REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
FIFTY EIGHT SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
THE HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
INFORMAL INTERACTIVE PLENARY
30 OCTOBER 2003
Ladies and gentlemen , to kick-off this interactive discussion
I would like to pose some key questions and considerations
about a few of the topics under the themes that we are discussing
this morning, which are mobilization of domestic financial
resources for development, foreign direct investment and
other private financial flows, and international trade as
an engine for development.
We have been advised to situate macroeconomic policy making
in our countries within the context of national development
strategies. Developing countries are urged to take a medium-term
approach to monetary and fiscal policy, leaning against
the tide in boom times and building the financial capacity
to use counter-cyclical policy in bad times.
Similarly, we are asked to align our poverty reduction strategies
with our macro-policies and with adjustment programmes with
the Bretton Woods institutions when we enter into them.
This is obvious and good advice, but not universally followed.
What is missing? What do we as governments and as an international
community need to do that we are not yet doing?
Another proposal is to strengthen financial services for
the poor, for women and for people in rural areas, all populations
that do not receive sufficient attention. Governments in
this room, international institutions, civil society and
business leaders have relevant experiences that can be brought
to bear. You may also have views on how we as a community
can make international cooperation on this matter more effective,
for example, how to continue to exchange ideas on an ongoing
basis. I hope we can hear some contributions on this score
during the deliberations.
Next, I would like to raise a policy matter that usually
does not get beyond rhetoric: the social responsibility
and accountablity of business. The Secretary-General in
his report promotes consultations with private sector foundations
and business on such matters, but can we not give him other
ideas as well? In fact, the United Nations and the World
Bank recently organized a two-week "e-forum" that
attracted almost 500 participants from around the world
(a report on which has been made available to you today).
I understand that one of the deepest concerns expressed
was how to make businesses, domestic as much as foreign,
act responsibly in a social and environmental sense, as
well as effectively create income and wealth. Also, we heard
extremely interesting proposals in this regard by participants
in the business sector hearings on Tuesday. Later this morning
we will give the floor to Ms. Maria Livanos-Cattaui, Secretary-General
of the International Chamber of Commerce, to briefly report
to us on these hearings, including as regards this issue.
Lastly for this morning, I come to the burning question
of how do we help re-charge international trade negotiations
after Cancún? I am sure that most of you in this
hall are thoroughly familiar with the issues here. It seems
that the difficulties of substance have been intertwined
with difficulties in process. Let me recall that our Governments
agreed in Monterrey that any consultation process in the
World Trade Organization should be representative of its
full membership and that participation should be based on
clear, simple and objective criteria. With concerns expressed
after Cancún about appointment of chairs and facilitators
of negotiating groups, selection of "Green Room"
participants, and drafting of new texts, we appear to have
a lot of work to do. Where do we start?
Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage you to address freely
any of the proposals in the Secretary-General's report or
to make new proposals and comments that are not in the report
at all, share your experiences in implementing the Monterrey
consensus and to suggest ideas on the way forward. Also,
when we consider proposals for new discussions or new forums,
let us consider what might best be discussed at global level,
regional and sub-regional level, and within individual countries.
let me also urge you to bring into today's discussion points
that you found interesting or useful from yesterday's round