New York, NY (BBN)- The poorest of the world’s poor deserve immediate support to help them endure the global financial crisis, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top United Nations officials said on Friday.

They also warned that recent hard-won progress on poverty could be lost unless concerted action is taken.

At a meeting of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), which brings together the heads of various UN agencies and entities, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the officials said all countries must take greater steps to ensure that the most vulnerable are not left behind.

“The crisis we are seeing today will impact all countries, developed and developing, but its most serious repercussions will be felt most by those who are least responsible – the poor in developing countries,” the officials said in a joint statement issued in New York tonight after a special CEB session devoted to the impact of the crisis on the UN’s work.

UN chief and other UN officials called on all states, given the recent financial crisis, to reaffirm their commitments and pledges to grant official development assistance (ODA) to needy countries.

The meeting also stressed the importance of a successful conclusion to the so-called Doha round of trade liberalization talks, which have stalled, and urged countries to resist the impulses of protectionism.

On 15 November world leaders – including Mr. Ban – will gather in Washington for a summit to devise ways to respond to the crisis, and Friday’s statement noted that “we reaffirm the need for meaningful, comprehensive and well coordinated reform of the international financial system.”

BBN/SS/SSR/AD-25October08-4:23 PM (BST)