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Joint Statement of the African and Asian Development Banks
Regarding Regional Development Bank Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus
Plenary Session of the High Level Dialog on Financing for Development

Mr. John Lintjer, Vice President, Asian Development Bank
UN Headquarters, New York, New York
30 October 2003

Mr. President, Delegates, Colleagues,

On behalf of the African and Asian Development Banks, I am very pleased to be here. We appreciate your recognition of the importance of the Regional Development Banks in the Monterrey Consensus, and in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Monterrey has been cataclysmic – both in gaining consensus on a framework for development finance, and in bringing greater inclusiveness to discussions such as this.

I find heartening the post-Monterrey successes – and disheartening the areas where implementation has lagged. While noting achievements, it is clear that more must be done:

  • More resources – including more grants -- must be made available and used more effectively;
  • Governments must take even more responsibility and ownership of their national development processes;
  • The developed countries must find ways to keep their commitments to Monterrey; and
  • The international financial institutions, including the Regional Development Banks, must make sure that we are making positive, optimal contributions to the development process.

The African and Asian Development Banks are committed to the Monterrey Consensus and to the Millennium Development Goals. Our special attributes within the international financial architecture provide advantages in tackling the problems of equity and development. Four of these are of particular importance:

As regional institutions, we have a close partnership with and strong representation from our developing member countries. This has enabled our continuing leadership in important areas such as governance, anti-corruption, and gender in development – admittedly the needs in each of these areas are great, and we are committed to doing much more.

By Charter, we have a mandate to support regional integration and cooperation. Regional capacities are the building blocks of global systems. For example, subregional trade facilitation is an important element of the Asian Development Bank, as countries in our region have pulled themselves out of poverty on the basis of trade – much of it within Asia. Our work in this area is complementary to, and building towards, greater global integration.

We support the development of regional public goods, such as providing cross-country approaches for tackling AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa; combating trafficking of women and children in Asia; and regional facilities for exchange of business and trade information in Latin America. An additional layer has been added to our regional public goods work with the agreement in 2001 between the InterAmerican and Asian Development Banks that facilitates sharing of regional experiences, southern region to southern region.

The Regional Development Banks are also mandated to give special emphasis and attention to the needs of the smaller countries in our regions. Mostly, these are the poorest nations, often with the least voice in the international system, yet facing the most difficult odds in meeting their development goals. We give special consideration and visibility to the needs of these countries in our programs and strategies.

These attributes are useful for the Regional Development Banks, and the broader development community, in implementing the Monterrey consensus and achieving the MDGs.

With regard to our commitments at Monterrey, we are undertaking special steps. Expressly:

We are sharpening our focus on results: our country programs are aligned with country-driven poverty reduction strategies that emphasize achievement of the MDGs; and we are improving our systems for monitoring and evaluation at all levels.

We are actively harmonizing our operational procedures and processes with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the bilateral donors, and the UN system.

We are addressing issues of debt – as well as development -- sustainability. The need for external financing to achieve the MDGs in the low-income countries, particularly in many of the countries in Africa, points to future debt crises in the absence of implementing the Monterrey Consensus. The case is being made for more grant and more concessional funding for these countries. Donor commitment to financing a grant facility in the most recent replenishment of the African Development Fund is an important step in this direction.

We have expanding regional and country-specific agendas in the areas of domestic finance and trade. Particularly in Asia and Latin America, foreign direct investment, mobilization of domestic resources and growth through trade will be important elements of financing for development. The Regional Development Banks are working with countries to improve the business environment, strengthen the rule of law, and improve tax and customs facilities. We also work to strengthen governments in the planning, use, and accountability of these resources.

In recognition of the importance of all actors in achieving sustainable development, we are increasing participation and voice in our projects, programs and strategies. At the country level, this means greater inclusion of civil society and concerned parties; at the institutional level, it means greater outreach and partnership with international and regional organizations, as well as more accessible information on our organizations and their operations.

And last, but not least, we are participating more actively in global fora on financing for development. The Monterrey Consensus has helped to give a place and voice for our institutions. We plan to utilize this space to strengthen regional perspectives in the ongoing discussions and commitments.

In conclusion, we appreciate the leadership of the UN in development finance, and we support the spirit of cohesion kindled at Monterrey. We hope that these efforts will continue to pay off in resolving issues of development finance and in sustaining attention to the importance of the Millennium Development Goals. We are committed to doing our part.


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