The first day featured heavy criticism of the US for not having enough regulations in place to prevent what caused the recession. From CBS News, foreign affairs reporter Pamela Falk gave this anylasis.
On the first day, the message was clear: developing countries are the victims of the financial crisis and they need money. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "surely, if the world can mobilize more than $18 trillion to keep the financial sector afloat, it can find more than $18 billion to keep commitments in Africa."
Security ahead of the "United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development" was tight. New York City Police blocked the perimeter of the U.N., and plans were readied for the red carpet treatment of presidents arriving at the General Assembly.
The problem was, almost no one showed up. Of the 140 nations participating, only a dozen presidents and prime ministers are attending, and it was postponed from early June because the "outcome document" – a set of proposals for the reform of the world financial system – had no consensus.
The draft outcome document proposes debt relief and increased aid to poor countries, "fast-tracked" reform of the Bretton Woods institutions (in particular the IMF), and it calls for expansion of the regulation of credit rating agencies and hedge funds.
Much of the brainpower for the final document came from Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics, who headed a Commission of Experts on Financial and Monetary Reform, who warned of "another debt crisis further along" if industrialized nations do not help poor nations, but his comments were muted compared to his proposal a few months earlier, when he called for a drastic overhaul of the international financial system. (See: "U.N. Recommendation On World Economy: Replace The Dollar")