Talking in New York in front of over 100 leaders from all over the world, Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called for an answer by the United Nations to the global financial crisis and criticized agricultural subsidies and trade barriers imposed by wealthy nations.
"An alleged populist nationalism that some intend to identify and criticize in the South of the world is openly practiced in rich countries," Lula said, at the opening of debates at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, in New York, this Tuesday, September 23.
The Brazilian president stated that the solutions for the financial crisis must be global and taken within multilateral contexts that are legitimate and trustworthy. "The United Nations is the ultimate multilateral scenario, and it is up to it to summon a strong response to the threats facing us."
He asserted that the only way to fight turbulence in international finance is through determined actions from government leaders, especially in the countries at the center of the crisis. "The lack of regulation benefits risk-takers and opportunists, to the detriment of legitimate companies and workers," he warned.
In his speech, Lula criticized attempts at associating high food prices to biofuel production. "The Brazilian experience proves that producing ethanol from sugarcane and biodiesel reduces dependence on fossil fuels, generates jobs, recovers degraded lands and is fully compatible with expansion of food production."
To the president, aside from weather factors and speculation in agricultural commodities, food inflation is caused by the rising oil price, which influences the costs of fertilizers and transportation.
Lula highlighted that the success of the Doha Round should have a positive impact on food production in impoverished countries, and stated that lots of progress must be made if humanity is to effectively meet the Millennium Goals.
The economic and social progress of Brazil was also mentioned by the president at the UN. "I am proud to say that Brazil is winning the fight against hunger and poverty."
Same as in previous years, Lula was the first president to speak at the opening of the session, immediately after the secretary general at the UN, Ban Ki-moon, and the president of the 63rd session, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann.
The opening ceremony was also attended by the presidents of the United States, George Bush; of France, Nicolas Sarkozy; and of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, among others.