International Conference on Financing for Development

Department of Public Information - News and Media Services Division - New York
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
18-22 March 2002

18 March 2002



The opening plenary session began at 10:15 this morning, Susan Markham, Spokeswoman for the International Conference on Financing for Development, told journalists at the first daily press briefing today.

She said the two Co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee -- Shamshad Ahmad (Pakistan) and Ruth Jacoby (Sweden) -- presented their report and the outcome document to the session, which elected President Vicente Fox of Mexico as Conference President. The plenary also elected Miguel Hakim Simon, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs; Agustin Carstens, Vice-Minister for Finance; and Luis Fernando de la Calle, Vice-Minister for Trade (all of Mexico), as Co-Presidents of the high-level segment. All elections were by acclamation.

Ms. Markham said that Jorge Castañeda Gutman, Foreign Minister of Mexico, would chair the ministerial segment. The Foreign Minister held a press conference this morning with United Nations Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown.

She said presentations were expected from the Global Environment Forum (GEF), Clare Short, Secretary for International Development of the United Kingdom, and Valli Moosa, Minister for Environment Affairs and Tourism of South Africa.

This afternoon in the plenary, representatives of a number of international, financial, economic, monetary and trade bodies would speak. Elaborating on these, Tim Wall, information officer for the Conference, said that Trevor Manuel, Finance Minister for South Africa, would speak as Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which comprises finance ministers from the developing and developed countries. Mr. Manuel would speak on the Monterrey consensus as a foundation for global partnerships and on the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) as an example of international partnerships in action.

He said that Ivan Simonovic (Croatia), President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, would also make a presentation this afternoon. The Council coordinates United Nations policy decisions regarding economic and social affairs, and initiated key dialogues between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions beginning in 1998.

Mr. Wall said that Didier Reynders, Minister for Finance of Belgium, would speak as Chairman of the Group of 10 central bankers from the world´s largest developed economies. Next would be Joseph Sanusi, Governor of Nigeria's Central Bank, speaking as Chairman of the Group of 24, which represents the developing countries.

Also speaking would be Arun Shourie, Indian Vice-Minister concerned with privatization policies and Chairman of the Group of 20 established in the wake of the Asian financial crises in 1997 and 1998. It comprises developing and developed countries.

Andrew Crockett, General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements, would speak for the Financial Stability Forum, he said. The Forum was established by the Group of Eight industrialized countries in the wake of the 1997-1998 crises to set prudent financial standards for national banking systems and carry out international surveillance for signs of impending financial crises.

Finally, Myoung-Ho Shin, Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank, would speak, he said.

The Spokeswoman said the ministerial segment would continue tomorrow morning, as round tables under the theme of "Partnerships in Financing for Development".

George Soros, President and Chairman of Soros Fund Management, would speak this afternoon at the business forum and give a press conference tomorrow morning with Mr. Malloch Brown, she said.

Ms. Markham said the Mexican Government would hold a daily press briefing, the first one to include the co-chairs of this morning's plenary meeting. The United Kingdom delegation would also hold regular briefings starting tomorrow, with one by the Secretary for International Development.

As of yesterday, 5,000 passes had been issued. Many of those had been issued to local staff assisting with preparations for the Conference. There were 15 prime ministers and deputy prime ministers, as well as 120 ministers and deputy ministers currently here in Monterrey. Delegates from some 120 countries had already arrived, and more were expected. Credentials for more than 1,100 media and 500 non-governmental organization representatives had been issued so far.

Ms. Markham introduced spokespeople and media contacts from the various United Nations agencies and programmes attending the Conference.

Press Conferences
Conference News