Fifty-seventh General Assembly GA/EF/3018
Second Committee 8 November 2002
29th Meeting (AM)
SECOND COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR EQUITABLE PARTICIPATION, INTEGRATED
FOLLOW-UP TO FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE OUTCOMES
The General Assembly’s 2003 high-level dialogue must be reconstituted to ensure the equal participation of all Member States and an integrated approach to all financing for development concerns, the representative of Saint Lucia said this morning as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up the question of high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), he proposed that the Assembly -- identified in the Monterrey Consensus as the focal point for follow-up to the Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development -- set up a working group of the high-level dialogue to oversee implementation of specific proposals in the Monterrey Consensus.
The working group would draw up global codes of conduct to regulate international financial markets and allow national policies to control short-term capital flows, he said. It would also monitor official development assistance (ODA) contributions, distribute information about aid, and set up an independent debt mechanism, comprising creditors, debtors and impartial experts to assess, adjudicate and pass judgement on debt-reduction options.
Pakistan’s representative also noted the absence of an expert-level intergovernmental body for the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus similar to those created for previous conferences. He said his country had already highlighted the need either for a functional commission or an ad hoc working group of the Economic and Social Council. Without it, he said, the financing for development process would remain amorphous, driven by organizations outside the United Nations system.
China’s representative emphasized that the Second Committee must seek consensus to reconstitute the Assembly's high-level dialogue and lay down rules to ensure that all relevant stakeholders -- such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the business sector -- played an active part. That would help clear up contradictions in policy coherence, including demands by developed countries that developing nations open up their markets, while they protected their own.
* Pages 2-8 should indicate 29th Meeting (AM).
New Zealand’s representative stressed the importance of domestic policy in implementing the Monterrey Consensus, noting that countries that had adopted pro-poor policies had been better able to benefit from ODA and investment flows. Moreover, donors and institutions had accepted the need to provide appropriate assistance, open up their markets, and provide technical assistance. The Monterrey Consensus was fundamentally about reciprocity, he noted, adding that Monterrey had given the international community an opportunity to move from the Second Committee’s traditional agenda to a more integrated approach.
During the meeting, the Executive Coordinator of the Coordinating Secretariat on Financing for Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs introduced two reports on the outcome of and follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.
Other speakers this morning included the representatives of Venezuela (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Norway, Cuba, Croatia, Costa Rica (on behalf of the Rio Group), Malaysia, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Republic of Korea, Ukraine and Sri Lanka.
A representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) also addressed the meeting.
The Second Committee will meet again at 5 p.m. today to hear a keynote address by World Bank James Wolfensohn on the topic “Making it Happen: The New Multilateralism and its Implications for Development”.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take up its agenda item on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.
Report of International Conference on Financing for Development
Before the Committee was the Report of the International Conference on Financing for Development, (document A/CONF.198/11), which includes a chapter on the Monterrey Consensus, the resolution adopted by the Conference, as well as the reports of the meeting's high-level officials segment, ministerial segment and summit segment.
The Monterrey Consensus includes three parts -- confronting the challenges of financing for development: a global response; leading actions; and staying engaged. The chapter on leading actions discusses themes to support development, including mobilization of domestic and international financial resources, notably foreign direct investment and other private-sector funding; international trade and increased international financial and technical cooperation; external debt management; and harmonization of the international monetary, financial and trading systems.
Contained in each of the reports of the high-level, ministerial and summit segments are general exchanges of views, input from business and civil society forums, consideration of the draft Monterrey Consensus, proceedings of roundtable meetings and updates on the activities of the relevant stakeholders. The report also lists the States, observers, regional commissions, specialized agencies and related organizations, business entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) represented at the Conference.
Outcome of International Conference on Financing for Development
The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on Outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (document A/57/344), which reviews the Monterrey Consensus and key issues discussed in its 12 multistakeholder roundtable meetings.
According to the report, the Monterrey Consensus sets a new standard for policy-making on links between domestic and international finance, trade and development. Created by the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), regional development banks, United Nations regional commissions and intergovernmental organizations, the document is an unprecedented cross-ministerial and cross-institutional commitment.
Giving that commitment special significance, the report states, the financing for development process sought to address both international and national issues in the context of globalization and interdependence, recognizing that the mobilization of resources and economic governance must be addressed at both those levels. Similarly, the negotiators found that such domestic concerns as capacity-building, taxation and fighting corruption had inescapable global dimensions requiring inter-State cooperation. Also noteworthy is that negotiators drew several proposals from non-governmental stakeholders, including civil society and business, into the Consensus, as governments sought to capture all ideas that would contribute to the outcome of and follow-up to the Monterrey Conference.
While the Consensus focuses on finance, economic and development policies, it also embraces social protection, income distribution, employment and gender equality, the report states. In addition, it tackles the political side of economic problems, calling for wider participation in policy-making, and agrees on new approaches to ensure dynamic implementation and follow-up.
The report notes that some 800 governmental leaders, heads of major international financial and trade institutions, business executives and civil society leaders met in 12 informal roundtables during the Conference. Discussions focused on state, private sector and civil society partnerships; coherence
among international institutions, donor and recipient countries as well as among objectives and instruments; and the responsibilities of all stakeholders in translating commitments into action.
Recurrent concerns raised in the roundtables included the Millennium Development Goals and implementation of the Consensus; official development assistance (ODA); national ownership of policies for sustainable development; participation in international economic policy-making, transparency in public institutions and private corporations; and mutual accountability of donors and recipients of aid.
