H.E. Mr. Cham Prasidh
Minister of Commerce and 
Head of Delegation of the Kingdom of Cambodia

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
22nd. March, 2002

Mr. President,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to join Cambodia's voice to the other LDCs in welcoming the outcome of this International Conference on Financing for Development. We came with a lot of expectations. We came to hear how the rich countries would do to assist poorer countries to get out of poverty. The Monterrey Consensus reflects what is really going on in the world: we are still witnessing pledges, even more pledges for ODA, even though not up to the desirable level. We are also hearing pledges for better and enhanced market access for LDCs products.

The current world's economic situation does not allow us to get more than what has been achieved in Monterrey. We have to be practical: we cannot ask the rich countries to do more than what they can afford, at this moment. We shall wait for better days. We do hope those better days will come soon enough so that, at the next World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, in August/ September 2002, there will be more concrete results and better commitments than those made here.

My 5-minutes speech will not do much but it you add up the 5-minutes speeches of 49 LDCs, you will come out with a long speech about their plea to get out of poverty. It is a plea for a new international deal - a grand bargain, as Mr. Mike Moore puts it in his yesterday's speech.

I would like to add a few viewpoints to the previous speakers for your consideration. I am not asking for a quick decision but I am asking for a farreaching political decision on the following matters:

  1. Why are there now more LDCs than at the time of the Rio World Summit? I think the solutions that were provided since then were not comprehensive enough to help the LDCs out of poverty. You may talk - about developed countries lowering their tariff barriers, simplifying import procedures etc. etc. You may talk about some of them being still very protectionist. But this is just one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that from the LDCs' side, they too have not been able to perform well. Because of their lack of skills and knowledge of the world's markets, they have not been able to build up their supply capacity nor are they able to meet international standards. Therefore, I propose that further consideration be given to extend ODA to building capacity for trade in the LDCs.
  2. There are 49 LDCs in which some are HIPCs and some are not HIPCs. This is not related to a horse race, it relates to public debt. There are some LDCs like Cambodia who tried to be less HIPC than the others. Why is the HIPC initiative going to be implemented only for those HIPCs and not also to the rest of the LDC group? Why are the rich countries not willing to reward those LDCs who tried hard not to be heavily indebted? Therefore, I propose that if any debt cancellation is under consideration by the rich countries - like those in the Paris Club - it should be extended on a non-discriminatory basis to all LDCs.
  3. Mainstreaming trade into development policies has been neglected in the past. But nowadays people start to acknowledge that trade is a tool for development, the engine of growth. The Integrated Framework on Trade-related TA for the LDCs which was designed by the 6 Core Agencies - IMF, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, WB and WTO - is the right mechanism to assist the LDCs to master their own development. Therefore, I propose that further consideration is being given to this initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Making our voices heard in this International Conference is just one thing, but the other thing, which is more important for us, is how to be able to move the hearts of all the world's prominent leaders who are gathered here in Monterrey and to be able to develop their political will and their courage to shape a better future for the billions and billions of people who are still living under extreme poverty conditions? There is still some room for improvement and we do count on your commitment and your courage to materialize last year's Brussels Action Plan for the LDCs and the Doha Ministerial Declaration on WTO Development Agenda.

The Royal Government of Cambodia, through the voice of Prime Minister Samdech HUN SEN, committed itself to achieving the Millennium Summit Development Goals (MDGs) which emphasized the importance of efforts to integrate peace and development, and called for a coordinated and comprehensive approach by all partners to support economic growth, social sector investment, environmental protection, peace-building and the promotion of good governance. Your assistance is now more needed than ever if those Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved in 2015.

Thank you.

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