SURINAME

Statement

by

His Excellency Mr. Kermechend Raghoebarsing
Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation, Republic of Suriname

at the 
International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico 
21st March 2002



Suriname thanks the Secretary-General, the Mexican Government and the City of Monterrey for organizing and hosting this important conference.

Suriname associates itself with the statement of the honourable President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, His Excellency Hugo Chavez, who spoke so eloquently on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. My delegation is especially grateful for the strong support in the Group of 77 statement regarding the necessity of real partnership in achieving the millennium development goals and the implementation of the Monterrey consensus.

The human-rights-based approach to development, including the notion that human-rights education is a key to development, should be embraced. We should acknowledge that the life and poverty of our peoples is a serious violation of their human rights. Every human being has the right to an adequate standard of living in regard to health, medical care, well-being, education, food, housing and social services. 

Suriname welcomes the draft Consensus on financing for development and applauds the process and efforts so far. The Monterrey Consensus provides us with a good point of departure. The poor are in need of honest commitments and actions. Well-targeted investments in the poor rank among the highest returns in social and economic development on the level of the individual as well as on the level of nations and the entire world. 

Therefore, first of all, it is safe to come up with the strongest possible commitments and live up to them. It will create rewarding successes for all.

Secondly, we need to move from good intentions to effective actions. All too often, good intentions are translated into poor actions. Valuable time and money are being lost in an array of donor-driven, inefficient, and inharmonious changing procedures and conditions. 

This successively burdens scare human resources. A lot of money remains floating in donor bureaucracies and is being paid to expensive consultants. The poor do not have an idea of how much money is being paid in their name. The good intentions and commitments of human beings in some parts of the world for the well-being of their fellow human beings in other parts of the world too often enters into bureaucratic quicksand and ill-targeted delivery mechanisms of donor agencies. 

To reach the Millennium Declaration goals we need more and faster interventions, less bureaucracy and improved targeting and delivery. We must see to it that money really ends up in addressing the immediate problems of the poor and that the Millennium Declaration goals are being worked on from day one and for every penny.

The greater the ownership of the development process, the more sound and sustainable the results can be to ensure economic development and social equity. Ownership includes the business community and civil society. Donor support must be complementary to domestic processes and resources, not the other way around.

Thirdly, performance of all, including that of the donors and international financial institutions involved must be measured and monitored. Very often the poor have suffered from experimental visions of donors and multilateral institutions. Up to now, the developing countries and the poor are the only ones that have absorbed the negative consequences, whereas more performance should be measured by an independent organization like the United Nations. 

For it is in the interest of the poor that the United Nations is supported to monitor and evaluate results and can suggest corrective actions. The United Nations represents the people and has a single, clear agenda: the development of all and a clear voice for the poor. We would like to see the United Nations with a strong mandate to monitor and evaluate performance, including the commitments from donors and international financial institutions and their agencies in our countries instead of self-evaluation by them. In delivering their support the United Nations will assist in improving efficiency and effectiveness. 

People should always be at the centre of all development goals, not only when it comes to human rights, gender, education, health and democracy but also when it concerns globalization, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), the economy, international trade, commerce and private-sector development. People should come first all people and all the time.

This calls for a change in world organization, including the behaviour of transnationals and the staff on the donor agencies and multilateral institutions in our countries. Too often, the negative consequences of the current order are explained as incidental and addressed with poor solutions. Too seldom is it acknowledged that there are fundamental errors. We cannot hide behind concepts like the system or the market, because we create the system and we are the market. So we can change them if we want to.

The poor are reliable and resourceful partners. They are extremely cost-effective in their solution. Their progress will be beneficial to all. But we need conceptual transformations in both the developing as well as the developed countries. In this sense, we are discussing the development of all poor and rich, women and men, the young and the elderly.

In recent history, this armament was applauded. Recent developments, however, suggest a renewed increase in defence expenditures. We must ensure that the Millennium Declaration goals are not jeopardized by this trend. 

Monterrey will present a price tag, hopefully sufficiently covered to realize all the good intentions. But Monterrey is not about money in the first place. It is about the future. It is about old-fashioned concepts like solidarity, humanity, peace and happiness, blended with the new concepts of partnership and global responsibility. Monterrey provides a unique opportunity to effectively address the serious problems in our world and to provide solutions in the best interest of our peoples and countries.


* The text of this statement has been transcribed from audio recordings as the original was not submitted to the Secretariat.

Statements at the Conference
Conference News