SHARP FOCUS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE TANGIBLE RESULTS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, OPENING PREPARATORY MEETING FOR CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

14 January 2002
DEV/2358

SHARP FOCUS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE TANGIBLE RESULTS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, OPENING PREPARATORY MEETING FOR CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

14/01/2002
Press ReleaseDEV/2358

Preparatory Committee for the

International Conference

 on Financing for Development                              

1st Meeting (AM)

SHARP FOCUS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE TANGIBLE RESULTS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL,

OPENING PREPARATORY MEETING FOR CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

Preparatory Committee to Conclude on 25 January

The Monterrey Conference could unlock the financial resources that were so desperately needed for development, but to do so required sharp focus in the remaining few weeks on how best to achieve tangible results, the Secretary-General told the fourth and final session of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development this morning.  It is due to conclude on Friday, 25 January.

The International Conference on Financing for Development, as it is formally known, will be held from 18 to 22 March 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico.  It seeks to address broad development concerns, and, mainly, the obstacles faced by developing countries in mobilizing the necessary resources to finance their development and fulfil the social and humanitarian goals set by the global conferences of the past decade.

A successful conference could make a "real difference" in the lives of poor people worldwide, the Secretary-General said.  Monterrey must mark a turning point in the history of official development assistance (ODA) and sharpen consensus on the required policies, mechanisms and institutional frameworks within developing countries to mobilize domestic resources and attract private capital flows.  It should build on the recent momentum to convene a new “development round” of trade talks and ensure that developing countries had a "bigger say" in managing the global economy.

The Minister of Finance for South Africa and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Conference, Trevor Manuel, told the Committee that the Millennium Declaration had plainly given the international development community the job of remaking the world.  Successful negotiations demanded a strategy that was both "implementable" and driven by revitalized multilateralism.  Development partners must convince their home representatives that they were committed to the cause and convince industrialized nations that the developing world was worth a sustainable commitment.

"No more half measures", insisted the Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Eveline Herfkens.  It was time to "roll up our sleeves" and

1st Meeting (AM)

turn the Millennium goals into reality; that was what the poor people of the world deserved.  The terrorist attacks of 11 September had made it impossible to continue to "write off" whole areas and regions.  People worldwide had come to understand the need to reduce poverty in reaching development goals.  The Monterrey Conference was a chance to look at all of the components of funding development, in an integrated and holistic way.

In addition to key ministers in the development and economics fields, senior officials of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization participated in today's high-level inaugural segment.  Speakers also included the Executive Secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Director of the Third World Institute, a non-governmental organization. Indeed, an unprecedented feature of the preparatory process had been the active participation of representatives of the world financial and trade institutions, as well as civil society and business entities.

In other business, the Committee adopted its agenda and organization of work, as orally revised.  It approved the themes for the round tables to be held during the ministerial segment of the Conference, as follows:  on Tuesday, "Partnerships in financing for development" and, on Wednesday, "Coherence for development".  It decided to accredit seven additional intergovernmental organizations to the preparatory process and the International Conference, as follows:  Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Islamic Development Bank; Inter-Parliamentary Union; Parliamentary Network of the World Bank; Ramsar; and OPEC Fund for International Development. 

Also, the Committee approved the accreditation of additional non-governmental organizations (document A/AC.257/10/Add.5) and agreed to allow appropriate time for those representatives to actively participate in the informal discussions of the Preparatory Committee.  It also approved a list of additional business entities/organizations requesting accreditation to the substantive preparatory process and the International Conference (document A/AC.257/30/Add.2).

Introductory remarks were made by Committee co-Chairpersons, Ruth Jacoby (Sweden) and Shamshad Ahmad (Pakistan). 

Additional statements were made by the Secretary of State for Development Cooperation of Sweden, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs for Economics and Cooperation of Mexico, and the representative of Argentina.  The Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also spoke.

The Preparatory Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to begin finalizing the outcome document of the International Conference.

Background

The Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development began its fourth session this morning to finalize preparations for the global conference, to be held from 18 to 22 March in Monterrey, Mexico.  Representation at the Conference would be at the highest political level, and for the first time a summit-level meeting would be held to address key financial and related issues pertaining to global development.

Six key areas had been identified for the Conference:  mobilizing economic resources within countries; increasing the flow and broadening the reach of private international investment; opening access to markets and ensuring fair and equitable trade regimes; strengthening official development assistance (ODA); addressing the developing countries debt difficulties; and improving the coherence of global and regional financial structures and the fair representation of developing countries in international decision-making.

