MONTERREY CONFERENCE ON DEVELOPMENT FINANCING CONCLUDES; PARTICIPANTS RESOLVE TO ERADICATE POVERTY, ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH
During Conference, Statements Made by 51 Presidents, Prime Ministers
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
MONTERREY, 22 March -- The International Conference on Financing for Development, which brought together 51 presidents and prime ministers, numerous finance and foreign ministers, leaders of international organizations and financial institutions, as well as business and civil society leaders, to address the challenges of development financing and poverty alleviation, ended tonight in Monterrey, Mexico, with the closure of its summit segment.
The signal achievement of the Conference was the adoption by acclamation this morning of the Monterrey Consensus, which asserts the international community’s resolve to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development in the context of a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system. The text concludes with a commitment to strengthen the United Nations as the main organization to revamp the international financial system, working with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Conference, which was held from 18 to 22 March in Monterrey, Mexico, was the culmination of a process that began over two years ago with the adoption of General Assembly resolution 54/196 of December 1999. It was mandated to promote international cooperation in six key areas -- mobilizing domestic resources, increasing private international investment, strengthening official development assistance (ODA), increasing market access and ensuring fair trade, solving the debt burden, and improving the coherence of global and regional financial structures and promoting fair representation of developing countries in global decision-making.
Speakers during the Conference called for increased international aid in the form of ODA, foreign direct investment (FDI), and other arrangements, to assist countries in reducing poverty and furthering development. Others stressed the need to forge partnerships and promote cooperation at all levels to achieve sustainable development.
The importance of considering the particularities of States and the efforts they had made to qualify for aid when making policy-decisions was also underscored. Other speakers noted that poverty and inequalities could lead to despair and provide a breeding ground for violence, crime, corruption and terrorism. The need for strong follow-up action to ensure implementation of the goals of the Consensus was emphasized by many.
Vicente Fox, President of Mexico and Conference President, said at the opening of the summit-segment that the leaders attending the Conference should forge a century of bridges, not barriers; meetings, not wars; shared benefits, not isolated efforts. The Conference was an historic opportunity to create a convergence of economic growth and human development, by opening up local development, and promoting economic efficiency and the well-being of citizens. It was time for bold change.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan also attested to the importance of the Conference when he said, "We are here to discuss the fate of people. Not people in the abstract, but million upon million of individual men, women and children."
High-level round-table discussions, on subjects such as coherence and partnership, a variety of side events, and the NGO Forum, moved the discussions forward. A number of press conferences permitted participants to express their views in greater detail.
During this afternoon’s summit-level discussion, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of Haiti, said the spirit of Monterrey could inspire the international community to take the needed steps to address national and international development. He noted the importance of investment in human capital, respect for human rights, combating corruption, working against drug trafficking and ending terrorism. Also essential was the sensible use of resources, with ever-greater transparency, participation and justice.
Kessai Note, President of the Marshall Islands, drew attention to the negative impact of economic growth, citing, in that regard, global warming, excessive pollution of the land, air and water, and depletion of natural resources. He called on the international community to provide adequate financial resources, the transfer of appropriate environmentally sound technologies and assistance for capacity-building for national and regional implementation. The six key areas of the Monterrey Conference were pivotal benchmarks. He strongly encouraged participants to pay close attention to the special needs of the small island developing States.
At the close of its meeting, the Conference adopted a resolution by acclamation expressing its profound gratitude to the Government of Mexico for hosting the Conference. That text, which was introduced by the representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, is contained in document A/CONF.198/L.1.
Also this afternoon, the Conference adopted by acclamation the report on its proceedings, which is contained in document A/CONF.198/L.1. That text was introduced by Hazem Fahmy (Egypt), who was Conference Rapporteur-General. The Conference decided to permit the Rapporteur-General to finalize the report to take into account the final meeting.
The Conference also adopted by acclamation the report of its Credential Committee contained in document A/CONF.198/7.
At the conclusion of the Conference, Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, made closing remarks.
Statements were also made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, the Minister for Planning and Development of Yemen, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of Malawi, the Minister for Finance of Kenya, the Minister for Planning and Development of Eritrea, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, the Minister for Commerce of Cambodia, the Minister for Planning and Finance of Viet Nam, the Minister for Privatization of India, and the Senior Minister in charge of the Coordination of Government Action, Planning and Development of Benin (on behalf of the least developed countries).
Further statements were made by the Minister for Finance and Revenue of Myanmar, the Minister for Finance of Iceland, the Minister for Finance and Treasury of the Maldives, the Minister for Finance of Slovenia, the Secretary of State for Finance and Economic Affairs of the Gambia, the Minister for Planning of Antigua and Barbuda, the Minister for External Relations of Brazil, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Minister in charge of Economic Development of Burkina Faso, the Deputy Minister for Finance of Brunei Darussalam, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain, the
Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, Monaco, Namibia, Cyprus, Belarus, Syria, Andorra, Sudan and Grenada.
Representatives of the business and civil society forums also spoke.
Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, served as President of the Conference. Jorge G. Castañeda Gutman, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Francisco Gil Diaz, Minister for Finance; and Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, Minister for Trade of Mexico served as Co-Presidents of the ministerial segment of the Conference.
Miguel Hakim Simon, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs; Agustin Cartens, Vice-Minister for Finance; and Luis Fernando de la Calle, Vice-Minister for Trade of Mexico, served as Co-Presidents of the high-level segment of the Conference.
Vice-Presidents of the Conference were Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Sudan, Namibia, Bangladesh, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Chile, El Salvador, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Denmark, France, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
Mr. Fahmy (Egypt) served as Conference Rapporteur-General.
Conference Work Programme
The summit-level segment of the International Conference on Financing for Development met this afternoon to conclude its general exchange of views.
JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE, President of Haiti, said that while his country was rich in culture and history, economic indicators placed it among the least developed countries in the world. One fifth of the world still lived in extreme poverty, he noted. The foreign debt burden brought great pain to many. The spirit of Monterrey could inspire the international community to take the needed steps to address national and international development. He noted the importance of investment in human capital, respect for human rights, combating corruption, working against drug trafficking and ending terrorism. Also essential was the sensible use of resources, with ever-greater transparency, participation and justice.
To achieve sustainable development, his country resolved to keep the doors of dialogue always open, he said. He noted that elections had been scheduled for 2002 or early 2003, which were being held in the spirit of political openness and compromise. The closer Haiti came to the end of crisis, the more it wished to thank all those friends in the international community who were helping it to emerge. Indeed, solidarity was exceptionally important, he said, citing his Government’s relationship with the Dominican Republic.
Haiti was committed to promoting the market and preparing a framework for private-public partnership, economic and human growth. He was happy to see rays of hope in the shadow of Monterrey. Haiti would warmly welcome all who planned to visit it on its bicentennial anniversary.
KESSAI NOTE, President of the Marshall Islands, said the global community was undergoing a transformation, with the twin processes of disintegration and integration accelerating daily. Global warming, excessive pollution of the land, air and water, and depletion of natural resources were occurring in the name of economic growth. That growth was both inequitable and unsustainable, and had caused widespread poverty and misery for the vast majority of people. Over past decade, there had been more United Nations conferences than ever before to debate critical issues. Still, the greatest obstacle to development was the lack of adequate financial resources.
He said that levels of official development assistance (ODA) were unsatisfactory. He, therefore encouraged the developed countries that had not reached their target to make every effort to do so. "Agenda 21" was still at the conceptualization stage of implementation, and commitments made at the world conferences had been mainly rhetorical. His country had survived mainly on external funding sources, but its financing needs for national development had increased considerably. That was a common dilemma faced by developing States, particularly the small island development States.
He called on the international community to provide adequate financial resources, the transfer of appropriate environmentally sound technologies and assistance for capacity-building for national and regional implementation. The six key areas of the Monterrey Conference were pivotal benchmarks, and he strongly encouraged participants to pay close attention to the special needs of the small island developing States.
JOHN BRICEÑO, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, said the ability of developing countries to build the capacity for growth, with mechanisms in place to benefit from globalization and ensure that their people fully participated in the global economy, was crucial. Efforts to create fair trade conditions or to generate more investment were unsustainable if they ignored the human factor. Investment in trade liberalization and global participation must be guided by commitments to improve the lives of people while reducing overburdening debt.
For his country, the way forward included fair trade, debt reduction and increased investment with external financing by all relevant stakeholders. Like all other economies in transition, Belize believed that trade was the engine that would generate the much-needed financial resources crucial for its development. While believing in the promise of development through free trade, he also recognized that free trade was only possible when there was fair trade. Therefore, he called on development partners, who consistently urged countries like his, to liberalize their economies, to work with them to make trade more just and equitable by removing trade barriers.
AHMED MOHAMED SOFAN, Minister for Planning and Development of Yemen, said resources must be pooled and political will forged to create new partnerships between developed and developing countries. The right policies must be adopted by developing countries that would attract international flows and private investment. Foreign debt should be cancelled, he stressed. While affirming that the main responsibility for socio-economic policies lay with national governments, it could not be denied that domestic economies were linked with international ones.
The challenges engendered by globalization were so complicated that national efforts must be complemented by a complementary international economic environment, he said. A comprehensive approach to the challenges faced was needed. Yemen was a least developed country, therefore, its development efforts took place in very difficult circumstances. The Government pursued a comprehensive policy for development in all spheres. Measures had been taken for reform in the economic and financial spheres to promote financial stability. A law for investments had been adopted to guarantee a smoother road for investors.
Yemen had satisfied all conditions for entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and awaited its admission, he said, adding that Yemen would issue a strategy for poverty reduction this year. The system was based on political pluralism. Parliamentary elections had been held by the Government, and it had adopted measures of decentralization. He noted that the Government had approved a policy to deal with corruption and to promote good governance. The exercise of resolve and political will would be necessary to implement the Monterrey Consensus, he added.
FRIDAY JUMBE, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of Malawi, said the Conference had opened the gates of hope for the poor people of the world. It was a declaration that the leadership was committed to the eradication of poverty, sustainable growth and a fully equitable global economic system. Discussions during the week had focused on ODA, for which there was a need for considerable resources. In that respect, he welcomed the announcements by some developed nations to increase ODA, but, for a least developed country like Malawi, with 65 per cent of its population living below the poverty line, significant amounts of ODA were needed. Moreover, any conditionalities attached to the aid should be flexible.
Indeed, he said, ODA was used to contradict the very objective of poverty eradication. It should be given in the context of a country’s needs and priorities. Malawi had been striving for good governance and transparency, among the meaningful prerequisites for sustainable economic development. But double standards often arose to the disadvantage of the recipient nations. International financial institutions should adopt measures to prevent that. Adequate resources were needed to support the structures of good governance. A minimum of $4 billion was required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Malawi. When the new Government came to power in 1994, poverty eradication was pronounced as the overarching development strategy. That national political will required parallel commitment by the cooperating partners.
CHRISTOPHER OBURE, Minister for Finance of Kenya, said that the Millennium Declaration had endorsed the international development goals for 2015 and highlighted the task of mobilizing the financial resources needed to achieve those goals. In line with that declaration and the new African initiative under the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), he believed in the need to reconfigure the global financial architecture and trade arrangements. In that process, Africa must not remain marginalized and should be firmly integrated into the world economy.
The major challenge confronting developing countries was the increasing levels of poverty, he said. Meagre resources had so far been committed to reducing the debt burden, improving market access and building capacity. Even after completion of the comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, resources had remained a constraint as development partners had not delivered on their commitments. A genuine approach was needed to fight poverty.
