BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
TO THE SECOND COMMITTEE
11 NOVEMBER 2003
you Mr. Chairman. Distinguished delegates:
the critical importance of the issues addressed in the 29-30
October 2003 High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development,
I have decided, with the co-operation of your Chair, Ambassador
Iftekhar Chowdhury, to personally deliver to this Second
Committee the summary of the policy dialogue which I have
been mandated by General Assembly resolution 57/250 to issue.
By all accounts, the Report of the Secretary-General (A/58/216)
provided a reasoned and useful assessment of the status
of implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, since its
adoption by Heads of State and Government at the International
Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey
Mexico in March 2002. As such, it formed a good basis for
the discussions of the High-level Dialogue.
from the Report were cited in the course of discussion.
Together with other proposals made, these recommendations
will help to prepare us to move forward in the implementation
process. The work done by the Secretary-General and his
staff, particularly officers of the Financing for Development
Office, to produce the report and to otherwise support efforts
in the financing for development area is much appreciated.
important, in presenting this summary, to recognise the
significant and continuing support for the Monterrey process,
as a unique framework for international financing for development
initiatives. This was evident not only from the high level
and numbers of participants in the Dialogue, but also from
their substantial input into the discussion.
all member states participated in the Dialogue, many at
ministerial level. Agencies and organs of the United Nations
system, 35 intergovernmental organisations and some 50 civil
society stakeholders from the business sector, academia
and non-governmental organisations also participated. For
the first time, the President of the World Bank and the
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund addressed
the General Assembly in Plenary session, to comment on the
approach of their agencies to the issues at hand. The Deputy-Director
of the World Trade Organisation and representatives of regional
entities also took this approach in their addresses to the
and open dialogue characterised the High-level Dialogue,
as well as the day of Hearings on Financing for Development
of civil society and the business sector, held on 28 October
2003. These Hearings form an integral part of the Dialogue.
The status of implementation of the Monterrey Consensus
itself was, of course, at the core of the Dialogue's discussions.
implementation of the Consensus, it was recognised that
some progress had been made, and this was welcomed. It was
pointed out, however that there had been slippage in some
areas. Notably, there had been disappointing developments
in international trade and financial transfers. The view
was expressed that both developed and developing countries
ought to report on actions they had taken to implement the
Monterrey Consensus, for a clearer picture on the state
of play in realising the goals and objectives of Monterrey.
emphasised that more was required to implement the agreements
and commitments made at Monterrey. There was not dissent
from this position. There was notable support for the establishment
of a more precise mechanism for monitoring implementation
of the Monterrey Consensus, as well as Goal 8 of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs).
summary of the deliberations of the High-level Dialogue
has been circulated to you in the room. The summary, which
reviews the principal issues raised in the dialogue, should
be read together with the summaries of the eight round tables
convened on 29 October 2003, which are annexed. I wish now
to highlight salient issues raised in the comprehensive
economic and social development, many developing countries
and countries with economies in transition emphasised that
this was their primary responsibility. Domestic resource
mobilization for financing development was considered to
be essential to the development process. Notwithstanding,
there was broad agreement that developing countries and
countries in transition needed international support to
underpin their domestic efforts to mobilise financial resources
for development, and importantly, to implement the Monterrey
Consensus and the MDGs.
economic and social development was considered to be critical,
as was the need to safeguard social expenditure in priority
areas such as health and education, and for poverty reduction,
rural and infrastructural development. The reality for most
low-income and some middle-income countries, however, was
that resources for such expenditures was seriously lacking.
In land-locked developing countries and Small Island Developing
States, the problem was particularly severe.
promotion of technology, skills transfer and investment
was considered to be a meaningful way in which the industrialised
countries could contribute to private sector development
in developing countries. Private financial flows were highlighted
as an important source of funding for action in these areas,
and for economic growth and poverty reduction in developing
countries. There was support for exploring ways and means
for fostering greater financial flows. It was also considered
that the development of a sound and diverse financial sector
would be critical, and that such a sector should facilitate
access for SMEs, micro enterprises, women and the poor.
international financial institutions were seen as having
an important role to play in promoting foreign private investment
flows. A number of government representatives expressed
the view that the international financial institutions should
increase support for the development of necessary infrastructure,
including in information and communication technology sectors,
to help countries better position themselves to attract
foreign direct investment.
