UN / WESP

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16-Jan-2020 00:02:36
The global economy has suffered a significant slowdown amid prolonged trade disputes and wide-ranging policy uncertainties. While a slight uptick in economic activity is forecast for 2020, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 (WESP 2020) warns that economic risks remain strongly tilted to the downside, aggravated by deepening political polarization and increasing scepticism over the benefits of multilateralism. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / WESP
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DATELINE: 16 JANUARY 2019, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations

16 JANUARY 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations:
“This year’s WESP conveys a sobering message on the state of the global economy. In an environment of prolonged trade disputes and high policy uncertainty, the global economy slowed to its lowest growth rate in a decade. The world continues to face a host of risks and uncertainties, including trade tensions, escalating geopolitical conflicts, elevated levels of debt, as well as increasing climate risks. The risks of a further deterioration in the economic situation are high.”
4. Med shot, reporters
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations:
“Prolonged weakness in global economic activity may cause significant setbacks to the prospects for sustainable development, including the goals of eradicating poverty and creating decent jobs for all. Already, we see that the number of people living in extreme poverty has been rising again parts of Africa, Latin America, and Western Asia. Amid growing discontent over a lack of inclusive growth, calls for change are widespread across the globe.”
6. Wide shot, dais
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations:
“This year’s WESP includes a special chapter on energy transition and the global economy. It underlines that the only way to decisively break the link between greenhouse emissions and economic activity is to move away from burning fossil fuels. Without a significant change in the energy mix the goals of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will be missed, and by a large margin. For example, global CO2 emissions will rise by over 250 percent if developing countries were to follow the same consumption and production patterns as have been followed in the developed world.”
8. Wide shot, dais
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Elliot Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, United Nations:
“We are moving towards a digital economy, which has tremendous potential benefits in terms of productivity enhancement, but also possible downsides because not everyone is equally equipped to benefit fully from the potential advantages of the digital economy. And when I say everyone, I mean both individuals and groups of people within a country, and countries compared with each other. For example, we are particularly concerned at the possibility that the digital divide that already exists between, for example Sub-Saharan Africa and North America or Europe, that digital divide will deepen and widen.”
10. Wide shot, end of press briefing

STORYLINE:

The global economy has suffered a significant slowdown amid prolonged trade disputes and wide-ranging policy uncertainties. While a slight uptick in economic activity is forecast for 2020, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 (WESP 2020) warns that economic risks remain strongly tilted to the downside, aggravated by deepening political polarization and increasing scepticism over the benefits of multilateralism.

At the launch of the report, the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Elliot Harris, said, “this year’s WESP conveys a sobering message on the state of the global economy. In an environment of prolonged trade disputes and high policy uncertainty, the global economy slowed to its lowest growth rate in a decade. The world continues to face a host of risks and uncertainties, including trade tensions, escalating geopolitical conflicts, elevated levels of debt, as well as increasing climate risks. The risks of a further deterioration in the economic situation are high.”

According to the report, these risks could inflict severe and long-lasting damage on development prospects. They also threaten to encourage a further rise in inward-looking policies, at a point when global cooperation is paramount.

Harris said, “prolonged weakness in global economic activity may cause significant setbacks to the prospects for sustainable development, including the goals of eradicating poverty and creating decent jobs for all. Already, we see that the number of people living in extreme poverty has been rising again parts of Africa, Latin America, and Western Asia. Amid growing discontent over a lack of inclusive growth, calls for change are widespread across the globe.”

Compounding the economic slowdown, rising global temperatures and the increasing frequency and intensity of weather-related shocks press home the urgent need for a dramatic shift in the global energy mix.

Harris noted that WESP 2020 “includes a special chapter on energy transition and the global economy” which “underlines that the only way to decisively break the link between greenhouse emissions and economic activity is to move away from burning fossil fuels.”

Without a significant change in the energy mix, he said, “the goals of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will be missed, and by a large margin.”

He noted that “global CO2 emissions will rise by over 250 percent if developing countries were to follow the same consumption and production patterns as have been followed in the developed world.”

The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 explores the global economic implications of this energy transition. The transition to a cleaner energy mix will bring not only environmental and health benefits, but economic opportunities for many. However, without appropriate policy strategies, the costs and benefits will be unevenly distributed within and between countries.

Harris also said that as the world moves towards a digital economy, there are possible downsides as “not everyone is equally equipped to benefit fully from the potential advantages of the digital economy” end expressed particular concerned “at the possibility that the digital divide that already exists between, for example Sub-Saharan Africa and North America or Europe, that digital divide will deepen and widen.”

The World Economic Situation and Prospects is a joint product of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five United Nations regional commissions (Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)). The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and staff from the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also contributed to the report.
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