His Excellency Mr. Andrés Pastrana Arango
As we speak of our common world, I wish to tell you about a well-known statistical exercise circulated each year on the Internet. Perhaps many of you are already familiar with it. The exercise gives us an idea about how our planet’s population would be composed if we were able to reduce its inhabitants proportionally to merely 100 persons. I think this exercise will give us a lot to think about over these first few days of the Conference, and I would like to share it with you.
If there were only 100 people on planet Earth, 57 would be Asians, 21 would be Europeans, 14 would be from the Inter-American continent and 8 would come from Africa. Fifty-two would be women, and 48 would be men. Thirty would be white, and 70 would be from other races. Thirty would be Christian, and 70 would profess other religions. Eighty would be heterosexual, and 11 would be homosexual. Six would possess 49 per cent of the world’s wealth, and those six would come from the United States. Eighteen would dwell in inadequate housing. Seventy would not be able to read. Fifty would be undernourished. One would be about to be born, and another would be about to die. Only one would have a university level education, and only one would own a computer.
If we look at our world from this compressed perspective, the need to accept the fact that one has to be tolerant to understand and educate people becomes very impressive. I myself have to say that I own a computer; I know how to read and write; I am educated; I am not undernourished; I have decent housing; and I am alive. Why should I complain? We, who not only have education technology and a good quality of life, who have had access to the highest academic levels, and who have national and international responsibilities – what have we done? What are we doing now? And what can we do so that this world, this immense global village, becomes a more just, more equitable and more peaceful world? This is precisely the objective of this Conference.
If the planet had only 100 individuals, how many of them would be leaders or would have the power to lead -- for better or for worse -- the destiny of our group? Surely one – and only one. This is the world in which we have to live, but it certainly is not the world in which we wish to live. We have many tools right in our hands to enable us to bring the world closer to a horizon where social justice prevails. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said that no one can be truly rich if his or her neighbours are poor. We are talking about a thought process that I think sums up very well the philosophy that brings this forum to the immense majority of world nations – including the most developed countries, those with median-level income and the least developed – namely, the crucial topic of financing for development.
Human beings, without any distinction whatsoever, are a community – a community that navigates together on this globe we call the Earth. As a community we have to work so that the fate of our neighbours or of those who live far away can be the same as that of those in our own countries. You cannot pick a flower in China without, sooner or later, feeling its effects on the other side of the planet. Colombia has proposed to the world a very fundamental concept that can and should apply to all topics and problems that interest humankind as a whole – that of shared responsibility. This principle, which my country has encouraged and promoted successfully on the subject of the global problem of drugs, applies as well to all of the challenges facing humanity. Because of their global character, these challenges require an integrated approach.
Shared responsibility is financing for development. Shared responsibility means arms control. Shared responsibility means a joint, unswerving struggle against terrorism. Shared responsibility is to support equal access to new information technologies. Shared responsibility means the preservation of the environment, because it belongs to all of us, and, above all, to future generations.
How does one visualize this shared responsibility in the area of Financing for Development? It can be done through the implementation of the following postulates: first of all, the creation of a favourable international environment for the competitive integration of the economies of developing countries; consolidation of associations that link Governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and various sectors of civil society so that they can work to support development, considering both its international and domestic aspects; strengthening of the role of the regional financial organizations; fulfilling the goals referring to official development assistance; promotion of foreign direct investment; promotion of free and equitable trade with developing countries; and redesigning the international financial architecture to make financing for development more flexible and efficient and to prevent the effects of possible national or international crises.
We simply do not have the time to refer to each one of these points in the detail that they deserve, but I think it is good to know that, in the great majority of them, we are achieving important, very significant agreements in the Monterrey Consensus, which we will be signing tomorrow as a legacy of responsibility towards our people and their future.
What we can do, however, is to make a few relevant points on some of these topics. For Colombia, it is clear that international financing should not be aimed solely at the introduction of economic reforms to foster growth; rather, it has to foster something else -- this component of human and social well being, which we call development, and which transcends figures that describe macroeconomic results. Of course, we share the approach according to which the primary responsibility to development is up to each and every country. But we know that in a globalized world marked by interdependence it is impossible to speak of development if we do not have a favourable environment in areas such as financing, cooperation, investment and trade.
Allow me to use my country as an example. Colombia is a nation of more than 40 million inhabitants. We are talented, hard-working people who have yielded fantastic artistic, cultural and scientific results for humanity. Our territory is rich in natural resources, and its biodiversity is among the greatest in the world. However, more than half of our population lives in poverty, to a great extent because of two phenomena that have affected the country during the last few decades and that have further deepened traditional disparities in the economic and social area. I am talking about the worldwide problem of illicit drugs and an internal conflict generated by a few violent groups with an anachronistic dialogue and no popular support. Faced with this situation, what can we expect from the international community?
As I said earlier – financing, cooperation, investment and trade – all mesh with the principle of shared responsibility. The global drug problem, which is the main financing source for violence and terrorism in my country and in the world, will not be solved if we do not work together and pool our efforts to stave it off. We need cooperation for the eradication of drug cultivation and for interdiction in producer countries. We require control to avoid the diversion of chemical precursors by industrialized countries. We need prevention control in consumption all over the world, and we need control in the responsible sale of arms and weapons, and we need the international community’s true commitment against money laundering, which is turning the drug business into one of the most fantastically huge businesses in the world today, and certainly one of the most damaging. To fight this scourge, we have to have put into practice a principle of responsibility.
In other words, we need more than solidarity; we need responsibility to ensure that the contribution of industrialized countries is 0.7 of gross domestic product (GDP) for official development assistance (ODA). Responsibility, so that the most developed countries do not put commercial barriers in the way of the least developed, thus maintaining protectionism that limits the opportunities for progress of the vulnerable countries. Responsibility, so that foreign direct investment means truly more jobs and more income for recipient countries. Responsibility, so that financing is also achieved with social criteria, making sure that development goes before profitability.
No one can be rich if his or her neighbours are poor. This is a veritable fact that we must not forget, because it is self-fulfilling. Poverty is contagious. Our challenge today is to ensure that wealth and the well-being that it can create will extend in the widest and most equitable way possible all over the world.
This Conference, and the Consensus that will emerge from it, constitute a fundamental step towards this objective. We have to continue to work so that hope will never again die, imprisoned by words and promises, and so that children who know nothing about this Summit, but who suffer from poverty, will be able to reap the positive effects of our discussions.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.