The core document of the final preparatory committee session will be the Facilitator's revised draft outcome paper (document A/AC.257/32), entitled "Confronting the Challenge of Financing for Development:  A Global Response".

The Preparatory Committee will also have before it the Fifth Report of its Bureau (document A/AC.257/33), which reviews its work since the third resumed session in October 2000 and recommends that the Committee take certain decisions at its current session, namely, that it approve the themes for the round tables to be held during the ministerial segment of the global Conference –- partnerships in financing development and coherence for development –- and accredit a number of intergovernmental organizations listed in the document.

Also before the Committee will be two addenda listing additional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses for accreditation (documents A/AC.257/10/Add.5 and A/AC.257/30/Add.1).

Revised Draft Outcome Document

The fourth and final session of the Preparatory Committee had before it the revised draft outcome document prepared by the Facilitator (document A/AC.257/32).  The proposed outcome is divided into two sections:  confronting the challenges of financing for development/a global response; and leading actions.  In the first, Member States pledge to join forces to confront the challenges of financing for development around the world, particularly in developing countries.  Their goal was to combat poverty and achieve sustained growth as they advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system.

The heads of State and government participating in the Monterrey Conference would, as their first step, mobilize financial resources and achieve the national and international economic conditions needed to fulfil internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration to reduce poverty and improve social conditions.  After the terrorist attacks of

11 September 2001, the global economic slowdown deepened, further reducing growth rates and, with them, prospects for better living standards.  It has now become all the more urgent to enhance collaboration among all stakeholders to jump-start a sustainable recovery and address the long-term challenges of financing for development.

While the role of national policies and the primary responsibility for each country's own economic and social development is emphasized, the text recognizes that domestic economies are now interwoven with the global economic system, and national development efforts need to be supported by an enabling international environment. It also recognizes the value of a holistic approach to the challenge, for which coherent actions are needed in each area of the agenda.  It commits leaders to join forces through a strengthened multilateralism, in recognition of the potential of the United Nations system for fostering worldwide cooperation and to consolidate the global economic system around the principles of equity, participation, ownership, transparency and accountability.

The draft organizes its consideration of leading actions in the following way:  mobilizing domestic financial resources for development; mobilizing international resources for development/foreign direct investment and other private flows; international trade as an engine for development; and increasing international financial cooperation for development.  Mobilizing domestic financial resources will be enhanced by:  improved domestic governance; fighting corruption; sound macroeconomic policies; securing fiscal sustainability; social security and safety nets; financial sector strengthening; and capacity-building. 

Under mobilizing international resources, including foreign direct investment and other private flows, the draft suggests that a central challenge is to attract direct investment flows to a much larger number of developing and transition countries.  To attract stable inflows of capital, countries need to continue their efforts to achieve transparent, stable and predictable investment climate, embedded in sound macroeconomic policies and institutions that allow businesses, both domestic and international, to operate efficiently and profitably and with maximum development impact.

To complement national efforts, leaders call on the international financial and development institutions to increase their support for private foreign investment in infrastructure development and other priority areas, including projects to bridge the digital divide.  While governments provide the framework within which businesses operate, businesses have a responsibility to engage as reliable and consistent partners in the development process.  The draft underscores the need to sustain sufficient and stable private flows of all types to developing and transition countries, and design measures to increase the transparency of financial flows and contain the excessive volatility of short-term capital flows and highly leveraged transactions, including trade in currencies.  It also stresses the need to ensure processes for liberalizing capital flows and improve sovereign risk assessment.

Under the heading of international trade as an engine for development, the draft states that the current slowdown in the world economy urges the reaffirmation of commitment towards trade liberalization and ensuring that trade plays its full part in promoting recovery, growth and development.  Thus, the decision reached at Doha to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations is welcome.  To benefit fully from trade, which, in many cases, is the single most important development source, developing and transition countries must establish appropriate institutions and policies.  Trade liberalization is a fundamental element in the development strategy of a country.  The active promotion of exports and the attraction of foreign direct investment boost economic growth and are an important source of employment.

