H.E. John Briceño
International Conference on Financing for Development
Mr. President, Distinguished colleagues Ladies and Gentlemen
For some time now we have engaged in discussions and negotiations leading to this conference and to the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus. For some, the process has been arduous and in certain instances frustrating. Still, we persisted, for our pain pales in comparison to the struggles of our people who toil daily to provide the basic necessities for themselves and their families.
Today, rising from the shadows of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the warmth and hospitality of the good people of Monterrey, 1 question whether the Monterrey Consensus, which we came to adopt, brings us any closer to accomplishing the development goals set out in the Millennium Declaration, to eliminate poverty, improve social conditions, raise living standards, and protect our environment. Yes, we have put fourth a document that clearly outlines our concerns as well as our hopes for possible solutions to overcoming poverty and achieve meaningful sustainable development. In addition, we have identified those factors that inhibit developing countries like my own from fully participating in the global economy and we outlined the need for new development financing strategies and fair trade practices. But this is not enough.
'The ability of developing countries to build the capacity for growth with the mechanisms in place to benefit from globalization and ensuring that our people fully participate in the global economy is crucial. Our efforts to create fair trade conditions or to generate more investment are unsustainable if they ignore the human factor. Investment in trade liberalization and global participation must be guided by our commitment to improve the lives of our people while reducing overburdening debt which were created in an effort to meet the inevitable demands of this inequitable global process.
For us in Belize the way forward includes fair trade, debt reduction and increased investment with external financing by all relevant stakeholders. Like other economies in transition, we firmly believe that trade is the engine that. will generate the much-needed financial resources crucial for our development. International trade, especially in those areas where we have a comparative advantage, cannot be ignored in any process that seeks to address meaningful development. We believe in the promises of development through free trade, but we also recognize that free trade is only possible when there is fair trade. We therefore continue to call on our developed partners who consistently urge us to liberalize our economies, to work with us to make trade more just and equitable by removing the trade barriers placed on our agricultural commodities and by eliminating the subsidies to their agricultural and industrial sectors that restrict our ability to compete within the world market. In this context we support the sentiments of UNDP director Mark Malloch Brown when he reminds us that included in the Millennium declaration are commitments to "construct a more inclusive globalization that provides developing countries with the support they need to compete on a leveled playing field."
Another vital component of our development is external financing, whether in the form of aid or through foreign investment. While we recognize that the responsibility for development lies within the scope of national governments, we are also realistic. We cannot develop with increasing GDP alone; in fact one is often contingent upon the other. If we will succeed in reducing poverty- and develop our economies there must be significant increases in ODA. UNCTAD Secretary General Mr. Rubens Ripucero expressed it well when he stated before this conference: "developing countries must turn to external financing to secure the means for increasing their international competitiveness." It is important to stress that other forms of assistance not be made in place of the agreed Official Development Assistance, ODA flows must continue as was agreed by our developed partners and its requirements less prohibitive by national policies alone. In this context, we continue to support the efforts of the government and people of the Republic of China and Taiwan for their ongoing technical missions to Belize and other Central American countries. We recognize their contribution to development and welcome their increase in ODA from eleven percent to 17 percent of GNP
We need to he reminded that continued global economic growth is contingent upon our ability to maintain global stability and that global stability can only be maintained when all the people of the world believe that they have a stake in the much exalted globalized economy. All must believe that their efforts to participate in the benefits of our globalized economy are not in vane. Our people have kept the faith, they have continued to be hopeful despite the gloomy statistics that clearly indicate that over the last decades the poor have been further marginalized.
At the dawn of the new rnillenium, our people gave us a second chance. They preferred to see this time as an opportunity for renewed hope. At the Millenium Summit we promised them that we would work harder to alleviate their struggle. We took their challenge and offered them a new hope.
The marginalized of the world have been patient and faithful, they have been kind to us, and have listened to us argue and talk for the past ten years. I believe we have come to that moment when they have heard enough. Let us go from Monterrey and immediately effect change. We need not hold another conference, pass another resolution or speak another word. What we need now is action, least we find ourselves in 2015 lamenting the fact that once again we have failed the future.
Statements at the Conference