H.E. José María Aznar 
President of the Government of Spain

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
March 21-22, 2002

Mr. President of this Conference
Mr. President of the General Assembly of the United Nations
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations Organization

One of our shared concerns brings us together today at this, the Monterrey Conference: the unbearable situation of a large part of Humanity. It is not just a moral concern based on ethics. It is also the conviction that it is necessary to extend to everyone, that is, to every human being who inhabits the earth, the opportunities enjoyed by the citizens of developed countries.

We have come, then, not only to reflect, but also to act, to make the world we live in a more just, more prosperous and better place, with our sights set not on abstract considerations, but on concrete human beings.

In this sense, I sincerely believe that the Monterrey Conference is an important step in a process which the International Community as a whole decided to support at the Millennium Summit. Monterrey, along with Doha and Johannesburg, is and will be a name associated with the effort to concertedly confront the varied aspects of development.

Because global challenges require global responses. This is the great potential of the well-named Monterrey Consensus. We are without a doubt facing the important renewal of a universal pact to eradicate poverty. This pact is based on the firm engagement of some, and on a conviction: no one is condemned to poverty or underdevelopment. Every country has a potential for creativity and growth which must be freed.

This is about an accord to seek and achieve commitment to the most relevant aspects influencing development and the elimination of poverty.

Liberty, democracy, good governance and transparency with respect to Fundamental Rights, economic liberalization, increased and better aid, more dialogue and participation, preferential attention to education – a basic element in sustainable development – are, among others, some of the issues comprising the multifaceted complex an adequate policy for the encouragement of development must be.

The European Union is the world’s biggest donor of development aid, and would like to reiterate at this Conference its adherence to the principles and actions embodied in the Monterrey Consensus. Our new international reality implies challenges which demand new, imaginative formulas. We are sensitive to these concerns and thus, at this Conference I would like to present the following initiatives the European Union adopted by consensus.

In accordance with our repeated commitment to achieve the goal of channeling 0.7% of our Gross National Product to Official Development Assistance, the Member States of the UE have decided to do what they must to collectively reach an average of 0.39% in the European Union by 2006.

In order to do this, those European Union Members with contributions equal to or greater than 0.7% will continue their efforts to maintain or exceed this amount. Those contributing less than this amount will make every effort to at least reach the level of 0.33% of their GNP for Official Development Assistance in 2006.

In addition, the European Union demonstrates its determination to make Development Assistance more efficient. It must reach the beneficiaries with greater ease, greater speed and less cost. In order for this to happen, the Member States of the European Union will implement concrete measures to coordinate policies and procedures for harmonization before 2004, in accordance with internationally agreed criteria, including the application of the recommendations by the OCDE Special Unit, Development Assistance Committee, on donor actions.

In accordance with this same philosophy, we will implement the recommendations of the Development Assistance Committee to eliminate conditions for assistance for least developed countries. We will also continue debates for a greater untying of bilateral aid. The European Union will also study measures for a greater untying of community aid, while maintaining the current systems of pricing preferences within the framework of accords between the Union and the ACP Group.

Based on the conviction that international trade is an authentic engine for development, the European Union is firmly committed to leading the development agenda agreed in Doha, with special emphasis on the liberalization of markets. The European Union is in fact the main export market for developing countries and offers generous trade preferences. Furthermore, the EU has marked the appropriate path with the “Everything but Weapons” initiative, which concedes access with no tariffs or contingencies for exports of Least Developed Countries.

The European Union will increase assistance to strengthen long-term trade capacity, productive capacity and the measures to exceed supply limits in developing countries. The EU will immediately facilitate technical assistance to improve the negotiating capacity of developing countries with respect to trade, including its commitments assumed at the WTO Pledging Conference in Geneva on March 11, 2002, which have reached 60% of the total amount committed in 2002.

We will continue to work on the process of an international definition of the most important global public goods, including the proposal for the establishment of a special unit to that effect. Sufficient financial resources must be dedicated to Global Public Goods. This is consistent with the Official Development Assistance convention. Specific funds, such as the recent Global Health Fund, may be valid instruments for channeling private, bilateral and multilateral resources.

The Union will make every effort to influence the reform of the international financial system by fighting against abuses of financial globalization, strengthening the voice of the developing countries in making economic decisions internationally and, while respecting their respective functions, enhancing coherency between the UN, international financial institutions and the WTO.

Finally, the Union will continue its efforts to guarantee debt sustainability in the context of the renewed HIPCI initiative, so developing countries, particularly the poorest, can continue to grow and develop without the limitations of unsustainable debt. We understand, however, that it is necessary to streamline procedures and to shorten terms, given the difficult situations of the eligible countries.

Mr. President

These commitments express the will to involvement that the European Union has and will have, for improving the living standards of broad sectors of the planet.

I would not like to end this speech without thanking the Government and people of Mexico for their ever-warm hospitality. In the same way, I would like to thank President Vicente Fox for his offer of Mexico as host of this Conference. We find ourselves in a country which is particularly conducive to understanding the challenges, difficulties, opportunities and hopes of the struggle to obtain full development.

I also thank the United Nations and its Secretary General for having convoked this Conference, which is not an ending but rather a starting point. Many difficult efforts remain to be achieved, but we have received a mandate which we must fulfill and it is our own future that is at stake.

Thank you very much.

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