The draft further notes that trade barriers, subsidies and other "trade-distorting" measures, particularly in agriculture, have negative effects on developing countries that significantly exceed the value of aid flows and must be eliminated.  To ensure that world trade supports development goals, the leaders will strive to achieve the following, among others:  strengthen the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to prevent abuses; liberalize trade in agricultural products; eliminate export subsidies and substantially reduce production subsidies in developed countries; liberalize trade in services of export interest to developing countries; address the issue of labour migration; reduce tariff peaks; and make fully operational the special and differential treatment provisions in trade agreements. 

The leaders also commit themselves to enhancing the role of regional and subregional agreements and free trade areas.  World financial institutions, including regional development banks, should give priority to projects that support subregional and regional integration among developing countries.  To speed up efforts to ensure access of developing-country exports to all markets, industrialized countries should take immediate steps to benefit the least developed countries, as well as support the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and the small island, landlocked and transit developing countries.  Multilateral and bilateral financial and development institutions should seek to remove supply-side constraints, improve trade infrastructure, strengthen institutional development, diversify export capacity, and enhance productivity and competitiveness.

On increasing international financial cooperation, the draft emphasizes the need to revitalize ODA.  Recipient and donor countries, as well as international institutions, should strive to make ODA more effective.  It calls on the multilateral and bilateral financial and development institutions to intensify efforts to:  harmonize their operational policies and make ODA disbursement and delivery more flexible; avoid burdensome restrictions and shift from project-based to budget support mechanisms for aid delivery; increase the concessionality of development financing; give recipient countries more influence over the design of technical assistance programmes and more control over the use of technical assistance resources; and deepen triangular cooperation, including South-South cooperation, as a delivery tool for assistance. 

Introductory Remarks

RUTH JACOBY (Sweden), co-Chairperson, welcomed delegations and alerted them to the two weeks ahead of hard work, which would surely contribute to the common goal of ensuring that the Mexico Conference was successful.  That meant many things, particularly the start of a "new and better" way for the world community to deal with the challenges of financing development.

The representative of the Sudan said that the operational aspect of the round tables, in terms of allocation of seats, should also be addressed.

The meeting was then briefly suspended to allow for the arrival of the Secretary-General.

SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan), Committee co-chair, described the forthcoming Conference as the global response to the complex challenges of development.  It was taking place at a time when the latest economic trend indicated that a number of major economies were slowing down faster than anticipated, and the growth of world gross product was stagnant or declining.  That contrasted sharply with the high growth rates witnessed in the past decade.  The Conference sought to explore the best way in which the world community could deal with those emerging uncertainties and challenges.  The answer lay in audaciously confronting realities, building consensus, and addressing those mighty challenges collectively and in a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding. 

Soon after the tragic events of 11 September, the United Nations mobilized the will of the international community to express, in the strongest terms, its condemnation of those barbaric acts and demonstrate its total solidarity for collective action, both short  and long term, to deal with that menace.  The long-term measures obligated members to address the long-term causes of extremist or desperate behaviour.  The financing for development process was one such avenue.  There was a growing realization that in order to make globalization work for all, both developing and developed countries should find a meeting ground, with the objective of building strong partnerships to  deliver the fruits to all of a globalized and interdependent world. 

Secretary-General's Statement

KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary-General, said that the Monterrey Conference offered the best chance in many years to unlock the financial resources that were so desperately needed for development.  To seize that chance, participants must focus sharply in the remaining few weeks on how best to achieve tangible results.  The Conference agenda was substantial and balanced –- the fruit of very careful negotiations.  The Conference itself must produce tangible results under all the main headings on that agenda, whether of a national or international or systemic nature.

He said that the Conference must strengthen and sharpen consensus on the required policies, mechanisms and institutional frameworks within developing countries to mobilize domestic resources, as well as to attract and benefit from private capital flows, particularly from foreign investment.  Agreement to conclude a comprehensive international convention against corruption providing, for example, for the repatriation of illegally transferred funds, would also be a major step forward. 

Monterrey must build on the momentum achieved in Doha with the promise of a new “development round” of trade negotiations, he said.  In particular, the Conference should pay attention to areas that would not be covered in those talks, but were of vital importance to developing countries, such as commodity prices.  Monterrey must mark a turning point in the history of ODA.  "We simply cannot allow the decline in ODA to continue if we want our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals to be taken seriously at all", he warned.