Conditionalities tied to the release of aid should be realistic, achievable and sufficiently flexible to take into account changing conditions and circumstances. He also advocated a more pragmatic approach in assessing achievement of targets to take into account overall progress, rather than insistence on achievement of individual benchmarks. He urged development partners and particularly the Bretton Woods institutions to be more sensitive to the needs of developing countries.
ABDURRAHMAN M. SHALGHEM, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, said the mobilization of financial resources constituted an integral part of the comprehensive efforts that must be undertaken to achieve growth, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. Such efforts could not be made except through the establishment of a conducive local environment in which all members and groups of society participated in the setting of general policies.
The mobilization of international resources for development complemented national and international initiatives through the flows of private international capital and an increase of ODA, which, in turn, augmented local resources, he said. Such assistance remained the biggest source of external financing for developing countries in Africa, the least developed countries, and small island countries, among others. Libya called upon the developed countries to exert their utmost efforts to implement the internationally agreed ODA targets. It also called upon the recipient and donor countries, as well as the international institutions, to work together to render ODA more effective.
He said the alleviation of the burden of external debt played a major role in the liberalization of resources that could be subsequently invested in activities commensurate with the achievement of sustainable growth and development. He, therefore, called for the adoption of more national and international measures in that respect, including, if necessary, the cancellation of debt and other arrangements aiming at the alleviation of poverty in the recipient countries. He noted the negative impact of economic sanctions on many countries, including his own.
WOLDAL FUTUR, Minister for Planning and Development of Eritrea, associated himself with the statement made on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China. Extreme poverty, deprivation and marginalization were morally indefensible and contributed to global instability. He appreciated the general consensus to establish a more effective developed/developing country partnership, based on the idea that development schemes would be anchored by national leadership and ownership. Also of value was the notion that trade would be the future engine for growth, as well as the trend to provide additional aid to those countries that undertook reforms and poverty-reduction programmes.
He said a world free of abject poverty, disease, and ignorance was a much safer and more peaceful world. He, therefore, endorsed the Monterrey Consensus without hesitation. The Millennium Development Goals were central to Eritrea’s development agenda. Upon its independence in 1991, it had scant national resources and very little or no external assistance. Priority was given to rebuilding the country and establishing the necessary framework for achieving development. Poverty reduction continued to be at the core of the development strategy and was enshrined in the new Constitution.
The Government’s overarching development efforts were aimed at accelerated economic growth led by the private sector, he said. Among the strategies was the establishment of a conducive export-oriented environment and raising the skills and well-being of Eritreans by enhancing education and improving the provision of health care and clean water, among other services. It targeted a level of "zero tolerance" for corruption in both the private and public sectors and the creation of good governance.
FAYZA ABOULNAGA, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that the Monterrey Conference related to the sustainable development objectives to be dealt with in Johannesburg. The great challenge of poverty eradication was even greater for developing countries and a new phase of development cooperation was needed. Financing for development offered the possibility for domestic reforms. The door must be left open for developing countries in terms of the same opportunities that had been available to developed countries.
Aid for development would stimulate private sector flows, she said. In the past years, sustained efforts had been seen on the part of developing countries in creating a favourable environment for investment. The reform and transformation of structures involved a period of "trial and error". The international community, particularly the developed countries, must take on their responsibilities and support those efforts.
She said that it was clear that ODA continued to be very important in financial flows as it helped to finance projects and programmes. Official development assistance must be increased and be more efficient and less tied to different conditions and constraints. Monterrey helped to clarify several things, including the need for improving coherence and coordination among national and international institutions.
CHAM PRASIDH, Minister for Commerce of Cambodia, said that the solutions of the Rio World Summit had not been comprehensive enough to help lift the least developed countries out of poverty. Even given the talk about lowering tariff barriers, simplifying import procedures, and so forth, protectionism was very much in play. The least developed countries had not performed well because they had not been able to build their supply capacity or meet international standards. He, therefore, proposed that further consideration be given to increasing ODA, aimed at building trade capacity in those nations. The Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative was like a "horse race". Why were the rich countries unwilling to reward those that had tried hard not to be heavily indebted? he asked.
Formerly, he said, mainstreaming trade into development policies had been neglected. Now, people were acknowledging that trade was a tool for development, the engine of growth. The integrated framework on trade designed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, and the WTO was the right mechanism to assist the least developed countries master their own development. That initiative deserved further consideration. Making voices heard at the Conference was one thing; harnessing the political will and courage to shape a better future was another. He counted on the commitment of the leaders of the industrialized nations to keep their promises.
TRAN XUAN GIA, Minister for Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, said his country’s success in development and fighting poverty was the result of its determination to reform, along with a pro-active approach to economic integration and promotion of a market economy. He noted that Viet Nam had received significant and effective development aid from the international community. Thanks to close coordination between the Government and its local authorities with overseas governments and international organizations, development resources had been effectively utilized.
Viet Nam was still facing many challenges in hunger eradication and poverty reduction efforts, given that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was only $450 per annum. His country had, therefore, adopted a policy to mobilize internal resources and expand and improve the effectiveness of international cooperation, including foreign direct investment (FDI), ODA and international trade.
To attract FDIs, he said, Viet Nam continued to improve the investment climate -- to be more open, more attractive and more competitive. To expand international trade, it was actively negotiating for entrance into the WTO and, hence, requested support in that regard from countries around the world. He called for a concrete commitment for rapid increase in financial resources to meet the demand for reaching the Millennium Development Goals.
ARUN SHOURIE, Minister for Privatization of India, said the primary responsibility for improving the state of affairs of countries lay within their own societies. Countries had to mobilize their own resources in greater measure. They had to ensure that those resources, as well as what was received in aid, was used better.
