Assembly President hails ‘active contribution’ to finance for development meeting

Srgjan Kerim

25 October 2007 – The “active contribution” by more than 90 delegations at a three-day United Nations meeting augured well for a major conference on financing for development next year, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said today at the conclusion of the meeting.

Closing the General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, Mr. Kerim, who had chaired the event, said continued engagement by all partners was “crucial in the road to Doha,” the Qatari capital where the second Financing for Development conference is to be held in the second half of 2008.

Summing up the debate, Mr. Kerim said that many speakers had expressed concern at growing economic inequalities, both between countries and within countries, particularly in the context of the current instability in global financial markets.

While regretting that the official development assistance (ODA) target of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product had not been achieved, many delegates were encouraged by the current trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries, Mr. Kerim said. But the challenged remained of promoting FDI in low-income countries or those with less stable governance.

For their part, various developing country delegates had acknowledged that “good domestic governance, effective and transparent regulatory mechanisms and the rule of law” were preconditions for attracting investment.

In the view of several participants, much had been done to increase debt relief, but long-term debt sustainability remained a significant issue, particularly for least developed countries.

Various speakers stressed the need to enhance tax revenues and create more distributive tax systems. This would not only help to reduce disparities, but also permit to increase public spending on basic infrastructure and services.

“Finally, delegates stressed that adapting to climate change was the emerging issue that needed to be linked to the financing for development process,” Mr. Kerim said.

The General Assembly would now begin consultations to set out the modalities for the Doha Conference, Mr. Kerim said, calling on Member States to give their full support and cooperation towards an agreement to be presented to the General Assembly in December. “Once the modalities of the Doha Conference are agreed, we can move to substantive discussion on the six chapters of the Monterrey Consensus,” he said.

The High-Level Dialogue was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday, but the very high number of countries that asked to speak made a third day necessary. On Wednesday, an interactive dialogue and six round tables promoted exchanges of ideas among governments, the private sector, civil society and international financial institutions.

The meeting addresses six main areas – mobilizing domestic financial resources, mobilizing international resources, international trade, international development cooperation, external debt, and the coherence of the international monetary, financial and trading systems.

These areas emerged at the first International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002.

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