To reach those goals by 2015, he continued, meant another $50 billion per year, or doubling the present figure for ODA.  That might sound ambitious, but would still fall short of the recognized goal of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for the donor countries.  Perhaps that extra $50 billion could be an immediate, short-term target and announced at Monterrey and achieved within two or three years.  It was certainly achievable for all those who had not yet reached 0.7 per cent to make a "new, and real, effort".  Further, a clear commitment was needed from creditor countries to fully and promptly implement the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and go beyond its present terms to ensure that, from now on, the debts were "really sustainable". 

Also, new ways should be explored to deal with the debts of middle-income countries, he went on.  Everything must be done to prevent the tragic experience of Argentina from being repeated elsewhere.  There was an emerging consensus that existing methods for resolving sovereign debt crises were unsatisfactory and that ways should be found to ensure that the burden was more equitably shared between the debtor country and its creditors.  Hopefully, at Monterrey, governments would give the political impulse needed to speed the development of such a new approach.

He highlighted the real need to give the developing countries a "bigger say" in discussions of managing the global economy.  Everyone now recognized that; the Conference must come up with practical ways to achieve it.  Finally, it must agree on effective follow-up mechanisms.  Those should build on what was achieved in the preparatory process, in which the United Nations had been the centre of a strong coalition, bringing together all those who had a part to play -– the ministries in both donor and development countries, the private sector, civil society organizations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO -– in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation. 

Results could be achieved on all issues only if attention was focused at the highest political levels in the weeks ahead, he said.  That was why he had asked two men of unrivalled experience in the field –- the South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, and the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Michael Camdessus -– to serve as his special envoys and help rally support.  A successful conference could help developing countries take advantage of the global market and make a "real difference" in the lives of poor people worldwide.  That was imperative if the agreed Millennium Development Goals were to be more than wishful thinking. 

TREVOR MANUEL, Minister of Finance of South Africa and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the International Conference on Financing for Development, said the Millennium Declaration had plainly given the international development community the job of remaking the world -- to recognize what was wrong, as well as what could and must change.  The heads of State and government had also tasked international actors with financing the remaking of the world.  To even begin to approach such a task it would be necessary to first address the denial of opportunities, and in many developing countries, the denial of life itself.  Indeed, addressing the denial of opportunities was essential-- if all were fair in the world, no one would be present at this preparatory meeting today.

He went on to say that in order for negotiators to satisfy the wishes of the heads of State, they must create a strategy that was implementable and driven by revitalized multilateralism.  Development partners must also convince their home representatives that they were committed to the cause of remaking the world.  The must also convince the industrialized nations that the developing world was a world at peace and one worth committing to in a sustainable manner.  They must also highlight the importance of foreign direct investment and do their level best to stimulate such investment.

While that might sound ambitious, that was the edict of the heads of Member States – therefore, there was no option, he continued.  Negotiators had two short months to construct a comprehensive and highly implementable compact based on, among other things, the principles of reciprocity, identifying a price attendant to not adhering to the Conference’s goals, a strong commitment to measurement of change, and meeting obligations going forward.  That was particularly necessary to ensure development partners were able to pin down “how much, when and by whom” contributions for change would be made.

There were but two short months to do a lot of convincing, he said.  It would be essential to re-examine the effect of multilateral institutions and ensure that Monterrey could agree on a plan for harnessing finances long after the conference had ended.  He added that getting well-endowed countries to commit resources on a sustainable basis would be difficult.  It would be essential from this point on to identify the “doubting Thomases” and convince them of what the entire international community needed to accomplish at Monterrey.

EVELINE HERFKENS, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, said the Monterrey Conference presented a unique opportunity, as that was the first time the international community would look at all of the components of funding the development process in an integrated, holistic way.  The terrorist attacks of 11 September had made the world more aware than ever of its interdependence.  It was no longer possible to "write off" whole areas and regions.  Indeed, more people worldwide had come to understand the need to reduce poverty in reaching the development goals; developing countries had acknowledged their own responsibility in that regard and had understood the need for good policies and good governance. 

In terms of priority areas for the Conference, she said that encouraging high levels of ODA deserved attention, not only in terms of volume, but also, effectiveness.  Mutual obligations and reciprocity should also be considered.  The process should shift away from the donor-driven style towards the "home grown" policies of recipient countries.  Such agreements or compacts would show the two sides of the same deal. At the same time, private financial flows required a sound enabling environment in the recipient countries, which should, in turn, allow them to export more to the developed world.  Also, the question of fostering foreign investment should be examined.  Overall, policies at the global level must also be coherent.