and private sector representatives alike commented on tools
that might be used for improving information flows concerning
investment opportunities in developing countries. Support
was expressed for several pilot projects by the business
sector, including a global clearinghouse of information
on developing countries that would facilitate access to
information by investors, and that might bridge the information
gap and enhance investor confidence.
policy coordination among the major industrialized countries
was considered to be essential for eliminating the macroeconomic
imbalances that caused volatility in exchange rates and
international capital flows, and impeded sustained financial
flows to developing countries. Many were of the view that
in the spirit of the partnership between developed and developing
countries that produced the Monterrey Consensus, a greater
effort should be made to develop policies consistent with
the dual goals of domestic and global stability.
was widespread agreement that international trade policy
must be a major area of concern to a forum on financing
development. Many expressed dissatisfaction with the policies
of developed countries that they saw as adversely affecting
the international trade in which developing countries were
engaged. It was also asserted that developed countries abused
the "anti-dumping" measures allowed by the World
Trade Organization (WTO), seeking to limit competitive imports
where such limits are not warranted by WTO rules.
other matters should be noted in the context of international
trade policy. The first is the considerable support expressed
for making greater provision for labour mobility within
the international trading system, in line with capital mobility
and trade in goods and services. This was considered an
issue the international community had to address, in the
context of action being taken regarding financing for development.
second issue concerned the volatility of prices in international
commodity markets, and the persistent low prices for a number
of commodities. Developments in the international commodity
markets in recent years were cause for widespread concern.
Developing country farmers, often in the poorest countries,
have had to absorb the impact of the volatility of international
commodity prices and low values commodity prices. Several
ideas were floated on how to address this issue. One was
to increase development assistance to counter declines during
cycles of commodity prices. Another idea was to consider
some mechanism that would provide commodity price guarantees
for poor countries. There was broad agreement that this
matter should be considered at the United Nations in a more
comprehensive and focused manner.
WTO negotiations under the "Doha Work Programme",
there was universal concern that the Cancún Ministerial
Meeting of WTO, held in September of this year, had not
come to agreement on the issues at hand. There was notable
support for resuming these negotiations as soon as possible,
and for working expeditiously towards a conclusion that
would effectively strengthens development efforts, particularly
of the developing countries, a conclusion that would entail
fair and equitable trading rules. More transparent WTO negotiating
procedures to take better into account the views of developing
countries was also advocated.
World Trade Organisation is a global forum, there were expressions
of support for a closer institutional relationship between
the WTO with the United Nations. It was considered that
such a relationship would better facilitate international
consideration of the development dimension of international
trade policy and help to strengthen its coherence with other
dimensions of development policy.
cooperation was emphasised as an important element in promoting
trade and financial flows, and therefore received broad
support as part of the overall structure of the international
developing countries noted their efforts to implement policies
for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction.
They acknowledged the need for continued and intensified
endeavours toward this end, and the continuing need for
the support of development partners. Some developing countries
and countries having economies in transition stressed that
policy-making is constrained by conditionalities of multilateral
and bilateral donors.
Many donor country representatives reported on the progress
their countries had made since the Monterrey Conference
in increasing aid to developing countries. Both recipients
and donor countries agreed that progress has been slow in
improving the effectiveness of aid delivery and coordination,
and that further action needed to be taken in this area.
There also remained a large gap between expected flows and
what was needed, in particular to achieve the MDGs.
severe shortage of aid funds could endanger the achievement
of the MDGs, and objectives in the FfD area, a more active
exploration of new and innovative sources and mechanisms
of financing was advocated. The International Finance Facility
proposed by the United Kingdom for levies on the utilization
of the global commons or international currency transactions
was cited as an example, as was the proposed World Solidarity
Fund, to be funded by voluntary contributions. Some argued
that renewed issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would
provide additional international liquidity and allow developing
countries to release resources for investment. Increasing
the core resources for UN development assistance also received
the inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing
States, the need for international recognition of these
states as a group, and for special and differential treatment
was reiterated.The critical support which least developed
countries and land-locked countries needed to overcome their
critical problems was also emphasised so that appropriate
action could be taken.
external debt levels, a serious problem for many developing
countries, was highlighted as an impediment to reaching
the objectives of the MDGs and other development objectives.
