H.E. Ambassador Nouhad Mahmoud
Representative of Lebanon

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
March 21-22, 2002

  1. Mr. President, I would first like to commend the efforts made by the Preparatory Committee which has enabled us to have the final draft for this conference on financing development. Lebanon identifies with the ideas expressed in that document, especially the points raised in the draft by our group, the Group of 77.
  2. Development is an issue of central importance for all nations, North and South. It is the starting point where all progress, growth, and betterment emerge. It is a point that all of us seek; but one which many of us do not have. Development, furthermore, is necessary on both levels: local and international. Locally, because it allows for the creation of employment, better living standards for the population's groups and individuals, and because it helps us release our creativity in a flourishing society. It is equally important on the global level for it has become more than obvious that the widening socio-economic gap among nations is only a recipe for conflict and trouble for this generation and for those to come. A balance or equilibrium of some sort is crucial, now more than ever.
  3. Development, in order to succeed, must have a healthy and normal environment wherein peace, security, and a commitment to international law are the norm. Growth and betterment are not possible in conflict-ridden environments; nor are deviations from provisions of international law in states' relations and marginalization of democratic values conducive to the right conditions for development. And though the issue of terrorism is dominant at this time, let us not forget that international law is our common heritage, born from the calamity of war and human suffering, throughout history. It is, therefore, the framework that we must hold on to regardless of the circumstances.
  4. Development relies on financing. Action is necessary. It is stated in the second section of the draft that mobilizing international resources for development by use of private flows is one of the most important methods by which to realize development. We propose, however, to take this particular point one step further and emphasize the idea that multinational corporations should actively participate in the financing for development. With the vast amounts of available capital and the extensive presence and influence these transnational corporations attain, it is only reasonable that they play their part in this financial endeavor. After all, it is the multinational corporation that benefits most from a developed world - a world where the number and value of markets are substantially higher than what we encounter today.
  5. This idea of financial contribution by transnational corporations is already partially and sporadically practiced and greatly appreciated. The philanthropic acts by some symbols within the transnational system reflect humanism and vision. However, we look forward to the day when these acts of participation in equilibrated global development are mandatory, regulated, and institutionalized in an international fund wherein financial assistance for development is not tied to political considerations from one side or the other. We propose a freer system of financial contributions that does not only rely on government aid in the public realm and foreign direct investment in the private; participation of multinational corporations in a global system to finance development is just, reasonable, and feasible.
  6. Mr. President, the issue of financing for development is an all-important one, not to be forgotten once this conference is finished. Nevertheless, it is only the first step in our attempt to modify this world. For today's poor human conditions are the plain result of an egoistic train of thought that is threatening the same planet we all inhabit. We must try to rid ourselves of the greed and selfishness when addressing global issues. And though financing for development is today's matter, let us make tomorrow's agenda more ambitious; let us change our behavior and give, not because of compliance to any pressures, but because it is for the overall benefit of all humanity.

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