Participants must build on the momentum towards a “development round” of talks, which was a new window of opportunity, she said.  Effectively managing the remaining debt problems was another priority.  In that regard, consideration at the level of the IMF board of a bankruptcy procedure for debtor countries was a real breakthrough.  The Monterrey process should also focus on how to "improve the voice of the poor", and regional cooperation, including in West Africa, should be enhanced.  Follow-up to the Conference should ensure the continued engagement of all actors.  "The time was ripe to start practicing what we preach", she said, and added, "no more half measures".  It was important to "roll up our sleeves" and turn the Millennium goals into reality -- that was what the poor people of the world deserved. 

ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina), following up the Secretary-General’s comments on the current economic crisis in that country, said that the preparations for the Monterrey Conference should aim to develop mechanisms to tackle problems of developing countries.  The situation in Argentina had revealed the need to find holistic solutions to the problems facing such countries in the current globalized world economy.  Argentina was working hard to address such issues and with continued expressions of solidarity from within the Government and from various international institutions and agencies, he was certain success could be achieved. Argentina would continue to count on the support of its neighbors, particularly within the expanded Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), as well as within the wider international community.

GUN-BRITT ANDERSSON, Secretary of State for Development Cooperation of Sweden, said the United Nations conferences of the 1990s had inspired an agenda that had been adopted during the Millennium Summit.  Since the world’s needs had been comprehensively identified by the Millennium Declaration, expectation had been raised, and it was now time to deliver.  Of the numerous goals of the Declaration, she was convinced of the possibility of halving poverty by 2015.  But to make that a reality, it would be necessary for representatives of governments, institutions, civil society and business sector to work together in a much more coherent, holistic and effective manner.

She said that while the knowledge and resources to achieve the Millennium Development Goals existed, they were not fully mobilized for development.  And with trends in resource flows to developing countries tracking negatively, the international community had the responsibility to identify and remove obstacles that hampered effective growth and to mobilize and use all available resources -- public, private, domestic and external. 

Turning to consider what could be done in her own country and region to reach the Millennium Development Goals, she called on all her Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) colleagues to become members of the heretofore “exclusive G-7 club”.  To achieve the goals would require doubling ODA.  Policies and procedures should also be harmonized, and effective partnerships should be built.

She said the facilitator’s draft to be discussed during the next few weeks provided a good basis for achieving the development goals.  The draft was clear on the paramount importance of the responsibility of governments for creating environments conducive to development.  While many elements were already present in the text, she stressed that democracy and the rights of individuals as citizens were also important.  She added that the Doha Conference had brought good news, but the rapid pace of globalization would highlight the need to address the new realities that would fully serve the needs of the poorest countries. 

MIGUEL HAKIM, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs for Economics and Cooperation of Mexico, said that significant progress had been achieved in recent years towards meeting the aims of financing development.  Through concerted action, it should be possible to tackle the remaining challenges, taking into account such fundamental issues as health, the environment, organized crime, terrorism, and gender balance.  The daily agenda had been greatly enriched as a result of the individual commitments undertaken by governments in the Millennium Declaration.  Those pledges should lead to a pooling of efforts for a shared future.

He said the International Conference should strive, in particular, to ensure the broadest coordination and pooling of efforts among the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and other relevant actors, including from civil society and the private sector.  The main objective was for international agencies and developed and developing countries to adopt commitments and identify internal and external mechanisms to promote financing for development.  Achieving such an ambitious goal required the Committee to make a real effort to find the political resolve needed for concrete action that would help to bring the world significantly closer to its development goals.

Multilateralism was the main way of tackling those challenges, he continued.  The overall challenge was twofold:  participants must show greater responsibility in assuming the commitments adopted at Monterrey; and united efforts should lead to addressing the situation more effectively.  He anticipated intense debate in the coming weeks over the outcome document.  At same time, the importance of the Conference should guide all in an active and positive fashion.  The Committee must succeed in those deliberations of far-reaching importance, in order to achieve the so-called "Monterrey consensus". 

MARK MALLOCH BROWN, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said it had already been put succinctly by several speakers this morning -- there was an extraordinary chance for the international community to create a grand global bargain to be captured in Monterrey.  That bargain or contract would follow up the command of world leaders at the Millennium Summit and build on the tragic events of 11 September, which highlighted the crucial need to ensure fairness understanding throughout the world.  Out of the ashes of the horrible attacks on the World Trade Center in New York had come the unexpected opportunity to build a compact between peoples and governments of the North and South to achieve the extraordinary Millennium goals of halving poverty and ensuring education for all. 

