Desai Tells PrepCom that Monterrey Success Brings Boost and New Challenges
25 March, New York The success of the Financing for Development
conference in Monterrey, Mexico, last week, where billions of dollars in new
resources were pledged for development, poses a major challenge for the World
Summit on Sustainable Development this August, according the Summit
Secretary-General Nitin Desai, and that is how the new resources are going to
be used to promote sustainable development.
Governments, along with representatives of business and citizen groups, will
work to address that challenge at the third preparatory committee meeting for
the Summit, which began today and will continue for two weeks. Discussions and
negotiations at the PrepCom will result in a text that will reflect the
priorities for the action-oriented outcome of the Summit, which will be held in
Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.
"By any standard, Monterrey was a success," Desai told the opening of
the PrepCom. He said the new commitments from the United States and the
European Union, which will add an extra $30 billion for development starting in
2004, amounted to the largest increase for assistance at any conference. But
the announced commitments, he said, were not the only success of Monterrey,
where countries also reached agreements on debt relief, fighting corruption,
and policy coherence.
"Monterrey put development at the centre of financial policy," he
said, adding that the conference concluded with an important "meeting of
the minds" between North and South, and also brought together
representatives of business with other parts of civil society.
"There is a new willingness to find common ground," he said. "We
should use this atmosphere of accommodation to reach a credible outcome."
Desai noted that there were some non-governmental organization members who were
not "completely satisfied" with the Monterrey outcome, and who were
concerned about the impacts of liberalization and globalization. But he said
tackling these issues was a job for the Johannesburg Summit. "It is our
task to see that we address these concerns in a manner that is equitable and
reasonable," he said.
Negotiations during the PrepCom will take place in three working groups, which,
Salim said, should not renegotiate Agenda 21-the blueprint for sustainable
development agreed upon at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro -- but
"endeavour to develop a roadmap for implementation."
One of the working groups will be devoted to discussions on sustainable
development governance, including how to manage the intergovernmental process
after the Summit. Desai said that the Commission on Sustainable Development has
been an innovative body that has succeeded in keeping sustainable development
alive on the international agenda. But it needs some changes.
"Institutions like the CSD have to reinvent themselves," he said.
While the Commission has brought ministers and representatives of all major
groups together, Desai said its main weakness is that it has not been able to
generate sufficient action for implementation. He said the Commission should be
strengthened to have an impact on the regional and sub-regional levels. He also
said that there should be a more direct relationship between the CSD and the
World Bank, IMF and the World Trade Organization.
In addition, delegates will hold a session on Tuesday to discuss possible
partnership arrangements that will result in initiatives to actually implement
sustainable development programmes and projects. The partnerships will be
voluntary, but Desai explained that they would not come at the expense of
"clear, goal-oriented" agreements by governments.
The Johannesburg Summit process could learn from Monterrey. Desai said that
while some people had worried that having a finalized agreement going into
Monterrey would detract from the conference, in practice, it turned out to be a
very positive step. "People wanted to know, what were the heads of State
assembled there going to say," he said. "That is what led to the
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24 August 2006