World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) is a joint product of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the five United Nations regional commissions.
It provides an overview of recent global economic performance and short-term prospects for the world economy and of some key global economic policy and development issues. One of its purposes is to serve as a point of reference for discussions on economic, social and related issues taking place in various United Nations entities during the year.
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009
— Advance release of the Global Outlook 2009 —
Launching the "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009
" report in Doha, Qatar, UN chief economist and co-author of the report Rob Vos says it is clear that "we have a house that is still on fire and we need to see how we can put out the fire" and take measures to prevent it from happening again.
The world economy is mired in the severest financial crisis since the Great Depression. WESP of 2006, 2007 and 2008 had already warned of the risks for this to happen. All factors analyzed in those reports have now played out and have pushed the world economy into recession.
Growth in world gross product (WGP) is expected to slow to 1.0 per cent in 2009, a sharp deceleration from the rate of 2.5 per cent estimated for 2008 and well below the more robust pace in previous years. While most developed economies are expected to be in a deep recession, a vast majority of developing countries is experiencing a sharp reversal in the robust growth registered in the period of 2002-2007, indicating a significant setback in the progress made in poverty reduction for many developing countries over the past few years. The prospects for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which did so well on average over the past years, are also deteriorating rapidly. Income per capita for the world as whole is expected to decline in 2009.
The report analyzes in detail the evolution of the global financial crisis during 2008 and the more fundamental factors that led to its build-up. It further assesses the impact on global economic activity, especially in developing countries. The synchronized slowdown in both rich and poor countries is further evidence that the until recently widely held belief that developing country growth would have been "decoupled" from that in the United States and Europe was dangerously misleading. The report also reviews the policy actions so far taken worldwide in response to the global financial crisis.
The report recommends more forceful fiscal policy stimuli need to be taken in an internationally concerted manner in order to prevent the world economy from falling into a much deeper and more prolonged recession. The WESP further details a number of more fundamental reforms to the international financial system that are needed to reduce risks of a recurrence of such a devastating crisis in the future.
The "Global Outlook" chapter of the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009 was released on 1 December 2008. The full report, including regional overviews and detailed trends in global trade and finance, is due out in early January 2009.