He said the contract arising from Monterrey would also place equal obligations on developing countries to ensure and promote growth and development in their own regions.  Success at Monterrey would also require the energy and engagement of the private sector of both North and South, as well of as civil society actors.  Monterrey could effect a global bargain where senior government officials put their money where their words were and which dramatized that the Conference itself was not just business as usual, but a genuine effort to make resources available behind good sound development policies to get the task done. 

To get from here to there required a level of international attention that until now had not been witnessed, he said.  Setting the financial platform for changing the world would not be easy.  Still, likening the efforts under way to that a rapidly moving fright train, he said that locomotive could drift into a siding or gain force as it hurtled through the year and could go way beyond the boundaries of conference rooms. To achieve the goals ahead, it would be important to re-invigorate broad efforts to put in place a policy bargain to ensure the right things were done in the South by making the resources available in the North for the achievement of those goals.

ABLASSE OUEDRAOGO, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said that since the last Preparatory session, the WTO Ministers had met in Doha, Qatar, and agreed on the “Doha Development Agenda”, a major new negotiation strategy, as well as other work programmes centred on trade and development. The WTO’s Director-General had forwarded that conference’s Declaration and its related decisions to the Secretary-General for closer consideration during the preparatory session.

Among the specific documents forwarded from Doha, he went on, were the Declaration on the Trade-Related Intellectual Properties (TRIPS) Agreement and Public Health, the decision on implementation-related issues and concerns and the Decision on European Communities.  He added that Doha had changed forever the environment for trade negotiations.  Indeed, the Ministerial Declaration had placed the interests of developing countries at the centre of the broad and balanced work programme upon which the WTO Ministers had agreed.

Of the priority concerns for developing countries, the Doha Conference had highlighted implementation issues, as well as outlined the proposed negotiation strategies for agriculture, services industrial tariffs and intellectual property issues, he continued.  While not going into further detail of the Doha Agreement, he felt it was important to emphasize just how far the international community had come in its efforts to meet the legitimate concerns of developing countries. Moreover, in view of the concerns of those countries, the provision of technical assistance and capacity building had been made a virtual pre-condition for continued negotiations.

He said that effective implementation of the Doha Development Agenda had led to some significant recent developments.  One important step had been the creation of a Doha Development Agenda Trust Fund.  That Fund had been established to finance technical assistance programmes aimed at aiding developing countries, countries with economies in transition and least developed countries to participate effectively in the negotiations and ensure that they secured a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development. He added that a number of other subsequent decisions had implications for synergy and closer cooperation between the WTO and United Nations agencies.

The work programme, he said, expanded the negotiating agenda from only services and agriculture to include market access in non-agricultural products, TRIPs, dispute and settlement procedures and environment, among others.  With regard to the so called “Singapore Issues” of trade and investment, trade and competition policy, trade facilitation and transparency of government procurement, the WTO Ministers had agreed that negotiations would take place after the fifth session of the Ministerial Conference.

Finally he said that the Doha Ministerial Declaration and related documents were a “tightly” negotiated package and formed the basis of the WTO’s work for the next three years.  Therefore, he suggested that the language used within the outcome documents for the Monterrey Conference be guided by the language in the Doha Declaration.  He hoped that the Preparatory Conference would give support to the Doha Ministerial Declaration and other decisions.

MATS KARLSSON, Vice-President, External Affairs and United Nations Affairs of the World Bank, said the financing for development process had clearly come a long way.  The World Bank had been closely involved in the preparatory process for Monterrey, and he hoped the overall process would make a valuable contribution to the cause of development and the fight against poverty.  The unprecedented cooperation among developmental actors that had characterized the financing for development process up to this point represented a real achievement and made a statement on the value of developing a diverse, cooperative multilateral system.

He said that one important dimension of the process had been the pursuit of coherence -- both internationally and nationally.  The participation of ministers of finance was important in that regard.  He was pleased that financing for development was a major item on the agenda of the most recent development committee meeting in Ottawa last November.  He hoped that the Development Committee Communiqué, in which ministers expressed strong interest in contributing to the Conference’s success, was a useful input into the facilitator’s preparations for the revised draft outcome document.

