Mr. Jacques Chirac
French President

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
March 22, 2002

Mr. President of the United Mexican States, 
Heads of State and Government, 
Secretary-General of the United Nations, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

Only yesterday, the world order was frozen by the clash of blocs which posed a threat to peace and liberty.

Now that this fault-line has been overcome, the world can at last set about accomplishing its common destiny.

Globalization has brought us a degree of economic dynamism without parallel in history, free trade with its immense promises, and swift advances in knowledge and technology.

And yet more than two billion people live in dire poverty. People are still dying of cholera, tuberculosis and malaria, for want of treatment. HIV/Aids is ravaging entire populations-a terrible human tragedy and an obstacle to development.

And yet the world is confronted with fanatical terrorism, the tentacular power of organized crime and drug trafficking. It is not immune to financial turbulence. And nations, fearing their identity is about to be steamrollered by rampant globalization, are sometimes inclined to seek refuge in nostalgia for times past.

The inexorable advance of economic globalization calls for the globalization of solidarity. What is at stake in Monterrey is not only the financing of development. It is also about harnessing the world's nations in search of an answer to the gnawing question of our times: namely how to end a situation that is morally unacceptable politically dangerous, and economically absurd?

How are we to put an end to a situation in which the accumulation of wealth will not suffice to lift the very poor out of poverty?

I want to see a new wind blowing in Monterrey, a wind of generosity and hope. The conference document represents only a first step, in my view, a first realization of the scale of the problem. We should be more ambitious. Already Europe has decided to step up its development aid effort, aiming for the objective of 0.7%. President Bush has announced America's plans to revitalize its aid. The developing countries have committed themselves to promoting economic growth through good governance and greater recourse to private initiative. A global partnership for development through solidarity is being established where everyone will be pulling their weight. Africa has shown the way with the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

But we need to go further still.

To achieve the aims of the Millennium Summit, the World Bank estimates it will be necessary to double the amount currently spent on poverty eradication. It puts those needs at 100 billion dollars annually. That is undoubtedly a lot of money. But we need to place that in the context of the huge volume of international trade. It does not amount to very much when compared with the human, political and economic benefits our world would reap from eradicating poverty.

We must pursue every avenue in search of this objective. And those avenues exist, starting with an increase in official development aid. But that alone is not enough. We need to build on that. Via an additional allocation of special drawing rights. Via greater generosity in the application of debt cancellation decisions for the very poor countries and more ambitious treatment for the severely indebted middle-income countries. And it is natural to consider drawing on the wealth created by globalization in order to finance efforts to humanize and control it. We therefore need to ponder more deeply the possibilities of international taxation.

But the issues raised by this new partnership are broader still.

We want to bequeath a clean planet to our children. Even now we are using up nature's resources faster than it can replenish them. It would be irresponsible not to put an end to this dangerous trend. Polluting emissions have triggered a process of climate warming that threatens the conditions of life itself for ourselves and for our children. The Kyoto Protocol is the only credible means to reduce them, and I call upon all countries to ratify it. The approach it embodies prefigures the new sharing of resources and responsibilities on which nations must now agree.

For we need to build on Monterrey through a partnership for sustainable development. The ecological revolution is comparable in scale to the industrial revolution. That is the challenge we must work together to overcome in Johannesburg, by inventing new modes of production and consumption. By creating a World Environment Organization.

Heads of State and Government, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Six months ago New York was disfigured by a hateful crime. America, with the support of the international community, struck back at the terrorists who threatened it. And the world came together in a coalition against terrorism, determined to act firmly, within the framework of the law.

What can be done against terrorism can surely be done against poverty, in the name of a more human, manageable globalization. Let us form a coalition to build together a universal civilization where there is a place for everyone, where everyone is respected, and where everyone has a chance.

France has never ceased to pursue the same dream, which is to make a global reality of its own ambitious motto: liberty, equality, fraternity.

Inspired by that ideal and by the commitments of the Millennium Summit, France proposes that we work together over the coming decade to bring to fruition five projects. Five projects that testify to our resolve to make globalization serve mankind:

  • allocating 0.7% of the wealth of the industrialized countries to development of the poor countries,
  • agreement on new funding for their development,
  • the creation of an Economic and Social Security Council, within which all can work together for the sustainable management of global public goods,
  • fulfillment of the Kyoto objectives and the establishment of a World Environment Organization,
  • the conclusion of a Convention on cultural diversity, expressing our confidence in the capacity of humans to reconcile the unity of the world with its diversity.
We owe it to future generations.

Thank you.

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