José Antonio Moreno Ruffinelli,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
on Financing for Development
March 21-22, 2002
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
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order must be corrected, along with the outdated and ineffective formulas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.
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.
Statements at the Conference