Her Excellency Ms. Claire Short

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
18th March, 2002

I am grateful for this opportunity to report briefly, with my co-Chair, on the ministerial round table convened by the Global Environmental Facility to take forward our thinking from Monterrey to Johannesburg and to ensure that when we come to the environmental agenda in Johannesburg that it is not a Northern anti-development agenda, which we sometimes hear in the environmental debate in the world, but rather that it is a real debate about how we guarantee development to the poor of the world within a sustainable planet.

 Obviously, the ministerial round table is not a substitute for the Preparatory Committee meetings for Johannesburg, but it does bring together interestingly ministers from the North, the South, environment and development ministers, the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), trying to work in parallel with the preparatory process to prepare for Johannesburg in a way that takes the world forward.

 I think and hope that we all agree that in the past we have had too many conferences, too many grand declarations and not enough implementation and that we must now keep to our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals not just as a grand aspiration, but as a plan to deliver to the poor of the world. We must go from the Millennium Assembly through the Doha agenda, which we delivered to have fairer trade rules in the world that enable the poorest countries to deliver an improvement in life to their people, and from the agreements reached here on financing for development on to Johannesburg, where we will make sure that the world has seen poverty eradication as being at the heart of sustainability for the future of our planet.

We must also at Johannesburg work through the new and improved paradigm we have in development through the poverty reduction strategy, where the country itself is in the driving seat, a reform agenda is not written in Washington and countries bring together their macroeconomic plans, their plans for improved public services and their plans to grow their own private sector and attract inward investment with their plans to sustain their environmental resources that will ensure that their country can improve the lives of the poor, who so particularly depend on environmental resources.

As participants are saying here, we must make sure that official development assistance is used in a way that does not just fund some projects, but also invests in competent modern States that can grow their economies in ways that deliver to their people and ensure that the environmental agenda is placed on all that and is not additional or separate.

In order to achieve that, of course we need, as participants have been saying here, better quality and quantity of official development assistance, but we also need to replenish the global environmental facility in a way that pays for the environmental costs of looking after the planet, without those costs falling to any one country. We must make sure that our improvement in trade rules helps, and we must ensure that the reforms ensure that both the domestic and international private sector contribute to technology transfer and the reduction of poverty.

So we are committed here to carrying on our work through the forthcoming OECD meeting to a parallel meeting in Bali and to a meeting in Johannesburg that really drives forward the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, so that we will have a planet with less poverty, but that is sustainable that we can hand down to our grandchildren.

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