His Excellency Ambassador Mohammad A. Abulhasan
Head of the Delegation of Kuwait

The International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
21 March 2002

In the Name of God, The Compassionate, The Merciful

Mr. President,
   I wish first to congratulate you, on behalf of the State of Kuwait, on your election to preside over this milestone conference. Your election, Sir, is a testimony to the experience and skills, which, we trust, you would bring to the stewardship of our deliberations towards meeting our common goals. A word of thanks and gratitude to our friendly country for hosting the conference and for the remarkable organizational work.

Mr. President,
   My delegation associates itself with the statement made by His Excellency President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We wish his country and people more progress and prosperity. Also, let me pay tribute to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a sister state, for the enormous efforts it made during its chairmanship of the G-77 and China.

Mr. President,
   Since its independence in 1961, the State of Kuwait has vigorously sought a better life in terms of stability, security and economic prosperity for its people. The focus of our national constitution and the sound governance practices of the ruling family have all along been geared towards ensuring a dignified life for our people. Our leaders, represented by the successive Emirs of the State of Kuwait, have always recognized that consolidation of democracy, upgrading of physical infrastructure, domestic stability, respect for human rights and the rule of law are crucial pillars of sustainable economic and social growth. Thus, elimination of poverty and illiteracy were on top of our national economic and social agenda. Building on this national dimension, Kuwait established only a few months after our independence, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development with a view to help the development efforts of developing countries in general and the sister Arab states in particular. The aim of this orientation is to alleviate human suffering as well as to help economic and social progress by steadily increasing the rates of economic growth. Looking back at that modest but bold initiative, we notice that the Fund has been in existence for over four decades during which it offered 616 loans covering some 97 countries. Value of technical assistance provided to 84 institutions and states was in excess of 11 billion US dollars. This puts Kuwait in the lead of development aid donors since the total assistance given by Kuwait represents 8.2. percent of our gross national product (GNP). These figures demonstrates my country's keen commitment to making effective contribution towards the improvement of the living conditions in the developing world. Kuwait is also determined to pursue this course simply because we believe that reaching out with help is imperative upon the capable. Furthermore, the developing world is in dire need to feel the genuine benefits of economic globalization. Obviously, this will not preclude cooperation among various economic blocks and regions, which is essential for invigorating the pace of development, expansion of markers and intensification of free competition. All these factors will help in building a more interdependent world, a set up that would ensure a more equitable spread of dividends of globalization, which is undoubtedly our common objective.

    The new parameters of the world today have largely been defined by the ongoing information and communications revolution that shortened the intercontinental routes and channels of human interaction. Unilateralism and isolationism have become outmoded. Thus we have to work more closely together in order to lay the foundation for the structures that would help in bringing about welfare and progress. Creating windows of opportunity and hope can be achieved through the provision of technical assistance to the developing nations. This in turn would help in fostering national capabilities of each state. These must be a new spirit for dealing with this phenomenon. Our efforts should emanate from our recognition of the need to share benefits and responsibilities between the developing countries, on one hand, and the developed nations, on the other. Within this framework, conscious efforts must be made to ensure effective and fair participation by the developing countries in the international decision-making process. We must forge ahead in our drive to change the international financial system with a view to make it more democratic and transparent through a more meaningful dialogue between the South and the North. Our heads of state and government pledged in the United Nations Millennium Declaration to work collectively towards ensuring transparency in the financial, monetary and trade systems and creating open, equitable, nondiscrimination multilateral trade and financial systems based on predictable arrangements. Here, my delegation wishes to underscore the importance of seeing the developed countries making their markets more accessible to the exports of the developing world, including the removal of customs and other barriers to their manufactured goods. This would help these countries to mobilize their own resources for meeting the requirements of sustainable development. Furthermore, we call upon the developed countries to increase their official development assistance and to honor their commitments to allocate 0.7 percent of their GNP for this purpose. Also, we appeal to the developed countries to pay due attention to the harsh conditions facing the heavily indebted poor countries. In this context, there is a pressing need to write off all government bilateral loans owned by these countries in return for explicit commitment to eliminate poverty. This effort would be bolstered by the provision of adequate technical assistance, including the transfer of technology to these countries, in order to address the growing disparities between the North and the South.

Mr. President,
   My country, Kuwait, is a coastal sea-faring nation. We managed to survive the rigors of harsh desert environment by patience, steadfastness and the determined will to succeed. That national resolve turned parts of our desert into a hospitable green land throbbing with modern life. We have exploited our God-sent oil wealth to the benefit of our people and our brethren in humanity. It is the same will that always enabled Kuwait to face up to oppression and to defeat aggression. It is the same spirit fueled by our dynamism whether in repelling aggression or in fighting our battle of construction and development. The events of the recent past are a testimony to that will and spirit.

Mr. President,
   Kuwait, with its known track record, will always remain faithful to its time-honored principles and traditions, loyal to its friends and respectful for its contractual obligations. From this podium, may 1 make this appeal. All of us must meet our commitments to ensure a better future. Our road map is already set in the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus. These two documents will define the path for all peoples wishing to live in peace, for all future generations aspiring for security, knowledge and advancement, for a humanity seeking harmony and cooperation.

Thank you.

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