The chasms between countries could not be bridged, and the campaign against the impoverishment and indignity that afflicted vast sections of humanity could not be won without resources. The announcements that had been made by the United States and the European Union were most welcome. They were the "headline news" of the Conference. At the same time, it must be remembered that they were but a fourth or fifth of what panel after panel had estimated was required for meeting the Millennium Goals. "We must proceed on the assessment of the leaders of the United States and the European Union that this is the most that the peoples in those countries can be persuaded to part with in the coming years by way of aid." That assessment redoubled the argument for innovative methods of raising resources.
He hoped that a substantial part of those enhanced flows would be channelled through multilateral development agencies. In turn, the multilateral agencies should deepen the introspection they had commenced about the policies and conditions they had been prescribing.
BRUNO AMOUSSOU, Senior Minister in Charge of the Coordination of Government Action, Planning and Development of Benin, speaking for the least developed countries, said the international community had committed itself to supporting the outcome of the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries. That Conference had laid the foundation for a world partnership that would help create the conditions for sustained growth and poverty eradication. The least developed countries had applied measures to eliminate structural deficits by implementing results-oriented policies to create better conditions for their people and people everywhere. Eliminating poverty in least developed countries would increase the purchasing power of millions and improve the standards of living everywhere, which would strengthen security worldwide. Eliminating disease in those countries would promote the health of all.
The Brussels Action Programme promoted the need to mobilize resources for development, he said. The current Conference was the logical and complementary follow-up to Brussels, as it called for the real involvement of all international institutions involved in development finances. The ODA remained a necessary source of financing, he added. It was, therefore, necessary to carefully consider its quantitative and qualitative effects. There must be a significant and real enhancement of ODA -- there was no need to elaborate on the benefits that would accrue from such a step.
Debt repayment was a heavy burden and was one of the major causes of the failure of previous development programmes, he said. Measures to help resolve the debt problem, while appreciated, were not sufficient. A prompt and complete cancellation of all bilateral public debt and all multilateral debt would make a strong contribution to the eradication of poverty. He appealed to the developed countries, particularly the Group of 8, to make an increase in their contributions to multilateral institutions. Programmes in health, education, nutrition, and other human resources areas must be supported. He also stressed the need to increase flows of FDI.
U KHIN MAUNG THEIN, Minister for Finance and Revenue of Myanmar, said that, as a developing country, Myanmar had not been able to escape the recent international economic and financial turmoil, but it had undertaken a number of systematic steps to mitigate the negative effects. Although the investment and savings ratio to GDP was still low compared to other countries in the region, there had been a noticeable increase in the past 10 years. To finance development, the Government had been laying down sound macroeconomic policies and was striving to improve investment and savings, to catch up to its neighbours.
He said that, although Myanmar had always met its obligations, international organizations had suspended their assistance since 1988. The success achieved thus far had been gained through national efforts and allowing wider participation of the private sector. At the same time, it had been encouraging private financial institutions to extend loans and advances at concessional rates to the productive sectors to stimulate growth. The imposition of sanctions on developing nations had limited the much-needed foreign private financial flows and investment into those countries. To sustain economic growth, those sanctions should be lifted. They blocked productivity and did not benefit either the imposing countries or the imposed ones. They also had negative impacts on the countries that had economic relations with the imposed countries.
Myanmar was cooperating closely with other member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to facilitate the smooth flow of trade and services. But developing countries were facing trade barriers and restrictions. He urged the developed countries to open up their markets further for products from developing countries. Official development assistance was of crucial importance. He encouraged developed countries to fulfil their obligations in that regard. Efforts should also be made to reduce the debt burden of the poor countries. He called for relief and cancellation of bilateral debts of the developing countries so their external debts could be contained at sustainable levels. Accelerated debt relief complemented by increased ODA would assist the developing countries in their quest for sustained economic growth.
GEIR H. HAARDE, Minister for Finance of Iceland, said that it must be recognized that the global economic environment was a decisive factor in development. It was well known that unimpeded international trade was an engine for growth and development, and that FDI was a means for transferring capital, technology and knowhow. To take advantage of those opportunities, the developing countries and the economies in transition must be fully integrated into the global trading system and assisted in building a domestic environment that attracted investment and fostered economic activity.
It was imperative to focus specifically on harnessing the forces of globalization to the benefit of the least developed countries, he said. While there were no easy solutions, many small things could add up to something bigger. A small country like his could make a difference. Least developed countries should receive duty-free and quota-free access for their exports. Iceland had granted unilateral tariff concessions to the least developed countries, putting them on par with its partners in the European economic area. He encouraged those developed countries that had not already done so to improve their market access for exports from the least developed countries.
It was his hope that external debt relief would enable the poorest nations to use the funds that had been channelled into debt servicing to stimulate economic growth, combat poverty and strengthen their infrastructure
MOHAMED JALEEL, Minister for Finance and Treasury of the Maldives, said the Conference was taking place in a context of global economic downturn. His country’s economy had been seriously affected by recent events. The crippling economic realities being faced by many developing countries must be addressed. There was no substitute for finding additional resources. Funding global public goods, particularly those that would lead to arresting environmental degradation, must be explored. He noted that structural reforms had been undertaken by his Government to attract foreign investment and that they had had a measure of success. However, that success had prompted some donors to withdraw their aid. The circumstances of individual countries must considered when general decisions were taken.
As had been pointed out, attaining the Millennium Goals would require at least an additional $15 billion in ODA per annum, he said. He called on governments to reach the target of 0.7 per cent. He also called on recipients to put in place the necessary conditions to make ODA use more efficient.
ANTON ROP, Minister for Finance of Slovenia, said the Conference was an opportunity to get behind the commitments made by world leaders and enhance development cooperation. The outcome of the Conference must be a clear commitment towards a new partnership for development cooperation. There had been both positive and negative experiences from which to learn to streamline future cooperation. Slovenia’s experiences as a recipient country had assured it of the critical role of cooperation.
