Mr. Maris Riekstins 
Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico
21st March 2002

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Latvia to express my pleasure for having this opportunity to address the International Conference on Financing for Development.

Everyone will agree that mobilizing and increasing the effective use of financial resources has a pivotal role to eliminate poverty, improve social conditions and raise living standards, and protect environment in the developing countries. More importantly, the development assistance makes an effective contribution to peace and stability in developing and transition economies.

Promoting sustained growth and development is especially important in view of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that reduced world economic growth and caused economic slowdown in many countries. We are convinced that only bringing resources together will restore economic confidence and strengthen world economic, financial and trading systems.

Latvia regained its independence only 11 years ago. Since then we have taken enormous strains to implement macroeconomic and structural reforms and complete the transition to the functioning market economy. Now despite the global slowdown Latvia experiences robust economic growth and sustainable economic development on its path to the membership in the European Union. The positive developments were largely based on our readiness to absorb the assistance provided to Latvia by developed countries at the beginning of 90-ties. 

Our experience tells that it is not enough to receive international help, it has to be well administrated. Now Latvia stands ready to share its knowledge in the transition to market economy and also provide financial assistance to those countries who need it most.

In assisting developing and transition economies Latvia both grants development and humanitarian aid and participates in the aid programs provided by international organisations. The examples of the bilateral development assistance include help to the countries in Balkan region, and most recently, a decision of our government to convey humanitarian aid to ease the pain of Afghani refugees and civilians. As regards the multilateral assistance, since 1999 Latvia has become a contributor to the United Nation Development Program.

Latvia is interested in continuing its participation in the aid programs provided by the United Nations Development Program, The World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With the accession to the European Union, just in couple of years Latvia will become an integral part of the world largest contributor to the development-cooperation assistance. As a member country Latvia will be ready to join the EU in financing the European Development Fund, which provides financial aid to developing countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are convinced that international trade should act as an important engine for development. During the WTO Fourth
Ministerial Conference Latvia has strongly supported the view that the new round of multilateral negotiations should be directed at providing more benefits to developing countries, especially the least developed among them.

Latvia not only declares but also takes practical steps to support the integration of the developing countries into the multilateral trading system. Following its commitments under Doha Ministerial Declaration Parliament of Latvia has adopted a law granting dutyfree and quota-free market access for products originating from 49 world's least developed countries.

In conclusion, let me assure you that each country with efficient and continuous efforts, good governance may change its own course and reach significant improvement in economic and social development. We believe that Monterrey Consensus will help to achieve these goals.

I thank you very much.

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