Welcome Remarks By Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to the Workshop on Debt, Finance and Emerging Issues in Financial Integration
New York, 8-9 April 2008

Distinguished Panel members and Experts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to this Workshop on Debt, Finance and Emerging Issues in Financial Integration, organized by my Department’s Financing for Development Office.

We are fortunate to have with us such a distinguished group of internationally renowned experts – from academia, civil society, the private sector and international organizations – on these critically important issues.

Let me also thank the Government of Norway for its generous financial support of this project, which began last year with a first workshop in London.

This second workshop takes place in the midst of the substantive preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Doha, Qatar, later this year.

The Doha Conference will review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, which lies at the heart of the global partnership for development, with its framework for mutual accountability. A major thrust of the partnership is to integrate the role of trade, domestic and international finance, and systemic issues in promoting both financial stability and access to finance for achieving the MDGs and the other internationally agreed development goals.

The preparatory process of the Doha Conference provides a unique opportunity for all States and other stakeholders to strengthen multilateral cooperation in development finance.

Informal review sessions on the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus constitute the core of the Doha preparatory process. The first four sessions focused, respectively, on “Mobilizing domestic financial resources for development”, “Foreign direct investment and other private flows”, “External Debt”, and “Addressing systemic issues”. Held in February and March, the sessions attracted strong participation by Member States and relevant stakeholders. The fifth session, on international development cooperation or aid, will be held next week.

These review sessions are critical for a successful outcome of the Doha Conference. They are meant to produce concrete recommendations and proposals on how to overcome obstacles and constraints to the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, as well as to address new challenges and emerging issues.

The latter – new challenges and emerging issues on the financing for development front – will also be the focus at next week’s special high-level meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions, World Trade Organization and UNCTAD.

The present workshop aims to advance mutual understanding among members of all relevant stakeholders – governments, international organizations, private sector and civil society – regarding emerging issues in international finance for both middle-income and low-income countries. In particular, the workshop will identify areas that need policy intervention, at both domestic and international levels, and cooperation among stakeholders in order to: maintain financial stability; ensure sustainable external debt obligations; maintain access to finance; and build suitable cooperative mechanisms for the re-structuring of sovereign debt and for crisis avoidance and management.

Over the next two days, you will focus on prioritizing the issues and policy options. This workshop is thus very well positioned to contribute directly to the Doha preparatory process. Let us seize this important opportunity – to advance the substantive discussions for implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and to lay the groundwork for a successful and meaningful outcome to the Doha Review Conference.

Thank you.