H.E. Ms. Kristiina Oiuland
Minister of Foreign Affairs

at the International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico 
18th-22nd March 2002

Mr. Chairman, 
Dear colleagues, 
Ladies and gentlemen,

Estonia assigns great importance to the ongoing development processes dealing Nvith trade (in Doha), financing (here in MTY), and the environmental aspects of global 1sation. I'm sure that you will all agree with me, if I say, that this is an enormously complex system of interrelated activities. But l hope, that if we make a serious  effort, the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, and even more, are achievable.
Estonia; along with some other countries (usually referred to as new, donor countries or emerging donor countries). is in a very untraditional position in the midst of these development processes. Namely we ourselves have started providing assistance to other countries. According to World Bank criteria, our economy has passed the transitional period, and we have become a regular Western economy. But on the other hand, we are still involved in several capital-intensive processes, which are being financed by other donors.
But I believe, that this also puts us in a unique position to contribute to the on-going development dialogue.

First, with your kind indulgence, I would like to address the developing world.

Some 10 years ago, Estonia was, in the opinion of many expert observers and economists, a wildcat. Some even went so far as to say that we would have been better off staying in the Soviet Union, since we couldn't possibly be successful on our own. But we believed otherwise, and were able to prove our convictions to the sceptics. Our key to success was the liberalisation of trade, and radical democratisation. I am not claiming that if our model was to be copied, step-by-step, by others, similar results would be achieved. But rather, my message is, that different models and possibilities have to be thoroughly examined and analysed, so that every nation can choose their own unique path to follow. But to do that, the most important thing is to know. where one wants to go! Only then, can specific and realistic targets be set for 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, and even 50-year periods. I can't stress enough the fact, that having a detailed plan is rather essential for successfully executing a development program.
Despite all the external factors that may come into play, success lies mainly in one's commitment to implement changes according to the pre-set development plan. That commitment may also require the making of choices and decisions that may, at the moment, not be popular with the populace. These unpopular decisions and resulting measures would probably include the elimination of all socalled "black market" trade, the enforcement of all legislation regulating business and trade, and the fight against corruption. These actions would definitely raise the ire of those that benefit from, or are used to just even accepting the aforementioned illegal activities. But as long as sound policies regarding governance, and an independent legal system and the rule of law are not implemented, I believe that no nation has a real chance of carrying out a rapid, or even stable, development program.

On the other had, with the successful implementation of these, and other, essential reforms, an efficient administrative capacity is created, which helps to ensure the effective use of aid rendered from abroad. In other words, development recreates development recreates development, ad infinitum. The saying "help comes to those who help themselves" is one essential key to successful development.
I would, with your permission, also like to address the international donor community.

As I stated earlier, Estonia is in a rather awkward position between the developing and developed worlds. But we are definitely progressing towards the latter. An integral part of that progress is to take responsibility for supporting others who are striving towards the same goal.
Estonia considers trade liberalisation to be a crucial precondition for sustained global development, a matter which we also emphasised in Doha. There is a direct link between trade liberalisation and economic development. Estonia, with a volume of foreign trade nearly twice the nation's GDP, is a prime example of that. I think, that after the initial shock of trade liberalisation to producers, everybody will gain from a freer world market. If developing countries can produce products cheaper, and would be permitted to export them freely, all consumers would benefit.
I sincerely think that development should be a "positive sum game". This means, that if, for us, the cost of providing assistance is smaller than the benefits to the recipient countries, we should definitely provide it. To enhance the commonweal of the whole world, we should all be ready to give up a marginal percentage of our material wealth. This will not affect our daily lives by lowering our everyday living standard, but can make a radical difference to the developing world. Therefore, Estonia strongly supports increasing official development assistance, or ODA, to the levels needed to reach the MDGs.

Dear colleagues,
The process of development, in the middle of which we now find ourselves, is of the utmost importance for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This requires all of us to make various very tough decisions. Estonia is willing to make the effort! And, I believe, that all of you, are as well.
Thank you.

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