At the same time, it was also an emerging donor country, he continued. It was involved in capacity and infrastructure building. International cooperation efforts to which his country had contributed had helped to stimulate FDI in the region. The full implementation of the commitments made in Doha must be ensured. Slovenia had a free trade agreement with the countries in its region, which had proven to be mutually beneficial. It had also joined international institutions such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In order to link commitment and implementation, it was necessary to build on the consensus reached in Monterrey.
FAMARA JATTA, Secretary of State for Finance and Economic Affairs of the Gambia, said that the declining level of ODA was of great concern to the developing countries, especially the least developed. The developed partners had not fulfilled their commitments in that regard. Doing so now would lead to an eventual phase-out of dependency on aid. External debt was another serious problem, for which a range of practical, realistic and comprehensive solutions was needed. Debt relief, including debt cancellation, should be provided immediately for the highly indebted countries, and the HIPC initiative should be fully funded. Substantial new external financing in support of national efforts was also desperately needed.
He said his country had been making serious efforts to expand its natural resource base and improve the climate for trade and investment, among other things. Dramatic results had occurred as a result of reform measures that emphasized market-based mechanisms for the allocation of resources. The reforms included liberalization of trade and the transformation of the private sector into the main engine of growth. Despite individual steps, the most import determinant of success on a sustainable basis was a favourable international environment. If the Conference could lay that foundation and if the developed countries unlocked the necessary financial resources within a specific timeframe, then Monterrey could be deemed a success.
GASTON BROWNE, Minister for planning of Antigua and Barbuda, said the conference was an opportunity for the international community to affirm the importance it attached to global development. Now was the time to show the world that international community was serious about addressing poverty and development.
The Consensus failed to acknowledge the heterogeneous nature of developing countries and did not take account of the particularities of small island developing States, he said. His country was aware of its obligations and had optimally used ODA and FDI to build infrastructure, with unprecedented rates of growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, however, without ODA, growth had slowed. His country had played by the rules of globalization, while the developed countries had exempted themselves, particularity in the areas of agriculture and textiles. He supported the efforts to create a sound international financial architecture, but those efforts must be made equitably and in the spirit of partnership.
One of the challenges facing his country was the enormous debt burden. He called on the international community to expand the HIPC Debt Initiative to include relief of vulnerable small island States. What good would the Consensus serve if it allowed middle-income countries to sink into poverty? he asked. He was hopeful that Monterrey would be the point of departure for a partnership between developed and developing countries.
CELSO LAFER, Minister for External Relations of Brazil, said poverty had become a political problem on a global scale and a catalyst for international insecurity. It was self-deluding to believe that the invisible hand of the market would solve the problem. The socio-economic system must be inclusive and responsive to the urgent needs of the poor. The Monterrey Consensus was an important step towards reaching a balance between macroeconomic and goals and establishing the foundations for a real and new "growth pact", in which financing for development was a crucial element. At the same time, each government had to accept its responsibilities.
He said that, although adequate national policies were part of the solution, those were not enough. There must also be good governance at the international level. The serious effect of the decline of ODA should not be underestimated. The global economy’s ability to recover depended largely on restoring the vitality and predictability of financial flows. Growth among the emerging markets would have significant effects on the global economy, because those markets had the largest potential for consumption growth. The decision of the United States and the European Union to increase ODA was a positive step, but only very few countries had met the target. To restore confidence, the international decision-making process should be democratized, and mechanisms to prevent and manage crisis situations should be strengthened.
TIMOTHY HARRIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, said it had become clear that external developments and actions had assumed even greater importance than domestic policies and decision in determining the economic performance of small island States. His country had ventured into international financial services to diversify its economy and supplement income, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had stifled growth through its harmful tax-competition initiative. Saint Kitts and Nevis had held dearly to the tourism sector, but within one month of that gruesome terrorist attack on 11 September, tourism earnings had declined by about 40 per cent; the country was still struggling to accelerate the recovery process.
Those problems, combined with a spate of natural disasters and a volcanic eruption in a member territory, had pushed debt levels well beyond the targets the country had set for itself, he said. The resources to bolster the economies of small island States and mitigate the risk associated with globalization were well beyond the capability of their tiny, fragile economies, especially when those economies must be restructured on a path of transition and reform. That was a strong case for ODA, which was not a handout, but part of the cost of securing a peaceful and stable world economy. The international community must not only devote resources to alleviating the problems of the highly indebted poor countries, but must do everything in its power to ensure that that list was not expanded.
SHIGERU UETAKE, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said he was speaking as the representative of the world’s largest donor. Japan understood from its own experience how important ownership and partnership were in a nation’s development. When his country had rebuilt itself and had become prosperous, it had embarked on its own programme of international assistance. It was greatly encouraged when its saw its South-East Asian friends going from recipients to donors of aid. Also, it had organized the First Tokyo Conference on African Development in 1993. To encourage further efforts aimed at African development, Japan would host the Third Conference in the latter half of 2003.
The climate around development issues had changed significantly, he said. Poverty eradication and the promotion of sustainable growth in developing countries were of great importance. To reduce poverty and achieve development, it was essential to set clear goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals. Particularly important for achieving those goals were the areas of education, health care and the environment. In addition, it was important to adopt a people-centered approach. In 2000, Japan had disbursed $13.5 billion in international aid. Currently, it found itself in a difficult economic situation. Once it recovered, Japan was determined to play a leading role in addressing the world’s development needs.
ANNE KONATE, Minister in charge of Economic Development of Burkina Faso, said the current level of poverty in the world was a serious and unacceptable infringement on human dignity, as well as a threat to international peace and security. All must take part in decision-making, as well as in the implementation of policies. Determination was needed to make this century one of prosperity for all.
