Prof. Marek Belka 
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Poland

International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico 
18 March 2002

Mr. President Fox 
Secretary General Kofi Annan 
Distinguished Delegates 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset let me express our gratitude to all those whose efforts made this conference possible, most particularly to the host country and people of Mexico, the State of Nuevo Leon and through you, Mr President to the City of Monterrey.

Polish delegation wishes also to express gratitude to all those who contributed to the elaboration of the "Monterrey Consensus". It represents a proper balance between the needs and capacities of the UN family and provides a good basis for strengthened cooperation among developing, transition economy and developed countries aimed at stimulating sustained growth and improving living conditions of the poorest member states.

We share the views reflected in the report, including the substantive analysis it offers on regional initiatives. We also support reforms needed to foster further co operation between the UN, the WTO and the Bretton Woods institutions that could provide for better governance of globalisation for the benefit of all countries, those least developed in particular.

Globalisation has made individual national economies much more dependent on external enviroment. A key policy challenge is how to benefit from increased openness while at the same time reducing and better controlling the risks, including vulnerability to financial crises and backlash of nationalist and isolationist sentiments.
In his message to the Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Doha, last November, Secretary General Kofi Annan pointed out that: (I quote) "After the tragic events of 11 September, the world faces two possible futures: a mutually destructive clash of so called civilizations turning in upon themselves, or a global economy rooted in universal values. The latter must be our choice but it can only be achieved if the global market is genuinely open to all, and offers real hope to those currently trapped in poverty" (unquote). We fully share this view.

Mr. Chairman,
The Government of Poland and its Prime Minister L. Miller consider the cooperation with the developing countries as one of top priorities of our external policy.
Development cooperation is becoming an integral part of the Polish foreign policy. Active participation in efforts to resolve the financing for development is our moral and political obligation, especially to the inhabitants of the poorest countries, as well as those, who are victims of conflicts and natural disasters.
For many years Poland received foreign assistance, in fact we are still a net recipient. However, the situation is gradually changing. In the early 1990's we were helped by international community (mainly through debt reduction and technical assistance). We think that we have managed to use this opportunity properly, and now we start paying back. This fortunate sequence would not be possible without strong domestic efforts, sometimes causing social tensions and requiring a lot of determination and courage.

Economic reforms in Poland consisted in building-up institutional and legal framework of a market economy, including privatization, liberalization and industrial restructuring. They resulted in macroeconomic stabilization. Transformation proved to be a general success. Poland regained its creditworthiness and started attracting significant volumes of foreign direct investment.
Poland successfully continues economic reforms. In 1996 we joined the OECD. At present we are finalizing negotiations on accession to the EU.
Looking back at our own experience, we conclude that for a country to efficiently absorb foreign assistance it is necessary to enforce good governance, founded on sound legal and institutional basis, to ensure political stability and a possibly broad social consensus behind the goals pursued by the country.

Although Poland is currently experiencing a temporary slowdown in the economy, we intend to increase our economic assistance for developing countries.

Poland has been involved in programs of international assistance for developing countries for many years, both in bilateral aid as well as in multinational programs. This aid was equal to USD 29 million in 1998, USD 37 million in 1999, and USD 40 million in 2000. Poland has put aside resources for this year in the form of highly preferential tied aid credits, equal to USD 245 million.
Mr. Chairman,
The success of this Conference and the coming Johannesburg summit will not be measured by the number of officials attending or by the quality of statements made. Its success or failure will become evident in the near future by assessing whether we have succeeded in increasing the volume of assistance and the efficiency with which it is absorbed. So far we have managed to change our approach to the issue and take lessons from the sometimes frustrating experience of the past.

We know that we must take a holistic view - covering trade, debt relief, technical assistance, integrating private flows, but above all we know that we have to provide more.

The discussions that we leading at this conference on who gives more, how much more should be given, in what forms and through which channels can only benefit our cause and bring us closer to the fullfilment of the Millenium Development Goals.

Another lesson we have learned is that globalization has its dark side. It could have been, in fact it was a fast track for development for some countries, but it also deepened disparities and produced frustrations, on the global scale indeed. I deeply believe that our joint efforts, as reflected in the 'Monterrey Consensus will show a better, more humane face of globalization. In fact, we learned something from the so-called antiglobalists.

I do hope that Monterrey soon gains a new splendid reputation as a city of the successful conference that helped to translate a good spirit- the Spirit of Monterrey into action and real achievements.

Let us do everything within our possibilities to fulfill this vision in the coming years.
Thank you.

Statements at the Conference
Conference News