United Nations


General Assembly

  11th plenary meeting
                                            1 May 1990

 Declaration on International Economic Co-operation, in particular the
 Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries

          The General Assembly

          Adopts the Declaration on International Economic Co-operation, in
 particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the
 Developing Countries, annexed to the present resolution.


          We, the States Members of the United Nations,

          Solemnly proclaim our strong commitment to a global consensus to
 promote urgently international economic co-operation for sustained growth of
 the world economy and, in particular, to the revitalization of economic growth
 and development of the developing countries so as to realize the basic right of
 all human beings to a life free from hunger, poverty, ignorance, disease and
 fear. To that end, we adopt the present Declaration.

 1.  This is a time of positive transformation in international relations. The
 reduction in international political tensions, the increasing integration of
 the world economy and the broad movement towards economic and political reform
 will create an opportunity for strengthening international economic
 co-operation based on the need to provide just and equal opportunities to all
 peoples to enable them to develop their full potential.

 2.  We strongly affirm the need to revitalize growth and development in
 the developing countries and to address together the problems of abject
 poverty and hunger that continue to afflict far too many people in the
 world. The international community has a responsibility to give strong
 support to the efforts of the developing countries to solve their grave
 economic and social problems through the creation of a favourable
 international economic environment.

 3.  In an increasingly interdependent world, the developing countries should
 play an important role in the growth and expansion of the world economy for the
 progress and prosperity of all peoples.

 4.  Each country is responsible for its own economic policies for development,
 in accordance with its specific situations and conditions, and for the life and
 well-being of all its citizens.  National policies also need to take fully into
 account the obligations of all countries to international economic

                    ASSESSMENT OF THE 1980s

 5.  In the 1980s, progress in developed and developing countr ies has been
 uneven. The decade was marked by an increasing gap between those groups of
 countries as well as by relatively slow growth and large global financial and
 trade imbalances. Developed market-oriented countries have succeeded to a large
 extent in controlling inflation and in maintaining sustained, though modest,
 growth. However, many countries, particularly developing ones, have encountered
 serious difficulties in their attempt to adapt to structural changes, to
 benefit from the economic growth of the industrialized countries and to promote
 the well-being of their citizens.

 6.  External and fiscal imbalances in some of the countries whose economies
 have the largest impact on the world economy have contributed to international
 monetary instability and led to higher interest rates.  In the late 1980s, such
 imbalances have started to narrow; none the less they remain large.

 7.  For many developing countries, the 1980s have been viewed as a decade lost
 for development. Living conditions in Africa and Latin America and the
 Caribbean, and in parts of Asia, have deteriorated, and economic and social
 infrastructure has eroded, impairing stability and prospects for growth and
 development.  Other developing countries have been able to achieve economic and
 social progress.

 8.  The position of developing countries in international trade and finance has
 substantially weakened, further widening the gap between those countries and
 the developed ones.  External indebtedness emerged as a main factor in the
 economic stalemate in the developing countries.  Their capacity to service debt
 was seriously weakened as interest rates grew and terms of trade deteriorated.
 This problem has contributed to the fall in investment and the cessation of new
 financial flows.  A long-term downward trend in the prices of commodities had
 devastating effects for commodity-dependent developing countries.

 9.  As a result, there was a large net transfer of resources from the
 developing to the developed countries, depriving the former of much needed
 resources for development. This made the process of adjustment more difficult
 and complicated the tasks of coping with its social consequences and obtaining
 the necessary political support for reform.

 10. Eastern European countries were not appropriately involved in the world
 economic system. Their need for comprehensive reform and transformation grew
 and, in the late 1980s, fundamental political and economic changes began to
 take place.  These countries face problems of adaptation to the scientific,
 technological and structural changes taking place in the world economy.

 11. As the world changes around us, we must respond positively.  The 1980s
 marked the beginning of fundamental rethinking towards the achievement of
 economic development.  A gradual convergence of views on economic policy,
 including the need for sound macro-economic policies and enhanced competition,
 is emerging.  Flexibility, creativity, innovation and openness must be integral
 parts of our economic systems.


 12. The most important challenge for the 1990s is the revitalization of
 economic growth and social development in the developing countries, which calls
 for sustained growth of the world economy and favourable external conditions.
 This major challenge has to be addressed in the context of the increasing
 interdependence and integration in the world economy.

 13. It will be essential to stem the increasing marginalization of the least
 developed countries and to reactivate their growth and development through
 comprehensive national action and international support measures.

