30/09/2002
Press Release
GA/EF/2996



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

3rd Meeting (PM)


NO RETURN FOR MARKET AND GOVERNANCE, REFORMS, DELEGATES TELL SECOND COMMITTEE


Speakers Tell of Unfair Farm Subsidies and Protectionism


Increases in agricultural subsidies in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had totalled 30 per cent of gross farm income, the representative of Brazil told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this afternoon, as it continued its general debate.


Quoting the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, she said that the OECD agricultural subsidies amounted to more than $300 billion, or six times the level of official development assistance (ODA).  According to the United Nations Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD), such protectionist measures as steel import tariffs had tarnished the optimism generated by the Doha trade agreements.


Over the last decade, she said, Brazil had opened its economy to foreign trade and investment, supported deregulation and privatization, and pursued prudent fiscal policies.  Despite a dramatic reduction in import tariffs, the country had yet to enjoy fair access to cotton, sugar, steel, orange juice, footwear, textile and other markets in developed countries.  Instead, it had accumulated a deficit of $30 billion in trade with OECD countries between 1995 and 2001.


Echoing those sentiments, Peru’s representative said the IMF’s World Economic Outlook had recently revised its 2002 economic forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean to a negative growth of 0.6 per cent.  It had also said that the slowing of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region would cause negative capital flows for the third consecutive year.  Previously, the Fund had predicted positive, albeit minimal, growth for 2002.  The report had also predicted a possible 3 per cent growth rate in just three Latin American countries, including Peru.


He noted that a recent report by an American investment firm had praised Peru as one of the few attractive areas for investment in Latin America, yet Peruvians complained that they had yet to receive many of the benefits of democratic reforms.  Latin America must post annual economic growth rates of 6 per cent during the next five years to preserve democratic governance and its citizens’ faith in democratic institutions.  It was essential to create mechanisms to support democratic governance in Latin America, he emphasized.  That meant creating macroeconomic measures to provide Latin Americans with immediate access to credit and markets.


Pakistan’s representative said that in the rapidly integrating global economy, the poorest countries and the most vulnerable groups within most countries were increasingly marginalized.  The income gap between the richest and poorest -– both within and among countries -- had doubled over the past 15 years.  Per capita income had declined in 40 developing countries during that period; the rich were getting richer and the poor were becoming poorer.


He said that a major explanation for the asymmetrical evolution of global society was inequity in the international trading and financial system.  That inequity had led to the growing control of profit-motivated multinationals over the flow of finance, technology and knowledge, as well as the unequal distribution of international liquidity and investment finance between North and South. Unfortunately, there appeared to be a conscious endeavour to focus instead on such microeconomic development problems as illiteracy, corrupt governance and inefficient aid utilization to explain the continuing rise of poverty in most of the developing world.


Japan’s representative, however, emphasized that policy ownership by developing States and partnership with the international community were vital aspects of balanced environmental protection and development.  The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) stressed that type of global partnership, he noted.  Japan's aid plan for Africa -- “Solidarity between Japan and Africa” -- showed his country's determination to work hand in hand with African countries.  Next year, Japan would host the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III).


The representative of the United States said that the Monterrey Consensus had broken new ground by focusing on approaches that actually promoted development.  It emphasized the importance of enabling national conditions, and effectively using all available national resources, particularly private ones.  At the Johannesburg World Summit, the United States had joined with several other governments, international organizations, businesses, and non-governmental organizations in launching more than a dozen partnership initiatives.  In all, the Summit had produced well over 200 such initiatives aimed at addressing the needs of the poor, as well as those of the planet.


Also speaking this afternoon were Indonesia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Bangladesh, Morocco, Ghana, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Fiji, Ecuador and Turkey.


Other speakers were the representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, to continue its general debate.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to continue its general debate.


Statements


SICHAN SIV (United States) said that the Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg conferences, as well as the Millennium Development Goals, had changed the dialogue on development.  The Monterrey Consensus had broken new ground by focusing on approaches that actually promoted development.  It emphasized the importance of enabling national conditions, and the effective utilization of all available national resources, particularly private ones.  The establishment of the “Millennium Challenge Account” on the eve of the Monterrey Conference had been an affirmation of support for countries that demonstrated a commitment to good governance, for investing in their people, and for promoting economic freedom.


