Inaugural Development Cooperation Forum can play vital role, says ECOSOC

President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Léo Mérorès of Haiti

12 March 2008 – This year’s inaugural Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) will play a key role in determining how the current “architecture of international cooperation” can better serve the world’s poor and achieve the globally agreed targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the President of the Economic and Social Council says.

Participants at the forum – to be held in New York in early July – are also set to discuss financing for development and how to enhance so-called South-South cooperation, Ambassador Léo Mérorès of Haiti told the UN News Centre in an interview this week.

But he stressed that “issues regarding the architecture of international cooperation and how that can help development” will be central to the meeting’s agenda.

Dozens of representatives of developing countries, affluent nations, UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), bilateral organizations, regional bodies, banks, civil society and the private sector are expected to gather for the DCF, the first of its kind.

Member States agreed at the 2005 World Summit to establish a biennial forum that would review the latest trends in international development cooperation and promote greater coherence between countries and organizations in their efforts to boost development.

Last week ECOSOC held a preparatory meeting on both the work of the DCF and that of the Annual Ministerial Review, another mechanism set up at the World Summit. The AMR’s purpose is to assess the progress being made towards the eight MDGs – which have a target date of 2015 – and to spur accelerated efforts towards development.

Mr. Mérorès said he was optimistic that the DCF would provide an opportunity for both rich and poor countries to voice their concerns and opinions as part of a dialogue and to see how they can work more closely together to promote development.

Financing for development would be an important question for discussion, he said, ranging from official development assistance (ODA) to trade to debt relief to foreign investment.

He added that he expects the issues raised and clarified during the forum will contribute to two key international meetings taking place in the latter half of this year: the Monterrey Follow-Up Conference (being held in Doha, Qatar) and the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

Earlier this year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said the DCF would help pave the way for a more inclusive framework for dealing with the latest trends in development cooperation and the critical issues of aid quality and quantity.

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