1 July 2008
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York





The Development Cooperation Forum, launched by the Economic and Social Council in New York yesterday, was expected to provide invaluable input to world development conferences, Council President Leo Mérorès of Haiti said at a Headquarters press conference this morning.

Alongside an annual ministerial review, the biennial Forum was part of the new mandate given to the Council by the General Assembly in 2005, said Mr. Mérorès, who was accompanied at the podium by Liu Guijin, Special Envoy of China on African Affairs, and Peter Adams, Executive Director of the New Zealand Agency for Development.  The Forum’s purpose was to help make development activities within and outside the United Nations more coherent and streamlined, particularly as a growing number of groups and entities became involved in the delivery of aid.  It involved all member bodies of the Organization as well as aid donors and recipients, civil society and all other stakeholders.  The Forum would focus on the quantity, quality and impact of aid.

Mr. Guijin said the Forum was an important platform for enhancing aid effectiveness, which was one of his country’s priorities in its dual role as a beneficiary of international cooperation and a provider of assistance to other developing countries, particularly in Africa.  As the scale of China’s south-south cooperation increased, it wished to be a responsible partner of both donor and developing countries, and hoped the Forum would help improve the coherence of all its partners’ programmes.

Mr. Adams added that the main question now was “What will happen in the next 50 years?”  The Forum would be crucial in tying together all efforts to meet the main challenges for that period -- poverty and climate change.  Substantive discussions had already started and some participants had spoken without prepared statements.

Asked about the goals of China’s development policies, particularly in relation to Zimbabwe, Sudan and others criticized for their human rights records, Mr. Guijin said its primary aim was to help them reach their social and economic development goals.

He stressed that, as a south-south donor, China kept itself on more of an equal footing with its development partners than traditional Western donor countries and did not place political conditions on its aid, placing more of an emphasis on national ownership.  It also required that such aid benefit China’s own development, which was why it helped build long-term infrastructure for mineral industries.

However, Mr. Adams said he did not think south-south aid differed from north-south assistance in terms of conditionality, partnership and national ownership.  Effective development aid required those elements no matter the donor.

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For information media • not an official record