 14. Finding an early and durable solution to the international debt problems,
 meeting the increasing needs for development finance, creating an open and
 equitable trading system and facilitating the diversification and modernization
 of the economies of developing countries, particularly those that are
 commodity-dependent, are conditions for the revitalization of growth and
 development in the developing countries in the 1990s and require continued
 concerted efforts.

 15. There is a pressing need to improve the international economic environment
 in order to ensure the success of national policies.  Countries can then take
 advantage of the major advances in science and technology and the globalization
 of markets and thereby enhance their human capital and modernize their

 16. Economic development must be environmentally sound and sustainable. The
 deterioration of the environment is a cause of grave concern for all countries.
 Growing environmental problems, such as pollution, desertification,
 deforestation and climate change, increasingly pose a serious threat to the
 future growth of the world economy.

 17. Countries have to adapt their national policies to facilitate open exchange
 and flexible responses to the changing world economy.  Effective national
 policies have a critical role to play in achieving sustained, non-inflationary
 economic growth in all countries.  Such policies should be supportive of
 investment as well as of efficient allocation and mobilization of resources in
 order to achieve durable growth.

 18. The eradication of poverty and hunger, greater equity in income
 distribution and the development of human resources remain major challenges
 everywhere. Economic and social progress requires that growth be broadly based,
 offering equal opportunities to all people, both women and men, to participate
 fully in economic, social and political activities.

 19. There is a need to integrate the Eastern European countries into the world
 economy and the international economic system.  This should generate positive
 impulses for world trade and development.

 20. The revitalization of economic growth and development of the developing
 countries will have to be undertaken against the backdrop of these
 opportunities and challenges. Our collective efforts will be needed to ensure
 that the rapidly changing realities result in a positive transformation in
 favour of the economic development of all countries, particularly of the
 developing countries.

                           DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION

 21.  Reactivation of economic growth and development in the developing
 countries will require a concerted and committed effort by all countries. The
 present opportunity to restore a long-term approach to development and move
 beyond short-term adjustment must be seized.  The Members of the United Nations
 will endeavour to take all necessary steps to reverse the adverse trends of the
 1980s, address the challenges of the 1990s and move into a more productive
 decade.  Such actions should take into account the responsibility of each
 country for its own development and should be in accordance with its capacity
 and its impact on the international economy.

 22. The major industrialized countries influence world economic growth and the
 international economic environment profoundly.  They should continue their
 efforts to promote sustained growth and to narrow imbalances in a manner than
 can benefit other countries.  The co-ordination of macro-economic policies
 should take full account of the interests and concerns of all countries,
 particularly the developing countries.  Efforts should be made to enhance the
 effectiveness of multilateral surveillance aimed at correcting existing
 external and fiscal imbalances, promoting non-inflationary sustainable growth,
 lowering real rates of interest, and making exchange rates more stable and
 markets more accessible.

 23. In accordance with their legislation, development objectives and national
 priorities, developing countries should continue to work towards keeping
 control over inflationary tendencies, promoting domestic savings, achieving
 favourable conditions for domestic and foreign investment, modernizing their
 economies, and increasing their international competitiveness.

 24. However, economic policies should have as their ultimate objective the
 betterment of the human condition and the enhancement of the contribution of
 all persons to development. The full utilization of human resources and the
 recognition of human rights stimulate creativity, innovation and initiative.

 25. A primary objective must be to respond to the needs of and maximize the
 potential of all members of society. Health, nutrition, housing, population
 policies and other social services are a key to both improving individual
 welfare and successful development.  Education and training, which must be
 available to all, are essential for improving the quality of human resources
 and for sustaining economic growth.  The international community should support
 efforts to arrest the current escalation of extreme poverty and hunger.  It is
 essential to reverse the present deterioration of this grave situation.

 26.  A durable and broad solution of the external debt problems of the
 developing debtor countries should continue to be given urgent attention, and
 the serious debt-servicing problems of some other countries should be further
 addressed with a view to an early solution.  Recent initiatives and measures to
 reduce the stock and service of debt or to provide debt relief for developing
 countries should be broadly implemented.  Relief measures should aim at the
 resumption of vigorous growth and development in these countries and should
 address all types of bilateral debt of debtor developing countries.  Serious
 consideration should be given to continuing to work towards a growth-oriented
 solution of the problems of developing countries with serious debt-servicing
 problems, including those whose debt is mainly to official creditors or to
 multilateral institutions.