The Conference must take operational measures and firm commitments if a positive outcome was to be achieved, she said. Official development assistance must be increased, must become more effective and must have fewer conditions placed on it. Her country had initiated institutional, political and financial reforms. Also, a vast programme of macroeconomic structural reforms had been undertaken. The Government had made considerable efforts to create favourable conditions for private investment -- the engine of development. Those efforts had not been rewarded -- FDI in Burkina Faso was still very low.
Trade was the most important mechanism for mobilizing resources, she said. Nevertheless, foreign trade remained low in her country. Official development assistance was its main source of financing. If donors had respected the commitment to 0.7 per cent ODA, the Conference might not have been necessary. She drew attention to the serious problem posed by her country’s debt and noted a plan of action taken to combat it. She supported the HIPC Debt Initiative, but stressed that it was limited. It should be made more efficient. A follow-up mechanism to ensure the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus should be set up.
PEHIN DATO AHMAD WALLY SKINNER, Deputy Minister for Finance of Brunei Darussalam, said Monterrey was the beginning of a long process that would eventually enable the developing countries to move away from under-development and poverty and to rebuild their confidence to face the challenges of a new economy. However, the path leading to the Conference had not been easy. The road ahead was equally challenging, for the priorities and levels of development were wide and deep. The global community must work together to translate the Consensus into action plans.
Despite having a central role to play, the United Nations could not do it alone, he said. It required the active involvement of other key international and regional organizations and institutions. When all was said and done, the Conference was about the call for more effective and cohesive partnerships at all levels.
SHAIKH EBRAHIM BIN KHALIFA AL-KHALIFA, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain, said investments should be encouraged, as should expansion of the banking and financial sectors. Bahrain had been one of the first nations to enact legislation to combat money laundering. A law was presently being considered to combat terrorism and eliminate its funding. Developing countries needed adequate support from the international community, particularly from the most developed countries and international financial institutions, which should play a broader role in development, including increasing financial and technical support.
He said FDI should be directed to developing countries. Those nations needed more open markets for their products and an easing of restrictions. The developed countries should eliminate the debts of the least developed countries and improve coordination with their developing partners and international financial institutions. The IMF had a very important role to play in bringing about international financial stability and improving global economic governance and the management of global crises by setting up an early warning system, defining performance criteria, and creating oversight bodies. It should also secure the flow of needed short-term capital.
The World Bank should increase its volume of development assistance, and cancel debt, whenever possible, he said. The WTO should devote one of their global meetings solely to financing development, focusing on the problem of pricing primary commodities and raw materials and opening the markets of the developed countries to the products of the developing ones. Each institution should establish new mechanisms to follow-up implementation of conference decisions in the area of finance, each in their own competence.
NICOLA YANKOV, Deputy Minister for Economy of Bulgaria, said that, as an economy in transition, Bulgaria attached key importance to preserving macroeconomic stability, the creation of a growth-friendly environment, trade liberalization and high levels of FDI as instruments for ensuring economic growth. The Bulgarian economy depended strongly on foreign trade and, like most small countries with open economies, was interested in further trade liberalization and the elimination of trade barriers. A new round of multilateral trade negotiations should be launched within the WTO. Indeed, the globalization process called for the WTO to develop its focus.
His country had been defending the idea that specific norms for separate categories of countries should be established within the WTO, and new special rights and privileges should be provided on the basis of objective criteria and economic indicators, he said. A universal, open, non-discriminatory and just multilateral trade system based on rules would provide a significant impetus to the process of global development, bringing benefits to all countries regardless of their level of development.
PATRICK KALIFUNGWA, Deputy Minister for Finance and National Planning of Zambia, said the Conference was long overdue. The last half century had witnessed extraordinary economic and social gains in many countries. Those gains had, however, been marked by regional disparities. While the developed countries and some developing countries had made phenomenal gains, the situation in much of the developing world did not match what had been achieved at the global level.
The paradigm of external aid as an engine for development seemed to have broken down over the last 40 years for a number of countries, especially the majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. By some estimates, less than 35 per cent of ODA went to developing countries’ financing of investment. The larger share went to administration of aid, both in the recipient and donor countries. Globalization was further threatening to put the countries of sub-Saharan Africa at the periphery of world economic activity.
He underlined the importance of ownership and leadership of visions of development by the recipient countries of ODA. Elements of Zambia’s vision on ODA included the belief that it should be targeted to reduce poverty and that all aid resources should be channelled through the national budget system. Aid resources that were channelled outside the national budget system tended to undermine it. Even as this Conference looked at new measures to generate resources to finance development, it should also explore how developing countries could participate more effectively and meaningfully in the development process. That called for global good governance to be put on the agenda.
ABDULAZIZ BIN NASSER AL-SHAMSI (United Arab Emirates) reaffirmed the need for the international community to find the necessary political will to commit to a clear, comprehensive strategy to finance development in developing countries. He called on the developed countries and donor institutions to bear their responsibilities within the framework of three principal elements: first, it was necessary to implement the commitment to earmark 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) as ODA for developing countries and 0.15-0.20 per cent for the least developed countries, in addition to increasing other kinds of unofficial assistance and improve the means of delivery.
Secondly, the application of innovative mechanisms to deal with the problem of foreign loans was needed, particularly for the least developed countries, either by the reduction, cancellation, mobilization or change of those loans to finance development in those countries. Thirdly, the establishment of a multilateral comprehensive commercial system in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination and fairness among countries would ensure the delivery of developing country exports to international markets, and the attraction of capital and investments and modern technologies.
JACQUES BOISSON (Monaco) said that given its history, his country was well placed to understand the problems of developing countries. His Government was aware of the exceptional importance of the Conference and firmly supported the Consensus, which would help in the implementation of the goals undertaken at the Millennium Summit.
