The Hon Christine Gallus
MP Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Australia

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
18th-22nd March 2002

Mr President

The central message of the Monterrey Consensus is that development is a complex challenge. Eradicating poverty and delivering prosperity to all our people require sustained and coherent effort - across all areas of public policy, and from all players at the domestic and international levels.

I have been struck this week by a welcome convergence of views between developed and developing countries, and between government, business and civil society. There is a consensus that development financing can no longer be seen in terms of traditional development assistance alone. The continuing importance of ODA is undeniable. But it is only one of a number of interrelated responses that, together, contribute to development.

Sound domestic economic policy settings and strong domestic institutions are crucial to attracting investment and sustaining growth. So is sound governance, both public and corporate. And international economic and financial frameworks have to allow developing countries to compete for investment and gain access to markets.

It seems to me that if there is one theme that has emerged in Monterrey this week it is that there has to be greater coherence and consistency in our approach. My government agrees absolutely. I want to give two practical examples to illustrate the point.

Much of the benefit of ODA is undermined by distortions in the international trading system. Agriculture accounts, on average, for seventy percent of employment and thirty percent of production in developing countries. Yet developing countries are often excluded from export markets by tariffs, quotas and subsidised exports from high income countries.

According to the World Bank, high income countries spend US$350 billion a year - nearly $1 billion each day - on agricultural protection and support. This is seven times greater than the amount these countries provide in ODA, and twice the value of agricultural exports from all developing countries.

Clearly, if we are serious about financing development, we must tackle these distortions and ensure that trade can play its critical role as an engine of growth for developing countries.

My second example draws on Australia´s own efforts to promote coherent approaches to development in the Asia-Pacific region - a part of the world which is home to two-thirds of the world's poor and still faces enormous development challenges.

Our approach aims to assist developing countries meet their own development goals through agreed development frameworks, strengthened institutions and improved policy settings. We work closely with national governments, other donors and the international financial institutions to maximise the impact of our development assistance and ensure that donor support is integrated within the recipient country´s own development agenda.

Mr President

The Monterrey Consensus points the way ahead. The challenge of financing development is one we must tackle together - with creativity, cooperation, coherence of effort and, above all, with an unwavering commitment to assisting those in need.

I thank you, Mr President, and the governments of Mexico and Nuevo Leon, for your outstanding hospitality and for the contribution this conference has made to this important cause.

Statements at the Conference
Conference News