His Excellency Mr.Vicente Fox Quesada
President of the United Mexican States

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
21st March 2002

Good morning. I declare open the summit segment of the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development and call to order the third plenary meeting of the Conference.

Welcome to Mexico. Welcome to a nation seeking to build a bridge between the problems of the past and the opportunities of the future. Welcome to a country that, from the standpoint of its new image of itself, views the world with fresh eyes. Today is a very special day that holds great significance for Mexican men and women. Today we are celebrating the birth of Benito Juarez, an admirable man who left an indelible mark on our nation. It is appropriate to remember him here at this United Nations meeting because his vision of respect for the rights of others is a vision of peace. That vision is also the basis of coexistence among our peoples.

Through our own experience, we have become familiar with the suffering and poverty that accompany underdevelopment. However, we are also familiar with the success and prosperity that can be achieved in a country determined to work and to advance, if it has the necessary resources. Thus, we have enthusiastically supported this meeting between the developing world and developed countries. For decades the nations of the world have endeavoured to address the problems of development and poverty through international cooperation. So far, however, the results achieved have been limited, belated and discouraging.

A century in which security was identified with the construction of walls and barriers has just ended. Today it is our responsibility to pave the way for a century of bridges, not barriers; of encounters, not wars; of shared responsibilities and achievements, not isolated efforts. 

Let us all welcome this historic opportunity we have to construct these bridges. Let us build together – developing and developed countries – bridges between economic growth and human development, between liberal trade and local development and between economic efficiency and citizen well being. Let that spirit prevail at this meeting. Let that be the spirit of Monterrey.

This is the time for change, in order to build. This meeting marks the beginning of a new concept of development. Monterrey has become the trigger for a new movement to fight marginalization and underdevelopment. Monterrey provides us, the developing countries, the opportunity to commit ourselves freely through the implementation of responsible economic policies and the developed nations the opportunity to improve the lives of the most poor. In this new era of shared progress, we must all assume our responsibility. If the twenty-first century is to be the century of development for all, we must be prepared to take bold action. This implies a challenge to our earlier attitudes and a search for new ideas and action. Let that be the spirit of Monterrey.

This Conference is not an isolated event. It is part of a world movement for development. The Millennium Summit marked the beginning of this new effort to eradicate marginalization. Impetus was provided in Doha for more equitable participation by developing countries in world trade. In a few months, the Johannesburg Summit will emphasize environmental aspects for sustainable development. We must all contribute to the new agenda for world development and participate in forging a future of peace, harmony and universal development, to which we all aspire, in a new spirit – the spirit of Monterrey.

We can no longer afford well being that is limited to a few nations or risk continuing in a world marked by exclusion and injustice. The struggle against poverty is a struggle for justice and peace in the world. Let us forge a new future for our nations. Let us adopt the Monterrey Consensus. Moreover, let us give impetus to the future development of nations in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity. We now have this great opportunity. Let us all have the integrity to use it. Let us not disappoint those who have placed their trust and hopes in this meeting.

We will all benefit from a more humane, more prosperous and more just community. Future generations will recognize our value or will reproach us for our lack of vision. Let us be bold enough to make this a century of bridges and encounters, not of walls and barriers. The time to decide is now, today in Monterrey.

I now invite the Conference to begin consideration of sub-item 10(a), entitled “General exchange of views”. Under this item, we will hear statements by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the General Assembly, the executive heads of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. We will also hear statements by heads of State or Government, as well as by heads of delegations. I now have the honour to invite His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to address the Conference. I have the pleasure of giving him the floor.

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

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