Monaco, itself of modest size, was particularly interested in the situation of small island States and least developed countries, and had encouraged non-governmental organizations to take the same interest. In the face of globalization, Monaco was convinced that ODA must be accompanied by FDI. In that regard, institutional, legal, administrative, scientific and technical establishments must be established in developing countries. Functional literacy projects and adult education projects must also be encouraged.
The question of debt was a great concern to his Government and must be followed up on as a priority, he said. Monaco was devoted to respect for nature as an inherent element of sustainable development. The discussion on strengthening global public goods must be pursued.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said Africa, and specifically Namibia, was facing problems of low economic growth, high unemployment and poverty rates, and unequal income distributions. The low economic growth stemmed from a narrow production base and previous deliberate political activity, which marginalized most of the population from fully participating in the economy. In Namibia, the unemployment rate was at 34 per cent. Most African countries believed that coherent and consistent macroeconomic policies were vital to mobilizing domestic resources, increasing productivity, reducing capital flight and inducing private sector initiative, as well as attracting foreign investment and other private financial flows.
He said his country had adopted a principle aimed at realizing the country’s human development goals and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Reducing poverty was central to Namibia’s development efforts. It had achieved some success, including increased access to school and their improved quality. It would continue to promote civil education for the prevention of infectious disease, especially HIV/AIDS, which continued to decimate productive citizens at alarming rates. Relevant international and regional institutions should apply measures to bolster national efforts. The role of ODA could not be overemphasized, and unsustainable debt must be resolved.
SOTOS ZACHEOS (Cyprus) said the international community bore the collective responsibility to uphold the principles of promoting human dignity, equality and fairness and to ensure that globalization became a positive force for all. Development meant breaking away from the misery affecting millions around the world. The developing countries, with the support of their developed partners, had an obligation to their people to deal decisively with issues of good governance, corruption, human rights, social stability and gender equality, leading to a domestic environment enabling both the mobilization of domestic resources and the attraction of foreign investment.
The developed countries could play a significant role in creating an international environment that was conducive to development and poverty elimination, he said. Any reform of the international financial system must address the specific needs of developing countries, whose participation in global reform should be welcomed. He called to public and private direct investments. Declining ODA levels must be reversed, and the effectiveness of aid received must be improved. In addition, there was a growing need for deeper, faster and broader debt relief. In that regard, the HIPC initiative should be fully implemented. Ensuring broader market access to developing countries was also essential. Particular attention should be given to the small island States.
SERGEI LING (Belarus) said the Consensus was comprehensive and balanced. Many of its commitments could be seen in the day-to-day policy of his Government, which attached great importance to trade and investment. Measures for the gradual liberalization of the economy and efforts to alleviate the situation of the country’s poorest had been undertaken, he noted. He supported the concept that each countries’ situation must be taken into account when decisions were taken -- there could be no one-size-fits-all policy.
Belarus generally supported the ideas expressed in the statements made during the Conference by the IMF and the World Bank, but wished to underline the need for the extension of timely support to developing countries and countries in transition. If Belarus had the requisite resources to resolve the issues facing it, it would not have been asking for help -- it would have been a donor.
Belarus had met all the key criteria for cooperation, but did not yet have full access to markets or financial resources, he said. As had been stated, actions must be commensurate with words. He hoped the outcome would support wider access to markets. Predictability of financial resources for technical capacities was key. He underscored his country’s awareness of being part of the world economy and stressed its readiness to work with its partners to ensure stability.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that for the twenty-first century to truly be one of development, the developing and developed countries must fulfil their commitments. Also, financial and technical cooperation was a must for development. The servicing of debt was posing a heavy burden for developing countries. Leaders had confirmed in the Millennium Declaration their determination to achieve just peace in all parts of the world. They had reiterated in the Consensus that development and peace were interdependent. Nevertheless, the absence of peace in the Middle East was a major obstacle to sustainable development and contributed to creating a climate of instability. It also adversely affected any attempt to attract investment.
He emphasized the importance of opening markets of developed countries to the products of developing countries and lifting tariff barriers. It was also important to increase the current momentum in the pursuit of poverty alleviation. Achieving a just solution to the debt burden was an essential element of combating poverty. Countries must respond to the call of Monterrey to achieve the 0.7 per cent target. True development needed genuine political will and enabling financing.
JAUME GAYTAN-SANSA, Director of Multilateral Affairs and Development Cooperation of Andorra, said that financing for development implied a sustainable mobilization of resources at both national and international levels. On the one hand, there should be good governance at the national level, which would facilitate investment in basic social and economic services. A sustainable investment in human capital was essential for eliminating poverty. However, a solid basis was only the beginning of any construction. That was why, on the other hand, every national effort should be complemented by harmonized management of international flows of private capital and international financial stability.
Also, he continued, the level of external debt might compromise the mobilization of national and international resources in the long run. A sustainable financing of external debt was a good tool to mobilize resources allocated for public and private investment to eliminate poverty and obtain sustainable development. The HIPC Initiative needed the firm support of the international community if the countries in question were to have a chance of improving and strengthening their development policies.
MUBARAK HUSSEIN RAHMTALLA (Sudan) said his country, which was situated at the heart of the African continent, reiterated the determination of the African leaders to help in determining their own future. He called on the rest of the world to support their efforts, which included committing to good governance and improving the atmosphere of investment, with a priority on human resources.
The Government of the Sudan had achieved a high rate of development with a lowering of unemployment and legislation that had given benefits to many investors, he said. Success on the national level depended on efforts of development partners, who must help recipients improve their capabilities. Those partners must move forward in the area of trade liberalization with the conviction that without opening markets developing countries would not be able to develop. Efforts must be made by rich countries to decrease the debt of poorer countries, which had reached $350 billion per annum.
