- The Geneva-based U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), described as a key forum for developing nations on issues relating to trade, investment and development, will have a new secretary-general come September.
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.
The global economy weakened significantly towards the end of 2011 and further downward pressure emerged in the course of 2012. The growth rate of global output, which had already decelerated from 4.1 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, is expected to slow down even more in 2012 to around 2.3 per cent. Developed economies as a whole are likely to grow by only slightly more than one per cent in 2012, owing mainly to the recession currently gripping the European Union (EU).
Although it remains the fastest growing region, Asia is already experiencing an economic slowdown, with gross domestic product (GDP) expected to fall from 6.8 percent in 2011 to slightly below six percent in 2012. Several countries - including China, India and Turkey - have been adversely affected by weaker demand from developed countries.