The HIPC process was regarded as being too slow in delivering
debt relief. Many argued in favour of revision in the debt
sustainability criteria, so that it would allow for a definitive
exit from an unsustainable debt situation.
of creditor Governments expressed their willingness to revisit
the issue of "topping up" - mechanism to deepen
debt relief of those HIPC countries that, at completion
point, still face an unsustainable debt situation due to
disappointing trade trends or external shocks. While this
may be part of the solution, speakers mentioned that debt
sustainability for many low-income countries also required
that future official financial inflows be predominantly
by grants rather than loans.
of middle-income countries continue to grapple with severe
debt crises, and often face a lengthy, difficult, and costly
challenge in seeking to extricate themselves from this pressing
problem. Continuing review of proposal to create an adequate
sovereign debt restructuring mechanism was, therefore, advocated
as a means of addressing this dilemma. It was considered
that the United Nations should play a more active role in
facilitating consideration of debt issues. In that regard,
the view was expressed that the Secretary-General's proposal
for the constitution of an informal multi-stakeholder study
group on debt workout mechanisms might be supported. The
deliberations and conclusions of the study group could be
reported back to the appropriate decision-making intergovernmental
use of the United Nations to improve global economic governance,
coherence and consistency of economic, financial, trade,
social and environmental issues and policies received widespread
support. Support was also expressed both by governmental
and civil society representatives for a more meaningful
institutional relationship between the United Nations and
strengthened and more effective ECOSOC or a strong and effective
international body such as an "economic and social
security council" was advocated, to be steward of the
global economy and to monitor international economic cooperation
and global economic and social trends. It was proposed that
the United Nations Financing for Development process work
though informal forums to remove blockages preventing coherence
and cooperation in the current global economic environment.
Secretary General's recommendation to convert the United
Nations Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation
in Tax Matters into an intergovernmental body was widely
supported. Such a body would contribute significantly towards
strengthening international tax cooperation through enhanced
exchange of information, sharing of best practices and coordination
of multilateral and regional efforts, important action that
must be taken in this area. It would also contribute towards
mobilization of financial resources for development for
developing countries and countries with economies in transition.
It would be essential for the new body to take into consideration
the concerns of all countries, including the interests of
small developing states.
economic decision-making is key to ensuring equity in the
global economic system. It was considered, therefore, that
participation by the developing countries in such decision-making
needed to be enhanced.
was broad agreement that the biennial High-Level Dialogue
of the General Assembly on Financing for Development had
a vital role to play in moving the Monterrey process forward,
as had the annual spring meeting of ECOSOC with the international
financial and trade institutions. The point was emphatically
made that the participation of the executive directors of
the Bretton Woods Institutions in these meetings ought to
be ensured and enhanced.
and promoting partnerships for the implementation of the
Monterrey Consensus in all its aspects was generally held
to also be a focus of the FfD follow-up process. It was
considered at a more precise supporting framework was necessary
for monitoring the implementation of the Monterrey agreements,
at both the national and international levels. There was
some support for an additional supportive intergovernmental
mechanism for effective FfD monitoring and follow-up.
need to give 2005 the high standing it should have as an
important milestone in assessing the progress made in the
implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the achievement
of the MDGs was stressed by many. Appreciation was expressed
for the work of the United Nations and the World Bank in
launching a global information campaign and in developing
a global monitoring framework for the MDGs. It was suggested
that the monitoring framework for the implementation of
the Monterrey agreements and commitments might be similar
to that for the achievement of the MDGs.
Chairman, Delegates: participants in the High-level Dialogue
recognized that the follow-up process for Financing for
Development was a complex task. To have the desired impact,
the process requires continued commitment, inputs and collaboration
of governments, the United Nations system, other international
organizations and civil society alike. We have guidelines
for our endeavours - they are set out in the Monterey Consensus.
do need a more detailed work plan, one that would permit
us to better measure and view progress, to identify problems
and areas for priority work, and to put in place innovative
modalities for cooperation, in which all relevant stakeholders
should be actively involved. It is my hope, that the General
Assembly at this session will be able to provide guidelines
for such enhanced work plan, as a concrete outcome of the
constructive and dynamic deliberations of the High Level