H.E. Mr. José Antonio Moreno Ruffinelli,
Minister for Foreign Affairs

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
March 21-22, 2002


Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Secretary General, Distinguished delegates:

Allow me to express my delegation's pleasure at seeing you chair this important conference, and at the same time to extend a special thanks to the Government and People of Mexico, our hosts, for their traditional hospitality and the valuable efforts aimed at the success of this historic event.

Mr. Chairman:
The imminent adoption of the Monterrey Consensus by the delegations present here today expresses the political commitment for the formulation of a new agreed international strategy aimed at dealing with the complex problem that Financing for Development in all its aspects represents. The Monterrey Consensus is destined to become the essential instrument necessary to combat poverty and thus to allow our peoples to legitimately gain access to better standards of living, compatible with basic human dignity. For this reason, we must be conscious of the fact that this conference is only the beginning of a long trip that both developed and developing countries must travel together, in a spirit of solidarity. The consensus that we have achieved also constitutes the ethical and moral commitment to faithfully uphold and carry out new development strategies, being fully conscious of the danger that the constantly widening gap between rich and poor countries implies for international peace and security.

Violence in the form of terrorist acts can never, in any way, be justified as an acceptable means of demanding the closing of this gap. Therefore, Paraguay once again condemns this criminal conduct that is incompatible with humanity itself.

We should not allow this conference to limit itself to mere declarations and expressions of intent. We are here today to give light to a global vision that must contemplate, with the urgency that the matter requires, the generation of new measures and programs capable of establishing a more just and equitable economic, financial and commercial global system. The inherent inequities and injustices of the current international order must be corrected, along with the outdated and ineffective formulas that have clearly not produced the desired results.

It is also essential to point out that the new vision of Financing for Development must recognize the existence of clear differences among developing countries in terms of their respective levels of development. It would be a serious mistake to presume that all developing countries have similar circumstances and needs. Some developing countries are more vulnerable than others, and due to particular and geographic factors find themselves at a greater disadvantage in terms of their capacities to benefit from globalization. We therefore demand special treatment for landlocked countries, as is the case of Paraguay. Strategies for financing development must contemplate the needs of all involved actors in fair measure.

Mr. Chairman:
We are well aware that the levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) have fallen substantially in the last several years, and that they are at their lowest point in decades. Official Development Assistance is undoubtedly an important element of Financing for Development, and in this regard we are hopeful that starting with Monterrey, concrete commitments will be made to increase ODA. Having said this, it is essential to point out that ODA is not, nor should be, the panacea for the problems we are facing. The developing world cannot depend solely on ODA. Developing countries are fully aware that they must make the necessary internal effort to guarantee their own development and that ODA is necessary to complement this development. But this can only be possible when the involved actors find the necessary balance to share the inherent responsibilities of sustainable development.

Paraguay believes that all of the efforts that we can make in favor of development would be in vain if we do not give priority to establishing an equitable and non discriminatory global trading system that would allow developing countries access to international markets under open and transparent conditions.

For Paraguay, as well as many other countries, trade is the most viable and realistic means for economic growth and for creating investment, but at the same time the area that poses the greatest obstacles. If protectionist measures, especially agricultural subsidies and other non-tariff barriers, are not lifted, no effort to foment growth and reduce poverty will have the expected success.

The concept of a fair trading system has been enunciated in innumerable occasions and forums, and has been consecrated in the Millennium Declaration and in the Declaration of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Doha. But it is worth repeating, until all involved actors implement it. The Doha process and the new round of WTO trade negotiations must be fully integrated into the

Financing for Development agenda. Furthermore, the importance of regional and sub-regional integration agreements in development processes must be recognized, as is the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), which should be given all the necessary support.

Furthermore, we understand that development is conditioned on the preservation of our natural environment, a necessary element for a better global quality of life. For this reason, developed countries should give priority and importance to those projects destined to allow developing countries to reconvert part of their often-heavy debt into environmental protection. This in turn will have a significant social impact.

Nor can we lose sight of the indispensable need for reforming the current international financial system, which in recent years has clearly demonstrated its insufficiencies and inherent risks, with devastating results. A new financial architecture is necessary to create stability and confidence at a global level. The achievement of this high objective, in concert with the establishment of a fair trading system, will not only create a world with more fairness and solidarity, but will also give way to an environment more conducive to private investment, another important instrument for financing development.

I cannot conclude this intervention without mentioning the importance of education in the development of our countries. Education is the most efficient instrument in the fight against poverty. We are therefore convinced that this significant social issue should receive priority attention from international financial institutions, as well as from more developed countries. Our children have the right to receive quality primary education as the first step towards improving educational systems, and therefore their quality of life.

We must depart from Monterrey to our respective capitals with a message of hope and confidence. Our peoples need this. A renewed spirit of solidarity must accompany this new global vision. We must overcome the disenchantment of recent times and be assured that the solution is within our reach, but only if we can guarantee the right conditions and reaffirm the right to development of all peoples.

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