21 January 2008 Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has pledged the commitment of the United Nations to ensuring more effective and coherent international cooperation to help countries achieve their development goals, and to strengthen the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a key body in this regard.
Addressing more than 140 participants attending a high-level ECOSOC symposium on south-south cooperation in Cairo, she said understanding new trends in development cooperation was the start of a serious process of review and change.
Discussions at the Cairo meeting, which ended yesterday, focused on the complexity of aid conditionality and the need to re-examine the impact and distortions aid creates. Ms. Migiro stated that the symposium provided an opportunity to underscore the need to elevate development cooperation to a higher plane on the agenda of the international community.
“We need to commit ourselves, with renewed vigour, to the fight for greater equity among – and within – countries; to pursue poverty eradication, to reach all other Millennium Development Goals, and to ensure sustainable socio-economic progress for all,” she stated. “These objectives, which are at the very core of the UN’s mission, call for more effective and coherent development cooperation.”
The two-day gathering is part of the preparations for the first biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), which is due to take place this July in New York, and attracted participants from Governments, civil society, international and regional organizations and academia.
They explored means to promote results-oriented development cooperation in pursuing national priorities. The debate provided an opportunity to further strengthen the voice of developing countries in the global dialogue on the promotion of greater aid effectiveness through stronger national ownership and leadership of development cooperation.
The Deputy Secretary-General emphasized that a vital characteristic of the Forum is its ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders – Governments, civil society, international and regional organizations, academia and others.
“Indeed, it is a comparative advantage of the Forum vis-à-vis other venues where development cooperation is debated,” she said. “Let us maximize this advantage as we strive together to reach the Millennium Development Goals and fulfil the international development agenda.”
The Forum also has the potential to generate new ideas, to carry forward reflections on improving aid architecture and on building greater coherence around the MDGs. In addition, it will contribute to the upcoming meetings on aid effectiveness in Accra, Ghana in September 2008 and on financing for development in Doha in December 2008.
The Cairo symposium was opened by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Also addressing the gathering were the newly elected President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Léo Mérorès of Haiti and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang.
Following her stop in Cairo, Ms. Migiro is travelling to Alexandria to participate in the closing session of the Third Conference and Cultural Workshops on “Dialogue among Peoples and Cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean and Gulf Areas.”
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