Higgins to address UN summit on debt and development

President to query sustainability of growth, outline Irish experience of debt and austerity

President Michael D Higgins’s  keynote address will open the 10th debt management meeting of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), being held in Geneva  until Wednesday. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

President Michael D Higgins’s keynote address will open the 10th debt management meeting of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), being held in Geneva until Wednesday. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

President Michael D Higgins is to deliver the opening address this morning at a United Nations conference on debt and sustainable development issues in Geneva.

The president’s keynote address, Issues of Debt Management in the New Context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Challenge of Climate Change, will open the 10th debt management meeting of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), being held here until Wednesday.

The meeting, held every two years, brings together delegations from more than 80 countries and offers a forum for governments, international organisations, the private sector and academia to discuss debt management and sustainable development.

Sustainability of growth

In his address, the President is expected to raise questions about the sustainability of growth in the globalised age and outline Ireland’s experiences with debt and austerity measures during the recent crisis.

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina arrived in Geneva yesterday and were greeted by Patricia O’Brien, Ireland’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva.

The French-speaking Swiss city is the largest location of UN agencies in the world, with almost 10,000 staff members and about 10,000 annual meetings and conferences.

Governed by its 194 member states, Unctad is the UN body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade. It also offers technical assistance to developing countries.