H.E. Jan Kavan
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico
18 March 2002

 Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, 

 On behalf of the Government of the Czech Republic let me first thank the government and people of Mexico for hosting this important meeting. I firmly believe that this conference will help the international community solve current challenges of the globalized world. 

 The Czech Republic places great importance to the international development goals adopted by the UN Millennium Summit. As candidate for the presidency of the 57th GA, we are committed to contribute, as much as possible, to successful fulfillment of such Millennium Development Goals as: halving poverty, universal access to primary education, reduction of maternal and child mortality and reverse of the spread of HIV-AIDS by the year 2015. In order to make progress in resolving these complex issues it is necessary for partnerships and effective co-operation to take place between all the interested parties. These include the governments, international financial and trade organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The Czech Republic supports the process of financing for development with the hope that it will encourage the mobilization of both domestic and international efforts and resources and their efficient and cost-effective use. 

 The Czech Republic is convinced that the preparatory process for this conference by itself has made a significant contribution to improving partnerships between all the key stakeholders on the national and international level. 

 We are also convinced that the primary responsibility for the creation of a framework for sustainable development will always rest with the countries in question. Clear national strategies for the poverty reduction are, in my opinion, the necessary prerequisites for the subsequent engagement of donor countries, international organizations as well as the non-governmental organizations and private sector in the development efforts. To an increasing degree the developing countries are accepting responsibility for good governance, transparent decision-making and sound economic and legal environment. In this context we welcome recent initiatives, such as ”New Partnership for Africa’s Development” and ”Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper”. 

 The process of financing for development represents, by its comprehensive scope, a fresh and holistic approach by the international community towards the sustainable development world-wide. The Czech Republic considers all elements of financing for development, i.e. domestic resources, private investments, international trade, official development assistance and debt relief, to be mutually supportive and beneficial. 

 The Czech Republic faced numerous challenges in its transition towards market driven economy in the 90s. We have achieved many accomplishments but we also missed some opportunities. Experience of our country as well as some other countries from our region shows how important coherence, credibility and appropriate sequencing of respective policies are. For instance, privatization, which is not preceded by establishment of adequate legal, regulatory and institutional framework can lead to economic losses with negative social implications. The absence of such an important legislation can also be conducive to corruption.   Increase in foreign direct investments in the late 90´s in the Czech Republic is a good example as to how the comprehensive reforms,  transparency and good governance become the best way to attain a greater involvement of foreign investors. 

 The Czech Republic, as a candidate for EU accession, accepts its share of responsibility when solving the problems of the international community and is prepared to contribute to their resolution. As an emerging donor the Czech Republic intends to actively engage in international co-operation. The Government of the Czech Republic has accepted the ”Policy for Foreign Development Assistance for the Period 2002-2007”, which supports the international development objectives and development practices in the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. 

 I am of the opinion that, in particular, the group of the least developed countries deserves special attention. The Czech Republic supports measures to eliminate the marginalization of the least developed countries. As an active member of the WTO the Czech Republic emphasizes that the Organization should take into account the requirements and justified needs of developing countries, namely the least developed ones, and supports their deeper engagement in the multilateral trade system. The Czech Republic endorses the importance of the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to the least developed countries. And we believe its pilot program will bring tangible results in the near future. The Czech Republic is displaying its support for the least developed countries in the area of foreign trade by not applying any duty or quota limitations on imports of goods originating from these countries. The Czech Republic also welcomes the enhanced HIPC initiative, to which it makes active contribution, as a realistic tool for debt relief of the poorest countries. 

 Although I am sure that there is no direct causal link between poverty and terrorism, I am at the same time convinced that they share a common base.  Unsolved extreme poverty, same as unsolved long term political conflicts, (and especially a combination of both) can lead to feelings of powerlessness, frustration and anger which create fertile soil of sympathies for fundamentalist, radical or even terrorist behaviour. We therefore have to implement the Millennium development goals and fight poverty not only for moral and humanitarian reasons but we should also perceive it as an integral part of a struggle against terrorism and extreme intolerance of all kinds, as a struggle for stable, secure and more just world. 

 Allow me in conclusion to emphasize that the Czech Republic supports the efforts of the international community for full and effective co-operation within the framework of the process for financing development and for this reason is ready to support the adoption of the ”Monterrey Consensus”. 

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