His Excellency Mr. Abderrahman Youssoufi
I have the honour to read out a message from His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, to this Conference.
First of all, I would like to pay tribute to Mexico, a country that is a friend of ours, for hosting this important Conference to take up the major challenges facing the developing countries. We are not meeting here to consider the causes and manifestations of underdevelopment from which many developing countries suffer. We are not here to examine the huge disparities and imbalances that have led to a situation in which our world is made up of small islands of wealth and prosperity and vast oceans of poverty, illiteracy, devastating epidemics and shocking inadequacies in various areas of human development.
We are all familiar with this harsh reality. It has been described very well and often in the past. We have to seek ways and means of obtaining the resources needed to achieve sustainable development. Here, I would highlight financing for development. Various international conferences have addressed the issue. Many international recommendations have been made. But the matter has not yet been satisfactorily dealt with.
The backdrop to this Conference is an unavoidable structural evolution towards complete globalization that is sweeping through markets and trade. It is also characterized by violent upheavals. Indeed, the tragedy of 11 September 2001 was one of the worst demonstrations of that. This backdrop gives the item on the agenda of this Conference particular strategic significance. It means that we must all be firmly resolved to ensure that we talk up the issue of financing for development as the most effective way of combating exclusion, despair and extreme poverty, which are the greatest threat to security and peace in the world.
Our late father, His Majesty Hassan II, spoke in 1994 at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) conference in Marrakesh. He stressed the need to have good governance of public affairs. He urged that we take a multilateral approach, strengthening the harmony between national policies and economic, financial and trade matters, with greater coordination of the activities of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization.
Today, I am very happy to see that his appeal was heeded and that our Conference is bringing together various multilateral institutions to discuss international economic relations. So we must seize this opportunity to develop a clearly defined strategic vision, backed up by collective resolve, to create a solid plan of action for the developing world. We must be pragmatic and realistic in what we say and do. But we must also be ambitious and proactive.
It is our hope that this Conference will take historic decisions to bring developing countries more and more into globalization processes and enable them to participate fairly and responsibly in decision-making on matters of concern to the entire human race within the context of a new concept of international, financial and monetary operations.
Public support for development is of huge importance here. Morocco calls on the international community to muster their efforts to increase the amount of official development assistance as quickly as possible to reach the Goals set at the Millennium Summit, and, more specifically, to reduce poverty by half by 2015.
We must seek lasting efficient solutions to the external indebtedness of developing countries. I would also make the point that trade liberalization must be done fairly and equitably so that developing countries can benefit from this liberalization to the maximum. This will lead to major resources being made available to them for economic and social development.
The development agenda that emerged from the Doha conference brings hope to all developing countries, for it augured the emergence of a new multilateral order for world trade. All countries, whatever their level of development, will certainly benefit from that. This prospect must now become a reality. Geographical and sectoral diversity and foreign direct investment, with incentives at the national and international levels, is another goal that we must work towards. We must work hard for this so that we can lessen the different development levels in the world.
Africa is facing major difficulties. It deserves priority attention. For 33 African countries are among the least developed countries of the world. Africa is still suffering from several conflicts and heightened tensions, and our peoples are exposed to many devastating calamities and terrible tragedies. To face up to such disturbing situations, the countries of Africa, to varying degrees, have taken bold steps in order to ensure good governance, build the rule of law and further liberalize their economies.
Africa has adopted a coherent and effective plan of development within the context of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This initiative reflects our countries resolve to control our own development at the national, regional and continent-wide levels.
The Kingdom of Morocco is strengthening its bilateral relations with its neighbours and working ceaselessly to achieve regional integration in Africa, particularly through the Union of the Arab Maghreb and the free-trade agreement between Morocco and West African Economic and Monetary Union.
I would like to take this opportunity to present once again my country’s proposal for a high-level standing body responsible for implementing the decisions taken by the international community to help Africa.
This Conference is an opportunity for all of us to usher in a new era of multilateral diplomacy, which, as I have said, will bring universal citizenship. We trust that this will in fact happen as soon as possible, and we hope that we will quickly have a follow-up conference to ensure that the efforts made at the national and international levels lead to actual commitments that will be complied with so that the additional steps needed can be taken to combat all forms of exclusion and marginalization.
* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.