Perhaps the most important message from Johannesburg had been that words were good, but actions were better, he continued.  The United States had joined with several other governments, international organizations, businesses, and non-governmental organizations in launching more than a dozen partnership initiatives covering many issues, ranging from water, energy, hunger and forests to key actions in health, housing, oceans, geographic information and other areas.  In all, the Summit had produced well over 200 partnership initiatives aimed at addressing the needs of the poor, as well as those of the planet.


He said the Second Committee’s current agenda reflected the resolutions of recent years on similar or related issues, including poverty, environment, trade, financial flows, and foreign direct investment (FDI).  However, many of those items were duplicative and repetitive.  The agenda was ripe for reorganization, streamlining, and consolidating around a limited number of key themes.  Such an approach would allow Member States time for in-depth consultation and deliberations before turning to formal negotiations.


MOCHAMAD SLAMET HIDAYAT (Indonesia) urged Member States to focus earnestly on implementing the Millenium Declaration, the Doha Ministerial Agreement on international trade, the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Implementation Plan, noting that the Secretary-General had stressed that it would be impossible to meet the Millennium Development Goals without accelerating the pace of progress.


He emphasized that a non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, in accordance with the Doha Agreement, and greater market access for goods from developing nations were essential to the sustainable development process.  He added that special drawing rights (SDRs) and debt-for-sustainable development swaps for middle-income countries were critical to development financing. Indonesia particularly regarded debt swapping as a viable solution for debt relief.


Devastating financial crises still thwarted growth in developing countries, heightening the need for greater coherence between the United Nations and international financial, monetary and trading systems, he said.  Developing nations should have a greater role in decision-making and in setting norms for international financial, monetary and trading institutions.


SIN SON HO (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that, as demonstrated during the Millennium, Monterrey and Johannesburg summits, it was  the unanimous will of all Member States to eliminate poverty and promote future-oriented environmental protection and sustainable development.  However, world poverty had reached alarming levels in which many people did not benefit from contemporary civilization, but subsisted on barely enough food in unhygienic environmental conditions.  The gap between rich and poor States had widened, while sustainable economic development and the global biological environment had been undermined by profit-oriented economic activities, abuse of natural resources and various forms of conflict and confrontation.  High-handed policies, sanctions   and blockades of all forms continued to pose grave challenges, obstructing the economic development of poor countries.


In order to realize sustainable development for all, it was imperative to establish fair international economic and trade relations, he stressed.  Economic cooperation between countries should be enhanced on the basis of equality and reciprocity.  At the same time, foreign debt should be cancelled and the funding and technology required for poverty eradication and economic development provided with no strings attached.  Developing countries also needed increased market access for their products.


Emphasizing that respect for others’ political systems and modes of development were a precondition for achieving developmental goals, he said sanctions were harmful and useless.  All nations should promote international socio-economic cooperation in accordance with the principles of equality and self- determination.  In its own efforts, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea   had sought to gain maximum profit from its economic activities and to improve people’s standard of living.  Various measures had been adopted to promote the modernization of the economy based on information technology.


ZHANG YISHAN (China), noting that Monterrey and Johannesburg had seen the emergence of a consensus on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the reduction of the gap between rich and poor countries, financing for development through different channels and the promotion of coordinated economic, social and environmental development, stressed that that was only a starting point.  It was imperative that the international community translated that consensus into action.


There were four principles by which development efforts should be concentrated, he said.  First, national efforts should be strongly supported by the international community.  It had been proven that national efforts were essential in establishing suitable political and economic systems, carrying out sound macroeconomic policies and implementing relevant development goals set by the United Nations.  Yet national efforts would not succeed without a favourable external environment and support from the international community.  Second, the financial resources and technology required for attainment of development goals must be in place.  Developing countries had long suffered from the lack of financial resources, the backwardness of their technology and the lack of trained personnel.  Without those resources, development goals would remain on paper.  Developed countries must increase official development assistance (ODA), eliminate trade barriers, facilitate market access and include the concerns of developing States in multilateral trade negotiations.