 27.  Substantial concessional resources will be called for to enable developing
 countries, especially the least developed ones, to cope with the challenges of
 the 1990s.  Developed countries should implement the undertakings they have
 made to attain the agreed international target of devoting 0.7 per cent of
 gross national product to official development assistance and 0.15 per cent to
 the least developed countries.  Developed countries should enhance the quantity
 and quality of their aid.  Appropriate additional resources for the least
 developed countries should be considered at the Second United Nations
 Conference on the Least Developed Countries.  The special development problems
 and needs of the island and land-locked developing countries should also be

 28. Scientific and technological capability is increasingly important in the
 development of developing countries.  Developed countries and international
 organizations should support the efforts of developing countries to create and
 develop endogenous capacities in this area.

 29. The current threat to the environment is the common concern of all. All
 countries should take effective actions for the protection and enhancement of
 the environment in accordance with their respective capacities and
 responsibilities, and taking into account the specific needs of developing
 countries. As the major sources of pollution, the developed countries have the
 main responsibility for taking appropriate measures urgently. The economic
 growth and development of developing countries are essential in order to
 address problems of the degradation and protection of the environment. New and
 additional financial resources will have to be channelled to developing
 countries. Effective modalities for favourable access to, and transfer of,
 environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries,
 including on concessional and preferential terms, should be examined.

 30. Multilateral financial institutions should be in a position to respond to
 the increasing development needs of developing countries in the 1990s. They
 should be provided with adequate resources to support long-term development, to
 facilitate structural reform and to finance programmes to alleviate the adverse
 social consequences of adjustment for poor and vulnerable groups.

 31. Countries should seek to reduce expenditures for military purposes, thereby
 opening up the possibility of enhanced spending on social and economic
 development for the benefit of all countries, in particular the developing
 countries. In this context, the feasibility of channelling some of these
 reductions through financial mechanisms for development should be explored.

 32. An open and credible multilateral trading system is essential for the
 promotion of growth and development. Any present or future trends towards
 unilateralism, bilateralism and the erosion of the multilateral trading system
 must be arrested. Protectionism should be resisted everywhere; commitments to
 standstill and roll-back of protectionism should be honoured. It is vitally
 important that the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations result in a
 balanced outcome, preserving and strengthening the multilateral trading system,
 enabling trade liberalization and increased market access for the exports of
 developing countries. The principles underlying the multilateral trade system
 should be reaffirmed, and international organizations in the area of
 multilateral trade should be strengthened as a part of the process of attaining
 these objectives.

 33.  Commodity exports will continue to play a key role in the economies of
 most developing countries and to make a crucial contribution to export earnings
 and investment. There is a need for better functioning of commodity markets and
 more stable and predictable conditions. Diversification helps the developing
 countries to increase and stabilize their export earnings. All countries and
 multilateral institutions should undertake measures to support these

 34.  Regional economic integration is important in expanding trade and
 investment in developing countries. Developing countries should strive to
 promote economic integration and strengthen economic and technical co-operation
 among themselves. These efforts should be encouraged and supported by the
 developed countries, as well as by the international organizations.

 35.  Eastern European countries should be supported in their efforts to
 integrate themselves into the international economy, including, as appropriate,
 their adhesion to international institutions. This will benefit their own
 people and the rest of the world; it must not detract from the high priority
 placed on international development co-operation with the developing countries.
 Their integration will strengthen the role of Eastern Europe as a dynamic trade
 partner and as a market and source of technology.

 36.  The United Nations system has a large role to play in international
 co-operation for revitalizing development in the 1990s.  All its Member States
 have a responsibility for making it more effective and efficient. The United
 Nations is a unique forum in which the community of nations can address all
 issues in an integrated manner. Its many specialized agencies make an
 indispensable contribution to development.  They have a major responsibility in
 the great task of revitalizing growth and development in the 1990s.

 37.  Member States agree to work for fruitful results at the forthcoming Second
 United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in the elaboration
 of a new international development strategy, the World Summit for Children, the
 eighth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in
 1991, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, to be held
 in Brazil in 1992, and the international meeting on population in 1994.

 38.  The States Members of the United Nations pledge themselves solemnly to
 advance the multilateral dialogue, to respond to the challenge and commitments
 contained in the present Declaration through national policies and enhanced
 international co-operation and to keep the implementation of the Declaration
 under political review.

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Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
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