The tragic events of 11 September, which were condemned by the Sudan, could not be a justification for stopping development partners from moving forward to implement the Millennium Goals and those outlined in the Monterrey Consensus, he said. He hoped the Consensus would be the first step in the fight against world poverty.
LAMUEL STANISLAUS (Grenada) delivered the statement of his Foreign Minister, Elvin G. Nimrod. He said that financing for development and sustainable development were two sides of the same coin -- poverty eradication, which was key to development, and peace.
The international community, he said, should be concerned that poor developing countries were compelled to mortgage their future with the high cost of debt servicing, which was a millstone around their necks. Consideration should be given to the internal and external constraints that had caused many developing countries to become trapped in the vicious cycle of debt. Debt servicing could be the Achilles heel of heavily indebted poor countries, whose vulnerability fostered political instability and social unrest.
He said that because of their vulnerabilities, trading partners should liberalize trade in goods and services of particular interest to developing countries. Financing for development, he said, must not be permitted to become a dream deferred, to dry up as a raisin in the sun, as did the new economic order and the peace dividends, which had readily evaporated.
JARDRANKO PRLIĆ, Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said economic growth since the war had been driven primarily by donor-funded reconstruction. In the last two years, GDP growth rates had fallen into single digits. Sources of funding to fuel investment and economic growth were drying up, and the large amount of donor funding was starting to decline as donor fatigue set in and attention was diverted to other regions. A negative trade balance compounded that situation, as imports continued to outstrip exports and the level of FDI remained low. Moreover, the global strategy for the country’s economic development, adopted last year, forecast that the 1990 level of GDP would be reached only at the end of the decade.
He said that after receiving international technical and financial assistance in the last few years, Bosnia and Herzegovina must now assume greater responsibility for its economic and social development. With respect to national reform, certain programmes were already under way, including a decrease of wage taxes, a package of labor laws, reform of the payment system, and transparency and efficiency of public revenues. In the transition to a market economy, critical structural reforms were being implemented, including privatization and the creation of a favourable environment for foreign investment, the development of the private sector, improvement of the regulatory environment, and the creation of a modern banking system. Regional cooperation was a critical element in the country’s recovery, including regional trade liberalization.
RICHARD D. McCormick, President, International Chamber of Commerce, speaking on behalf of the Business Interlocutors, thanked participants for allowing the private sector organizations and their business leaders to work with them. They had taken up the challenge and been active partners in the process. Business recognized that the development of investment opportunities coincided directly with the Conference objective of providing financing for development. Official development assistance played a critical role, but that would never meet the needs of the world’s least developed countries.
He said that the only long-term and sustainable source of development finance was private sector investment, both domestic and international. At the Conference, business had delivered a range of innovative financing mechanisms and practical models for partnerships with governments and international institutions, to actually mobilize that capital. More than 30 concrete proposals had been launched at the Business Forum on the first day. Each one was followed up in the next days during dialogues with partners.
Those proposals, he said, included: financing power, water and infrastructure projects; strengthening small- and medium-sized enterprises through private sector equity funds; incubating local sources of venture capital; enhancing debt and equity financing; linking micro-credit with connectivity to redevelop Afghanistan; establishing a global information clearinghouse to strengthen information, analytics and risk management for countries and investors; enabling international debt work-outs and international bankruptcy mechanisms; and producing investment guides to help the poorest countries attract new investment.
He said that the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD and others, had indicated interest. There were not silver bullets or magic answers here. None of those proposals could be implemented by business alone, however; they needed to take root in each country and required the active participation of governments.
ARJUN KHARKI, representing Rural Reconstruction Nepal, spoke on behalf of the Civil Society Forum. He said that the NGO Caucus stated that it was not part of the Consensus since it was felt that the document was not a sound basis for combating poverty or advancing economic, social and cultural rights. Governments had talked about reforming the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, but that had not been reflected in the document. Also, the adoption of the Consensus in advance of the Conference was undermining the credibility of the process itself. While he appreciated the establishment of the round tables, he did not agree with using them to legitimize the Consensus. The NGO Forum Declaration, which had been presented to the plenary on Monday, contained all their demands.
MONICA VINCENT, representing the Ecumenical Team, also spoke on behalf of the Civil Society Forum. "If you had not heard us, it is because you have refused to listen", she stated. The NGO community intended to stay engaged in all efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, but it should be acknowledged that even if those Goals were achieved, there would still be more than half a billion people living in abject poverty. She hoped that the international community would be spurred by the reality of the thousands who would die from preventable causes and in endless wars and conflicts before the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg in August.
NITIN DESAI, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said participants had now come to the easy part of the Conference. He thanked all those who had made it possible. He thanked the Mexican Government and its authorities, the ministerial co-chairs, as well as the preparatory co-chairs, and all others involved in the Conference.
He said it was the first time a global conference had begun with a fully negotiated outcome text. That had been an exercise in the gradual meeting of minds. The process at the United Nations persuaded people to listen to one another and converse with one another. That was one of the reasons for the Conference’s success. It had not been organized entirely by the United Nations; there were certain other key collaborators, including the World Bank, IMF, WTO, and UNCTAD.
Today’s achievements were due to that close collaboration, he said. What came together had reflected the best capacities and talents of all those organizations. He also thanked business and the NGOs, whose very practical suggestions would surely make a big difference. He knew the NGOs were not satisfied. To them, he would say, "do not underestimate your own influence". What had emerged was due, in part, to their steady pressure, and he looked forward to their continued engagement in the process.
If the focus of Doha was to make trade issues a central part of the development agenda, the purpose of Monterrey was to place development at the centre of the world’s financial agenda, thereby putting development into the heart of financial policies. In many ways, that was what the Monterrey Consensus had done. He could not predict tomorrow’s headlines; they would likely reflect different reactions, but the sense of the substance that had been achieved here would certainly lead the news.
* *** *