GFDD and FUNGLODE Shares Best Practices in the Areas of Internship Coordination and Implementation, Professional Training and Educational Advancement during General Debate during 2012 Substantive Session of ECOSOC

July 11, 2012

On Tuesday, July 3, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) delivered a statement during the General Debate portion of the 2012 Substantive Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on “Promoting Productive Capacity, Employment and Decent Work to Eradicate Poverty in the Context of Inclusive,
Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth at All Levels for Achieving the MDGs.”

GFDD and FUNGLODE were selected out of a group of over 60 nongovernmental organizations by ECOSOC to deliver an oral statement during the General Debate. Only 5 other nongovernmental organizations were chosen by ECOSOC to take the floor.

GFDD Representative Kerry Stefancyk discussed how the Foundation’s professional training sessions,
internships, courses and degree programs are contributing to the advancement of labor force capacity in the Dominican Republic. Ms. Stefancyk highlighted GFDD’s decade worth of experience coordinating and implementing internships through its InteRDom Program. InteRDom carries out work in 14 fields that have been identified as critical development areas by the Ministry of Labor of the Dominican Republic. In an effort to
duplicate best practices, InteRDom provides orientation, guidance and certification to our over 500 affiliated public, private and non-profit sector institutions, equipping them with the know-how to optimize the contribution of interns to their organizations.

Ms. Stefancyk also expressed support for the innovative actions taken by the Ministry of Labor of the Dominican Republic to improve youth employability and labor force capacity through its Youth and Employment
Program. The initiative, which receives financing from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, partners with INFOTEP (Instituto Nacional de Formación Técnico Profesional) and private sector institutions to provide at-risk youth with job skills training and practical work experience. The program services youth that possess low-levels of education, are unemployed or work in the informal sector, and/or are female heads of households or single

“We argue that internships, when used as a development tool, help to bridge social and demographic divides,” stated Stefancyk. “They provide young people the ability to obtain quality work experience that is beneficial to their professional futures, at a low level of compromise, allowing them to engage in other activities, such as studying. Internships serve to foster a critical transition from school to the labor market,
providing young people with skills desired by employers, frequently not acquired via formal channels of education.”

The discussions that took place during the High-Level Policy Dialogue prior to the General Debate painted a dismal picture of the current state of the global economy, and called for urgent and effective actions in the areas of productive capacity, employment creation, large scale financial reform and social protection measures. The Dialogue
was moderated by Sha Zukang, Under-secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and featured presentations by: Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF); Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization, and Hans Timmer, Director of the Development Prospects Group, World Bank.

Unemployment worldwide has increased by an estimated 27 million from 2007, reaching a record 197 million
in 2011.

Mr. Sha affirmed that the world economy was forecasted to grow by 2.5 percent in 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013. He conveyed that some 45-50 million new jobs needed to be created yearly in order to get back to pre-crisis employment levels. He argued that we are far from achieving this goal, and are at risk of experiencing an ensuing global economic and financial crisis of 2008-2009 proportions. He described the current rates of youth unemployment as
“alarming” and avowed that wage levels were declining.

The Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Min Zhu stressed that the global economy was suffering a “synchronized slowdown.” While developing countries experienced sound growth rates in the face of the crisis, perils such as unstable capital flows and volatile commodity prices threaten to put at risk development gains. He advocated for structural reform, the
establishment and continuation of social protection mechanisms and the fulfillment of donor commitments. Mr. Zhu maintained that the multilateral commitments to the Millennium Development Goals must be upheld, and that future growth must be socially inclusive and environmentally sound. According to the finance expert, despite stimulus packages and monetary easing, economies of scale such as the European Union and the United States continue to be in recession. Meanwhile, emerging economies
such as China, India and Brazil have begun to decelerate.

Mr. Zhu identified deleveraging as a major obstacle, positing that some governments possess sovereign debt equivalent to 300 to 500 percent of the gross domestic product. He reported that austerity measures put in place have done little to alleviate debt levels. He established that both austerity and growth, including “smart social expenditures”, would be needed to destabilize current
economic trends.

He also referenced the IMF’s current engagement with program countries including the Dominican Republic, Zambia and Bulgaria to create social protection mechanism to safeguard against future shocks.

Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General of the WTO, called on Member States to resist protectionist measures. She also outlined means by which the WTO is lending support to Least Developed Countries. These include
duty-free, quota free market access and facilitation of their integration into the Organization.

Hans Timmer, Director of the Development Prospects Group, World Bank reaffirmed that developing countries had fared the crisis better than developed countries because their structural policies, generally speaking, were more forward thinking and not as concentrated on short term solutions. The World Bank executive expressed that after the onset of the 2008-2009 financial
crisis, developing countries, on average, experienced growth rates of 7 percent. He confirmed that these high rates of growth would continue in the coming years, yet warned that developing countries would need to prepare for the arrival of another global financial crisis over the next two decades.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Timmer announced that the World Bank was not able to offer the kind of financial lending to Least Development Countries to cope with the
crisis as they did for Middle Income Countries. Upon the onset of the crisis, the Bank had tripled lending for Middle Income Countries. Unlike capital flows from the World Bank to Middle Income Countries, which come from international market, capital flows coordinated by Bank to the poorest countries are dependent on donor commitments. Mr. Timmer argued that the failure of donors to maintain their commitments has resulted in a very dire problem, which must be urgently addressed.

Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-Managing Director of the IMF, cautioned that the European debt inflation crisis poses an extreme threat to global economic security, and referred to the Chinese economy as “losing steam.” He called for a “universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system,” favorable to all countries.

It was a great honor for GFDD to be able to share its
perspectives on educational advancement, professional training and labor force capacity during such a high level forum. GFDD and FUNGLODE strongly support the United Nations and its different agencies in carrying out their missions and achieving their goals. In 2004, GFDD and FUNGLODE were admitted to the United Nations System as institutions with consultative status, joining the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the
Department of Public Information (DPI), the Global Compact Office (UNGC), and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

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