"In Pittsburgh, we will work with the world's largest economies to chart a course for growth that is balanced and sustained," the president told the U.N. General Assembly. "That means vigilance to ensure that we do not let up until our people are back to work. That means taking steps to rekindle demand so that a global recovery can be sustained. And that means setting new rules of the road and strengthening regulation for all financial centers, so that we put an end to the greed and the excess and the abuse that led us into this disaster and prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again."
The idea of a global financial regulator has been met with mixed reviews, with some countries saying it won't work.
"We can't let the need for reform fade as the memory of the crisis recedes," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. "Time is the enemy of reform. As some normalcy returns to our financial system and our economy, we cannot let it be cause for complacency. We must act to correct the regulatory problems that have left our financial system so fragile and prone to future trouble."
Analysts say all eyes will be on Obama to chart out a course on the economy.
"This will be the first time the ball is really in Obama's court," said Steven Schrage, a business analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Security has been tightened in Pittsburgh ahead of the president's arrival, as fired up protestors take to the streets, demanding new jobs and more serious work to tackle climate change.
Some economists are skeptical that anything concrete will come out of the meetings.
"I think they are arriving in Pittsburgh with kind of a self-satisfied smugness," Global Economic Policy Strategist David Smick told ABC News. "It's a, you know, 'We've bought the world economy and financial system back from the brink,' but they haven't dealt with the fundamental problem that got us into this difficulty in the first place."
ABC News' Huma Khan contributed to this report.