Third, he said, countries should be allowed to decide for themselves how best to achieve development in light of their respective national conditions.  While helping to enhance capacity-building in developing countries, the developed States must refrain from imposing their own development model on others.  Fourth, the United Nations should play a leading role in promoting the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the Monterrey and Johannesburg outcomes.  At the same time, it should strengthen cooperation and coordination with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), the World Trade Organization, (WTO), and other multilateral economic institutions.


KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) said that policy ownership by developing States and the international community’s partnership were essential components of balanced environmental protection and development.  The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) emphasized that type of global partnership.  Japan’s aid plan for Africa, “Solidarity between Japan and Africa”, was based on that view and showed Japan’s determination to work hand in hand with African countries.  In that context, Japan would host the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) next year, and had contributed to such efforts as the development of NERICA (New Rice for Africa).


Within the context of development assistance, he said, special consideration should be given to the situation in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries.  The importance of South-South cooperation should also be emphasized.  There were many ways in which comparatively more developed countries could share their experience with other developing countries.  Japan had promoted “triangular cooperation” in which experts from certain developing States and Japan had visited third countries since the beginning of the 1990s.  The Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA) also presented an opportunity for South-South cooperation.  As a forum for exchanging views on the role of ODA, the lessons learned by one region could be applied to other regions.


As the concept of sustainable development advanced, he said, protecting the earth’s environment would be an increasingly important task for all.  Global warming was of particular concern.  Having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, Japan hoped that other Annex I countries would also ratify it so that it entered into effect.  Concrete measures to reduce and limit greenhouse gas emissions were needed, and even countries that were not obligated under the Kyoto Protocol should take steps to reduce or limit emissions.  Achieving effective and efficient results under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification were also essential tasks for humankind, he stressed.


IFTEKHAR CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), noting that many commitments made in the great conferences of the 1990s had remained unrealized, said the time had come for people to recognize that it was not analyses that were essential, but rather a fuller and more timely implementation of the conference outcomes.  Initiatives taken so far were heading in the right direction, but were insufficient.  If the international community really wanted to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, there must be greater resource flows to the developing world, especially the poorest countries.


Stressing that the gains of globalization must be consolidated, he said that misgivings about that process could be eliminated if the high-income countries came forward unilaterally with pro-trade policies and demonstrated good faith by curbing non-trade barriers, including unrealistic labour standards.  The poorest countries should be allowed duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of industrialized countries.  Globalization must also be embedded in democratic institutions, both nationally and internationally, he added.


Citing Bangladesh as a good example of a country which had sought to break the poverty trap through its own efforts, he said that through a mixture of sound macroeconomic policies, appropriate use of external assistance and innovative home-grown ideas, such as microcredit and non-formal education, the country had come a long way from the “basketcase” it had been known as in the early 1970s. Today, it produced 26.8 million tonnes of grain to feed its 130 million people.  It had also reduced its population growth rate by 50 per cent in the past two decades.  Gender mainstreaming was a major policy goal, and the overall profile for health and education had been greatly raised, he said.


MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the Monterrey Consensus had forged an integrated approach to such development issues as trade, debt, investment and ODA. Follow-up to that, and to the Johannesburg World Summit, should be a focal point for the current session of the Second Committee.  In that way, the Committee could see how all partners were carrying out the obligations and commitments arising from Monterrey and Johannesburg.


Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus was directly related to the results of the Johannesburg Summit, he continued.  If those results did not   fully meet the expectations of developing countries, they still represented the international community's commitments to meet the challenges of sustainable development.  He welcomed the decision made at the World Summit to create an international fund for solidarity, which would be a useful tool in combating poverty.


He noted that Member States, while acknowledging that the primary responsibility for development lay with African States themselves, had expressed support for NEPAD, which was a clear-cut and courageous response to the many challenges facing the continent and a commitment to work together to democratize political systems and improve economic policies.


NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said that while his country was prepared to live up to its responsibilities to create wealth and reduce poverty, it recognized, at the same time, that it could not, by itself, achieve the levels of growth required to make the desired national impact without the firm and comprehensive economic support of the international community.  That support was crucial in four key areas:  trade and market access, debt relief, ODA and capacity-building.


He said his country considered trade as the most important avenue for self-help because it generated income, thereby reducing dependency on aid.  Because of that, Ghana viewed with deep concern measures by some countries that stifled trade liberalization to the detriment of developing countries, and considered such actions as a betrayal of their commitment to support the eradication of poverty.  In that regard, Ghana would continue to work tirelessly with other members of the international community, on the basis of the Doha Development Agenda, to open up markets, phase out trade-distorting subsidies in industrial countries and reduce barriers to trade among developing countries.


Ghana also recognized that, in the fight against poverty, the slow pace of reforms was sometimes attributable to the lack of institutional capacity in developing countries, he said.  For that reason, due attention should be given to capacity-building in developing countries.  The outmoded, costly and ineffective mode of technical assistance to developing countries using foreign consultants paid from the aid budget should be replaced by the allocation of resources for human and institutional capacity-building in developing countries.


MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said global economic growth had slowed significantly over the past two years and the world economy now hovered between recession and a weak recovery.  The United States, long the engine of global growth, had witnessed the often-predicted market meltdown.  Japan was afflicted by prolonged banking crises, and prospects for its recovery -- whether domestically driven or externally induced -- were not considered promising.  Europe’s recovery seemed stalled by the limits on fiscal stimulation imposed by monetary union, as well as an expansive agricultural support policy and a generous social welfare system. Growth had been sustained recently by some large developing countries, especially China.  However, with Argentina in an economic and social crisis and Brazil threatened, prospects did not appear bright anywhere else.


In the rapidly integrating global economy, he said, the poorest countries and the most vulnerable groups within most countries were increasingly marginalized.  The income gap between the richest and poorest –- both within and among countries -- had doubled over the past 15 years.  Per capita income had declined in 40 developing countries during that period.  The number of people living in poverty had increased and was continuing to increase in absolute numbers.  The rich were getting richer and the poor were becoming poorer.


A major explanation for the asymmetrical evolution of global society was inequity in the international trading and financial system, he said.  That inequity had meant 50 years of excluding textiles and agriculture from General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) disciplines, persistent tariffs against exports from developing countries, and the absence of measures to stabilize and arrest the secular decline in commodity prices.  It had also led to the growing control of profit-motivated multinationals over the flow of finance, technology and knowledge, as well as the unequal distribution of international liquidity and investment finance between North and South.  Unfortunately, there had been insufficient recognition of those underlying microeconomic reasons for the failure of development in the poor countries.  Instead, there appeared to be a conscious endeavour to focus on either microeconomic problems encountered in the development process –- illiteracy, corrupt governance and inefficient aid utilization –- to explain the failure of development and the continuing rise of poverty in most of the developing world.


Over the past two decades, he said, the international community had gathered at conferences and summits to deliberate upon the imperative of global and equitable economic and social development.  Consensus conclusions reached at such gatherings constituted pledges by all governments to abide by and implement policy decisions, commitments and action plans.  The decisions and declaration of those international conferences reflected a new international consensus -- a United Nations consensus -- that should replace the Washington Consensus and provide the basis for a renewed global endeavour to promote equitable and global socio-economic development.  Now, it was essential to secure integrated, balanced and coordinated implementation and follow-up to those policy commitments.


OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) said the IMF’s World Economic Outlook had recently revised its 2002 economic forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean to a negative growth of 0.6 per cent.  It had also said that the slowing of FDI in the region would cause negative capital flows for the third consecutive year.  Previously, the IMF had predicted positive, albeit minimal, growth for 2002.  The report had also predicted a possible 3 per cent growth rate in just three Latin American countries, including Peru.


Meanwhile, he said, a report published a few days ago by the United States investment firm Bear Stearns had said that Peru, thanks to fiscal discipline, had become one of the few attractive areas for investment in Latin America.  Still, Peruvians complained that they were yet to receive many of the benefits of democratic reforms.  Latin America must post annual economic growth rates of 6 per cent during the next five years to preserve democratic governance and its citizens’ faith in democratic institutions.


