H.E. Mr. Roni Milo
Minister for Regional Cooperation Head of the Israeli delegation

To the International Conference On Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
21st March 2002

Mr. Chairman, 

Please allow me to congratulate you on your election to chair this important forum and your skillful leadership of the Summit, as well as to convey my gratitude to the Government and People of the Republic of Mexico for the warm hospitality extended to the Israeli delegation. I am sure that under your leadership the Summit will leave its mark on this most important of issues.

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

The issues discussed at this Summit – mobilization of internal savings, encouragement of private flows, promotion of trade, reduction of debt and ODA (Official Development Assistance) – are components of a complex whole. We ourselves have implemented many of these policies and are willing to share our experiences, to help other emerging economies avoid the mistakes that we experienced.

Israel believes that the Monterrey Consensus being discussed this week provides an important roadmap for the work ahead of us towards the elimination of poverty and the consolidation of economic independence for all nations.  All measures may not be implemented immediately by all parties – but as parts of a whole, these elements contribute to the fundamentals upon which strong economies are built.

A number of the activities of Mashav – Israel’s Center for International Cooperation – have been instituted to promote the values echoed in this Summit.

Mashav’s individual programs not only work to transfer basic technologies and capabilities for sustainable growth, but also seek to implant a large number of principles mentioned at this summit over the past few days. 

Israel is re-investing a part of its ODA in development of the areas discussed at this summit. To our thinking, there can be no better use of ODA than the support of programs designed to address cardinal issues of financing development.  This investment has a self-reinforcing effect and creates a positive dynamic of development of growth.

Israel has maintained a positive growth rate in its ODA over the past years. While maintaining official statistics only since 1999, the past three years have shown a steady increase in the sums allocated to development assistance, reaching the level of 0.15 percent in 2001

Israel is taking its place among the donor nations compatible with the economic situation in which it finds itself. Israel has participated in the last 3 Replenishments of the IDA (International Development Association), lending its hand in the effort to assist States in the critical fields of public health, HIV control and education.

Israel also began to participate in the HIPC (Heavily Indebt Poor Countries) program of the World Bank, assisting certain States in reducing their debt. Israel is currently involved with 3 HIPC countries as an official creditor of the Paris Club. Although under no obligation to do so, Israel participates in the effort to ease the financial load of the nations, which are hardest-hit.

As Minister for Regional Cooperation, I would like to stress Israel's perception that the promotion of joint projects and consolidation of economic ties is important to the attainment of peace in the world and in
our region in particular.  Increasing the trade and investment between the States and peoples of our region will enable us to build more competitive economies and enhance the interaction between communities. We are 
working to further infrastructure projects with our neighbors in order to attain greater regional integration.

Mr. Chairman,

The ancient Jewish moral imperative of giving back to the community have already found expression from the early years of Israeli foreign policy. Israel has taken upon itself to share with other States from its experience in nation-building – be it by way of cooperation programs, technology transfer or by active participation in international fora such as these. This is rooted in our tradition, and we constantly ask ourselves how rather than if  we can lend a hand. 

I wish all my fellow delegates a fruitful debate. 

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