a positive global impact through its supply of vast quantities of low-cost, good-quality generic medicines, which have saved or prolonged millions of lives.
The global climate change negotiations are at a new crossroads, as evident after the latest round of meetings that ended in Bangkok on Sep. 7.
The Summit of the Non Aligned Movement concluded in Tehran on 31 August in high spirits with the political leaders adopting several declarations and action plans, and many of them calling for a revival of the importance of NAM, especially to protect the countries from foreign intervention and to build a new multi-polar world.
Developing countries are increasingly being adversely affected by the economic recession in Europe and the slowdown in the United States.
With only a few days to go before the start of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, there are disturbing signs that developed countries are attempting to backtrack from the commitments they made at the original Earth Summit of 1992 to assist the developing countries to move towards the path of sustainable development.
After often bruising negotiations along North-South lines, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has obtained a renewed and broad mandate for its future work, including on global economic issues.
Is China still a developing country or has it joined the ranks of the advanced developed countries?
The past few weeks have seen the emergence of global currency chaos, which is a new threat to prospects for economic recovery.
In recent years, climate change seems to have elbowed out other environmental issues to become the number one global problem. But the alarming problems of water -increasing scarcity, lack of access to drinking water, and sanitation, pollution, flooding- are equally important and an even more immediate threat.
The World Trade OrganisationÂ's Doha Round appears to be stuck in a strategic deadlock, with no end in sight, and little hope for completion in the forseeable future. The latest bout of negotiations, a Â“stocktaking exerciseÂ” held in Geneva in the last week of March ended with no direction and without plans for a further meeting of senior officials from capitals, or for Trade Ministers. The target of finishing the Round by the end of this year was not even mentioned.
Many around the world look to the United Nations conference on the global financial and economic crisis this week with great expectations, as it should be the start of a process that could bring the UN into the forefront of tackling the greatest economic crisis in half a century.