To that end, he drew attention to some of the issues addressed in the communiqué, including the critical importance of sound national policies and good governance, strong emphasis on ODA -- including the need to reduce transaction costs -- and the recognition that the international community must rely on existing institutions while striving to integrate developing countries into the global financial system.

He said that the World Bank felt that a productive “Monterrey Consensus” was within reach and was encouraged that the facilitator’s revised draft provided an excellent basis to move ahead.  He hoped that deliberations here would make it possible to agree on an outcome document by the end of the Preparatory Committee meeting.  The document and the Conference itself would provide a framework or platform for implementation-focused discussions, as well as for concrete proposals by countries to turn words and principles into actions.  An early agreement on an outcome document would both consolidate gains already achieved and generate momentum towards a successful Conference focusing on implementation and follow-up.

ROBERTO BRAUNING RODRIGUEZ, Adviser, International Monetary Fund (IMF), said the focus should be on practical, achievable aims that fostered implementation of the goals agreed last September.  Discussions should focus urgently on developing an operational framework for achieving the development goals.  Two pillars were essential for decisive progress.  The first was implementation of "country-owned" policy frameworks to promote macroeconomic stability and growth that was accompanied by poverty reduction policies, good governance and sound judicial and banking systems.  The second was implementation by the international community of concerted policies to provide an enabling environment.  That required increasing ODA and enhancing capacity-building, as well as coordinating technical assistance to help countries carry out their development and poverty reduction programmes. 

He commended the achievements of the Doha Declaration.  Indeed, industrial countries had a clear interest in assisting developing States by providing trade opportunities.  That would also help the developing countries integrate their economies into the global market.  It was important to make the most of existing institutions, but that had not meant ignoring the further enhancement of government structures.  As a follow-up to Monterrey, the Fund would continue to work closely with the United Nations and others to clarify the specific responsibilities and accountabilities of all actors and identify gaps to modify policies as needed. 

MARIA LIEVANOS-CATTAUI, Executive-Secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce, also speaking on behalf of the Business Interlocutors to the International Conference, briefly highlighted the organizations’ activities at the preparatory session, focusing on the facilitators’ draft and the Conference itself.  She welcomed the overall reasoned tone of the draft and applauded the weight given to international trade and investment, as well as the emphasis on sound economic policies and good governance.  She particularly welcomed the section on mobilizing domestic financial resources for development, a critical challenge that served as the lead action for mobilizing foreign private sector investment.

While appreciating the general thrust of the draft, she felt that the language concerning the private sector was too general to lead to meaningful or actionable results.  Her organization suggested putting forward specific proposals that could make real progress on achieving the goals of financing for development. She also said that, while most of the proposals in the draft regarding the mobilization of domestic capital were on the macroeconomic level, the Conference’s objectives could not be realized without improving micropolicy preconditions for business-enabling environments.  Areas of concern in that regard should cover mortgage availability, use of collateral to borrow from banks, property ownership systems and rules of law.

She went on to highlight some of her concerns for the Conference itself, including the adoption of specific mechanisms for strengthening information and capacity in the global financial system.  She added that during the Monterrey Conference, the International Chamber of Commerce would be holding a business forum, as well as a series of follow-up dialogues which would address more closely the suggestions that emerged from the forum.  The business community had thus far expressed strong interest in the Monterrey Conference, and she believed that now was the time to move from words and ideas into concrete and effective actions that would make a difference throughout the world.  There was too much need, too much suffering and too many dashed hopes to let this opportunity be buried by just well-worded intentions. 

ROBERTO BISSIO, Executive Director of the Third World Institute, said that the road to Monterrey should lead to alleviating the debt problem and advancing a solution.  It should also recognize the equal right of debtors and creditors.  He pointed to the recent events in Argentina, in which workers' retirement savings had been used to pay multilateral creditors in a last desperate attempt to head off the default.  He also highlighted the recent default of Enron, in which the

employees' money had been similarly "drawn down".  Issues related to the world's 40 million poor, the mobility of capital and the granting of rights to corporations without demanding countervailing obligations, must be addressed, as well as the practice of taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

He said that non-governmental organizations and social movement groups were prepared to be constructive in that process.  Those groups had taken to the streets of Seattle and Prague.  In Monterrey, they would contribute to finding a consensus, but they were challenging governments not to come to Monterrey "empty handed", but with concrete promises and commitments to reduce bilateral debt, increase ODA, and ensure that social spending was secured and poverty eradication goals were met.

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For information media. Not an official record.