Mr. Byron Blake
Assistant of Secretary-General

International Conference on Financing For Development 
Monterrey, Mexico 
18th-22nd March 2002

Mr / Madam Chairperson:
Partnership for Development:

This Conference faces a monumental challenge. It seeks to address the critical issue of the means to development in a spirit
and context of partnership. The development gaps are widening exponentially and control over the means of development is
becoming increasingly concentrated in a few countries, corporations and individuals. Among the critical gtaps are:

  • the human development gap; 
  • the technology gap; 
  • the knowledge and information gaps; 
  • the production gap; 
  • the trade and terms of trade gaps.

Development requires a narrowing of these gaps. The Conference is therefore challenged to identify and to facilitate the organization of resources in a manner which will begin to close the gaps and raise the level of development in developing countries, particularly in the least developed and in the most vulnerable, and for all segments of the populations, especially the most disadvantaged.

One question to be asked is whether, "the Monterrey Consensus" identifies and secures access to a level of resources for the majority of countries - members of the United Nations - which could begin to address their development challenges. As early as 1965, when the development gap, measured by the income gap, was nearer 25:1, it was assessed that development assistance of 0.7% of the GNP of the developed countries would be necessary to begin to close the gap. With that gap more in the region of 100:1; with global climate change and sea-level rise; and with increasing demands to provide for global security; the Consensus has only found it possible to urge developed countries to make best effortstowards the 0.7% of GNP - no timeframe.

CARICOM's Interest in the Conference:

CARICOM, is comprised of fourteen (14), soon to be fifteen (15) of the smallest and most vulnerable countries in the world. Its entire membership is included in the forty-nine States which the Commonwealth Secretariat / World Bank Task Force described as "small states" in its April 2000 Report. That Report concluded that "small states share a number of special developmental challenges in the global economy". These challenges arise from factors beyond their control including:

  • openness;
  • susceptibility to natural disasters and environmental change;
  • limited resource, production and export diversification; and
  • limited access to global capital markets.

CARICOM States are particularly vulnerable to the volatility in export earnings and to natural disasters which often reduce the life of otherwise long-term infra-structural investments to less than 5 years creating the need for repeated outlays on replacement rather than on building new infrastructure.

Yet, CARICOM States are among small States which the international community considers not to be in need of any special categorization for development resources and are often candidates for graduation from the concessionary resources of the international financial institutions because of the application of inappropriate criteria and the general scarcity of such resources. This Conference on Financing for Development must address this issue squarely. Small size, coupled with extreme vulnerability, must create conditions deserving of special consideration in the direct provision of resources for development and in the indirect provision through a more equitable and responsive international trading system.

Small States are not geographic curiosities, they are real which the international community must embrace, accommodate and facilitate in their quest for people-centred and environmentally sensitive development.

What Have the Small States in CARICOM Been Doing to Assist Themselves to Overcome the Challenges

While the small States in the Caribbean recognize the need for international cooperation they also acknowledge their own responsibility to address the challenges and constraints to their development.

To address the challenge of small size they have embraced regional integration and cooperation to increase market size and access to production resources and to share the cost of certain services through common programmes. They are on a legally binding programme to remove all restrictions to the movement of capital, the provision of services and the right to establish businesses among themselves by the end of 2005. Free Trade in goods has already been achieved.

In the spirit of open regionalism, CARICOM has also been establishing trade and cooperation agreements with other developing countries to increase market size and induce competition.

What Did CARICOM Expect Of the Monterrey Conference:

CARICOM recognizes that the challenges of development are deepseated and that significant resources and appropriate and mutually re-inforcing policies at national, regional and international levels are required to address the difficulties facing developing countries, in particular, the least developed and the small and vulnerable States. CARICOM, therefore, expected this long overdue International Conference on Financing for Development, at least, to:

  • identify the financial resources, including the new resources which are required to assist developing countries in addressing the major development challenges including those which will arise from trade liberalization, global environmental degradation and global security issues;
  • ensure that the rules for access to development resources recognize and provide specifically for the special circumstances of small and vulnerable States:
  • direct that the rules for attracting private investments are no more onerous for developing countries, in particular, small and vulnerable developing countries, than they are for developed countries;
  • seek to ensure that the conditions for access to financial resources for development do not increase the bureaucracy, the time and technical demands on developing countries;

Mr I Madam Chairperson:

Coming in the wake of September 11; and of the Doha Ministerial and just ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,
this Conference is uniquely placed to assess the need for, and to put in place mechanisms to mobilize the required financial resources. The Leaders must now summon the will to act.

Thank You.
Caribbean Community Secretariat .

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