Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade 
Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations

at the
International Conference on Financing for Development 

Monterrey, Mexico
22 March 2002

Mr President,

I have the honour on behalf of my Government to extend warmest greetings and to express our appreciation for the excellent arrangements for this Conference.

Let me also say that as a developing country, Samoa fully supports the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Venezuela as Chairman of the Group of 77 & China.

Mr President,

Samoa has been closely engaged in the process for financing development from the very start. We are deeply committed to it. Our commitment reflects our own resolve to do what we can, along with other nations, to reverse the alarming disparities of income and wealth and the human insecurities in our world today. The condition of 2.8 billion people existing in absolute poverty is simply unacceptable. It is not one we want to bequeath to future generations. Monterrey is the opportunity that needs to be seized.

The international community has set high global objectives in the Millennium Development Goals. The goals are not especially new. But they call for action and results, notably in fixing clear time-bound targets. There needs to be serious commitment to these goals, especially the noble pledge to half extreme poverty by 2015. Failure in Monterrey will put in jeopardy universally agreed aims of the Millennium Summit.

This Conference is uniquely placed to bring about real and lasting change. We commenced with the huge advantage of an already approved Monterrey Consensus. Samoa was part of the consensus reached in New York and we, of course, give it our fullest support. Throughout this week we have had an extensive range of roundtables and other discussions that will have enhanced understanding of the Monterrey Consensus and served to give direction to concrete action in its implementation.

Mr President,

The Monterrey Consensus draws attention, in at least six different paragraphs, to the predicament and precarious situation of small island developing States. Samoa, as I am sure all other small island countries, identify closely with these provisions. Small island developing States are located in all regions of the globe. Within the membership of the United Nations they comprise some 28% of developing countries.
The risks associated with smallness and vulnerability renders countries such as mine largely unattractive for commercial and foreign direct investments. This underscores the critical importance of and need for ODA. Aid of itself is not sufficient. There are acknowledged deficiencies in aid delivery and development policies; and overall co-ordination require improvements. They are problems that need to be addressed; not reason alone to turn off assistance. Samoa is committed to enhancing the scope and quality of aid, and will continue to institute policy and governance improvements in its own arrangements. We believe in linking aid to performance. Our own experience is that ODA works, and that it is indispensable.

Rightly, there has been an extensive dialogue on partnerships in financing development. Smallness does not offer many choices. But Samoa is deeply committed to developing what we have of our few natural resources, and our most precious - our own people. Government policies are in place to engage our small but growing and robust private sector and civil society, and substantial effort is being directed to harnessing the strengths of our traditional systems and communities. They are the vital ingredients in national well-being and stability and to sustainable development. Ultimately, it is Samoa's responsibility to itself.

More broadly, we would commend to the donor community partnerships on the basis of regional arrangements. They have significant prospect for outreach and cost-effectiveness, and are particularly suited to the conditions of small isolated island communities. There is considerable experience in my country, and in our region, of the demonstrated value of regional cooperative measures. Certainly there are imperfections that require attention. Overall, the full potential of partnerships on the basis of regional approaches should be further explored, both to ensure increased effectiveness, and to focus on major issues of health, education and the environment, as well as the larger issues not normally achievable under national budgets like research and development of renewable sources of energy.

We also believe that there is scope to exploit more fully the potential contribution of regional development banks. With their long engagement in the regions, they would be particularly well placed in catalysing greater private flows, and in helping member States to acquire more sustained and less costly global markets.

The mid-ocean location of my country, as indeed of other small islands, means that we are at the frontline of major global environmental risks, ranging from sea-level rise and other consequences of climate change, to marine pollution, fisheries depletion and coral reef destruction. We face consequences not of our doing, and we lack the capacity to respond, or to adapt. We must therefore, continue to look to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the only global financing mechanism of the Rio process, for assistance in our national and regional response efforts. We join the rest of the developing world in calling for the full and effective replenishment of the GEF before its second Assembly session this year.

Mr President,

We came to this land with hope, and with resolve to do what we can to give meaning to the Consensus document. We leave greatly heartened by what we have heard throughout this week, from all sides, from developed as from developing country, of the declared determination to give tangible form and reality to the Monterrey Consensus, and therefore to keep on track what we agreed at the Millennium Summit.

That we now have not simply declared intentions, but clear commitments in the form of new and significant initiatives is a source of great satisfaction. On behalf of my Government, I want to extend to the gathered political leadership our congratulations and appreciation.

Allow me, in particular, to thank and to pay tribute to His Excellency the President of the United States of America, and the member States of the European Union for their most timely initiatives, and for the global vision and leadership that these initiatives represent.

Thank you.

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