His Excellency Mr. Charles Goerens
Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
21st March 2002

Luxembourg is quite aware of the noteworthy progress achieved in the world in the past 30 years. This progress illustrates that poverty eradication is not an illusion. A child born today can expect to live 8 years longer than had been the expectation 30 years ago. But let us not forget that at the end of the year 2000 approximately 36 million people tested positive for AIDS or are carrying it. At that time, some 90 per cent of them lived in the developing world, and 70 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.

As for the progress achieved, however insufficient, it shows the existence of real means that we already have at hand. There is no question of challenging what has been achieved. And there is no question of letting this progress stagnate through a globalization process that is too exclusive. Let me list some of the many elements -- more equitable trade; general accountability as concerns combating climate change; a true North-South partnership benefiting the amplitude of the effort and its effectiveness; a global policy of health care that would bridge the gap that unfortunately continues to separate physicians from patients, the sick from medication and hospitals from the people who really need them – that can correct a globalization which is too unbridled and which can be made more humanistic through world governance, still too unstable today.

Together with our partners in the European Union (EU), we were not waiting for the tragic events of 11 September last. Nothing, of course, can justify the need for introducing far-reaching structural change on our planet. The Government of Luxembourg is alarmed over the drop in world official development assistance (ODA) over the past 10 years. Average ODA indeed has declined to a critical level, corresponding to only 0.22 per cent of GNP of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Thus, ODA to Africa, which in 1990 was still $25.4 billion, dropped to $15.7 billion in the year 2000.

My Government, which has over 10 years regularly increased its ODA, in the year 2000 devoted 0.74 per cent of its gross national income to that end. We decided to continue the increase of ODA, which should reach one per cent of its GNP between now and the middle of the decade. The European Union and its member States, which provide more than 50 per cent of ODA, bear considerable responsibility. We welcome the recent conclusions reached at the European Council in Barcelona; these are aimed at increasing the average ODA of member States to 0.39 per cent between now and the year 2006.

Luxembourg has actively participated in the work done in the European Union and in the United Nations Preparatory Committee in organizing this Conference. We consider that the Monterrey Consensus is inclusive and balanced, because it sets out a number of proposals that make it possible to mobilize new national and international resources on debt, trade and the role of the private sector in financing for development. It is important for developing countries to carry out the necessary reforms in order to ensure good governance. It is particularly a question of promoting the proper operation of public institutions, eliminating corruption, reducing inequalities and setting up fiscal and administrative systems that are efficient and transparent.

The international community will be judged more in the light of what happens after Monterrey – and in this respect I welcome the recommendations set out in the chapter entitled “Staying Engaged”. We must intensify our efforts to ensure the coherence of policies at the international level. This means that the objectives of sustainable development and combating poverty must be supported by all policies pursued at the multilateral level, whether it is a question of agriculture, trade, environment or finance.

Lastly, Mr. President, I would like to express my very best wishes to you for the successful completion of these deliberations.

* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.

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