New York, NY (BBN) – Two United Nations officials have called for developed countries to fulfill their aid pledges for developing countries, stressing that without aid, they run the risk of falling behind as the global economic crisis spreads to their nations.

“Fragilities in the global economy, including the risk of spillovers from developed countries, reversals in private capital inflows, exchange rate misalignments and commodity price volatility, continue to hamper [developing countries’] growth prospects,” said President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser in his remarks to the Fifth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development in New York on Wednesday.

In his message, delivered on his behalf by Assembly Vice President Gary Quinlan, Permanent Representative of Australia, Mr. Al-Nasser said that given the current economic environment, it is “critical that developing countries undertake measures to address poverty and expand productive employment opportunities,” but that to do this they will require considerable levels of external assistance.

Mr. Al-Nasser stressed that the current economic downturn will adversely affect foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to developing countries as well as private capital investment, having a potentially destabilizing effect in their economies.

The two-day event provides countries with the opportunity to build up on previous trade agreements and prepare the ground for future negotiations, he added.

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, echoed Mr. Al-Nasser’s remarks adding that developing countries face a “vicious cycle of slow growth, low revenue and high debt.”

Ms. Migiro said developing countries are in need of additional assistance to be able to cope with the impact of the crisis, yet most donor countries are tightening their budgets.

She also emphasized the importance of ensuring that the spillover effects from debt crises in developed countries do not jeopardize debt sustainability in developing countries.

“Fresh efforts are needed to extend debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable countries – and, more broadly, to explore how to deal with debt distress more effectively and fairly,” she noted.

BBN/SSR/AD-08Dec11-1:08 pm (BST)