He said it was essential to create mechanisms to support and maintain democratic governance in Latin America, particularly in the short term.  That meant creating macroeconomic measures to provide Latin Americans with immediate access to credit and markets.  Peru had presented those concerns to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and was aware that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was studying the most effective ways in which the Organization’s regional operations could ensure democratic governance throughout the region.


SRGJAN KERIM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said economists and business people were becoming increasingly aware that economic stagnation in the world’s leading economies deserved the deepest concern, due to the lack of satisfactory answers and remedies.  Without resolving that problem, the international community would be faced with tremendous difficulties in coping with the economic turmoil of a significant number of developing countries.  In contrast to those who believed that protectionist measures -- particularly trade barriers  -- would lubricate the engine of world economic output and growth, reality spoke the opposite.


The United Nations had managed to make 2002 a milestone in international cooperation and partnership in two basic areas –- sustainable development and international financing, he continued.  The most valuable achievements of the Monterrey and Johannesburg summits had been the partnerships forged between international organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector and civil society, as well as the commitment for a follow-up within the United Nations framework.  The implementation of NEPAD would certainly be one of the issues through which to measure the achievement of the Johannesburg Summit


He said that better allocation of world resources, a rise in output and living standards, greater access to foreign goods, technology and capital had been widely accepted as benefits of globalization.  But there were also negative implications based on the fact that certain national policies had an impact beyond national boundaries.  The driving forces of globalization included trade and investment liberalization policies, technological innovation, entrepreneurship and a global social network.  Eventually, globalization would mean increased global integration and interdependence.


AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said that the work programme before the Second Committee consisted of thematic issues of critical importance to future sustainable development in all countries, particularly the least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries. 


In that context, the programme and work methods of the Second Committee should be re-examined to ensure their continued relevance, effectiveness, coherence and added value, he said.  The Committee’s work was vitally important in linking the recent global commitments with those contained in the Millennium Declaration.  The Pacific Islands Forum Group reiterated its support for the major activities of the United Nations system and the specialized agencies that promoted the attainment of agreed international development goals.


In addition, he said, the Pacific Islands Forum Group reiterated its support for the Barbados Programme of Action for the sustainable development of small island developing States, he said.  The development challenges facing them had been explicitly recognized and now the commitments made should be translated into tangible and meaningful results.  Real progress could only come about with real commitments by all stakeholders, yet the outcomes of the Millennium, Monterrey and Johannesburg summits inspired hope that, through international cooperation and support, sound policy-making and a clear sense of commitment, the goals of those summits would be achievable.


HUMBERTO JIMENEZ TORRES (Ecuador) said the economic liberalization process sweeping the developing world since the early 1990s had initially led to greater efficiency in resource management.  However, results had not been positive in the last few years.  The smallest economies, in particular, had suffered from weakened international markets and burgeoning poverty rates.


Developing countries had made great efforts to reform and modernize their economies, often at significant social cost to their citizens, he said.  Still, developing economies, including middle-income economies, continued to be burdened with steep foreign debt, many economic sectors remained unreformed, and corrupt business practices persisted.  That had destroyed local production and export flows, preventing developing countries from achieving their full economic potential.


He emphasized that the United Nations must develop effective and comprehensive solutions to address those concerns in developing countries and to create a more equitable distribution of global wealth and resources.


ALPER COSKUN (Turkey), noting that the United Nations was a vehicle for global expectations, said its future rested on its responsiveness to the growth and development crisis in societies that had fallen behind.  While the international conferences mandated by the Second Committee had brought the issues of sustained economic growth and poverty eradication to the fore on a global scale and generated a new impetus in dealing with them, as things currently stood, globalization had shown its inherent weaknesses, which made it apt to create profound imbalances and inequalities.  While the case could be made for globalization as a force for lifting prosperity, reducing poverty and enhancing liberties, the fears of the masses could not be allayed without evidence of a responsive management of that process.


Conflict, poverty and discrimination still blighted the lives of millions in every part of the globe, he stressed, adding that developing States should not be used as temporary venues for generating speedy profits.  The international financial architecture should be strengthened so that speculative capital flows did not wreck whole economies.  The fact that more than 80 countries had lower per capita incomes than a decade ago could not be overlooked.  The international community bore a moral responsibility to the poor and dispossessed that it could only ignore at its own peril.


Many developments had taken place over the past year, he added, but more needed to be done.  Increased market access and the liberalization of trade practices had been discussed at Doha.  The need for common responsibility and increased international cooperation in enabling economic growth had been recognized at Monterrey.  And the Johannesburg Summit had placed social, economic and environmental issues high on the international agenda, addressing those issues in an integrated manner.  The obvious challenge ahead was to build upon the decisions adopted at those meetings and to transform verbal commitments into reality.  Successful implementation was the key to a better future for all, thus, the importance of coherence and consistency in the follow-up processes.


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said that in the coming months, the United Nations must vigorously follow up on Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg.  According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI had dropped 50 per cent last year, and new protectionist measures in developed nations, such as steel import tariffs and agricultural subsidy increases, had tarnished the optimism generated at Doha.  According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, agricultural subsidies in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries last year had totalled 30 per cent of gross farm income, more than $300 billion, or six times the level of ODA.  The report stated that agricultural liberalization by industrial countries would result in substantial gains for both developed and developing countries.  That analysis, as well as those of other organizations such as Oxfam, revealed systematic problems.


Over the last decade, she said, Brazil had opened its economy to foreign trade and investment, supported deregulation and privatization, and pursued prudent fiscal policies.  Despite a dramatic reduction in import tariffs, Brazil

had yet to enjoy fair access to cotton, sugar, steel, orange juice, footwear and textile markets, among others, in developed countries.  During 1995-2001, Brazil had accumulated a deficit of $30 billion in trade with OECD countries.


During the last 50 years, trade liberalization had proved a successful tool in bringing countries together and promoting development, she said.  More than ever, protectionism must not prevail, she added, stressing the importance making debt relief, particularly the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, more effective and earmarking more funds for ODA.  Brazil had already written off more than $1 billion in debt in hopes of enabling other developing countries to reduce poverty levels.


EDUARDO DORYAN, World Bank, proposed a three-point agenda for current and future discussions on development:  strengthen links among the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development; continue collective efforts to shift and improve intergovernmental and institutional management; and follow through, particularly with implementation.


He said six main points could serve as building blocks to achieve the goals set forth at Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg.  They included developing centralized and comprehensive strategies for poverty reduction, including monitoring processes, pro-poor growth policies, improved public expenditure management and social impact analysis.  He also stressed the importance of doubling assistance, and more effectively utilizing existing and new aid resources.  Member States must focus more closely on results and how to better measure, monitor and evaluate performance, he added. 


It was critical to follow through on global commitments made at Monterrey to increase resources for development assistance and to facilitate freer trade and market access for the poorest nations, he said.  Moreover, to ensure full debt relief and debt sustainability in many countries, the international community must provide adequate financing for the HIPC Trust Fund, as well as flexibility in the current framework through “topping up” and International Development Agency grants.


REINHARD MUNZBERG, International Monetary Fund, said the IMF was maintaining a substantive focus on the results of the Monterrey and Johannesburg summits, as well as the Doha Agreement.  He underlined the IMF’s overriding goal of fighting poverty and referred to NEPAD as an example of concrete cooperation, pointing out particularly by the two-pillar approach between developing and developed countries, which was based on mutual accountability, domestic ownership, more effective international support and commitment to a more open-trading system.


He said the IMF was also looking at areas of crisis prevention and resolution, which would mean surveillance, vulnerability assessments, and strengthening of standards and codes to make financial and other sectors more resilient to economic shocks.


The Fund had also issued a new set of guidelines on conditionality, which could be viewed on the Organization’s Web site, he said.  He stressed the need to fully finance the HIPC initiative, which would give more flexibility in topping up resources in exceptional circumstances, and redirect resources to social expenditures, especially in education and health.  The IMF would continue to work actively on the Monterrey agenda and to inform the Economic and Social Council about further progress, he said.