According to the report, participants also addressed domestic conditions for private sector investments; the need for a supportive international financial architecture; enhancing resource flows to developing countries; combating corruption; market access for developing countries and agricultural subsidies; capacity-building and access to new technologies; debt relief; and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The report stresses the importance of capitalizing on the momentum generated in Monterrey and of "staying engaged", noting that implementing the Consensus will require mutually-reinforcing national and international efforts. It aims to make fuller use of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as intergovernmental/governing bodies of other institutions in follow-up. It notes that this year's high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions focused on outcomes of the Monterrey Conference and included, for the first time, the WTO and representatives of NGOs and business.
In line with the Consensus, the report says, Secretariat arrangements in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs are intended to support the follow-up to the Conference, with close interagency collaboration. The Secretariat will serve as a focal point for overall follow-up; assist in monitoring the implementation of finance-related aspects of major United Nations conferences; coordinate Secretariat support to intergovernmental processes entrusted with follow-up; and support and review the follow-up of civil society and business.
Follow-up to International Conference on Financing for Development
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on Follow-up efforts to the International Conference on Financing for Development (document A/57/319-E/2002/85), which provides a preliminary account of initiatives and commitments made by governments and major institutional and non-institutional stakeholders, in conjunction with the Monterrey Conference, from March 2002 to June 2002.
It recommends, among other things, that the General Assembly, in keeping with the motto "staying engaged" , seek ways to give greater impetus to implementing the Consensus. The report should serve as a learning and informational tool for the next high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation through partnerships. The General Assembly should also urge the Economic and Social Council to do the same when preparing for its 2003 spring meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO, as well as consider steps, including tax policy coordination, to promote effective, coordinated follow-up to the Consensus.
Introduction of Reports
OSCAR DE ROJAS, Executive Coordinator, Coordinating Secretariat on Financing for Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s reports, stressing that follow-up documented during the period March 2002 to July 2002 was preliminary and did not cover the total scope of follow-up activities. It detailed national and intergovernmental commitments, particularly in ODA, announced during, shortly before and after Monterrey, as well as initiatives of major institutional stakeholders including the World Bank, IMF and WTO.
VICENTE VALLENILLA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it was the General Assembly’s responsibility to establish the basis of a true follow-up process. On the one hand, follow-up lay with Member States and on the other it was related to the roles that must be played by different institutions within their individual mandates. Follow-up also involved the Economic and Social Council, in its annual role of monitoring and promoting inter-institutional dialogue, as well as the Secretariat and its support for the monumental task of implementation.
He said that follow-up of financing for development was a central issue requiring the highest level of deliberations, according to requirements set at the highest levels of government. Financing for development must be seen within its own particularities, though that should not be an obstacle to necessary coordination with follow-up to other conference outcomes.
The train was in motion and the journey on which the United Nations had embarked could be short or long, he continued. The Organization must maintain its leadership role, he said, noting that the first signs of an international community responding to the challenges of the Monterrey Consensus could already be seen. Momentum must be maintained to guarantee the leadership and guidance of the United Nations, he stressed.
TOMAS CHRISTENSEN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed the great importance of conference follow-up and of clarifying the role of the General Assembly. While targets for global development for the next 10 to 15 years had been set, much work remained in the next few weeks, including the creation of an ad hoc working group on integrated conference follow-up that would finish its work before the fifty-eighth General Assembly. That group’s mandate should include high-level dialogue, he added.
Dialogue should be complementary and mutually reinforced with the Economic and Social Council and should follow the rules of engagement applied at Monterrey, he said. In preparing for the dialogue, the United Nations should involve governments, regional banks, regional commissions, funds and programmes, particularly UNDP.
He said that the president of the General Assembly should summarize the views expressed during the dialogue in order to ensure an animated and lively exchange. A successful outcome to the Economic and Social Council meetings and the high-level dialogue depended on good and solid preparation by the Secretariat and input from major stakeholders.
KJERSTI RODSMOEN (Norway) said that one of the challenges in following up the Monterrey Conference would be strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and financial institutions at both the intergovernmental and Secretariat level. Urging governments and multilateral organizations to continue to involve civil society and the business sector, he said it was vital that regional development banks as well as United Nations regional commissions and other bodies be involved. Norway called for the establishment of an ad hoc working group as a means to achieve an integrated and coordinated follow-up.
The United Nations needed to consider follow-up activities by the World Bank and the IMF, he continued. The High-level Forum on Harmonization, to be organized in Italy by multilateral financial institutions in cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in February 2003, was an important follow-up to the Monterrey Conference. The Forum could give important input to the high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development to be organized by the United Nations next October.
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan), stressing the great importance of the financing for development process, said his country had been constructively engaged in the International Conference on Financing for Development and its preparatory process. Pakistan viewed the Monterrey Conference as the beginning of a long and continuing process to mobilize development resources.
While welcoming the existing and proposed mechanisms for conference follow-up, he noted the absence of an expert-level intergovernmental body similar to those created for all previous conferences and summits. Pakistan had already highlighted the need for either a functional commission or an ad hoc working group of the Economic and Social Council. Without it, the financing for development process would remain amorphous and driven by organizations outside the United Nations system.
ZHANG XIAO’AN (China) hoped that policy coherence among institutions and within countries in the follow-up to Monterrey would help resolve existing contradictions. For example, while demanding that developing countries open up their markets, developed countries had been protecting their own markets, especially in the textile and agricultural sectors. Similarly, developed countries were reluctant to increase their ODA, yet they spent six times as much on agricultural subsidies. Finally, while demanding that developing countries fight corruption, developed nations were unwilling to cooperate with them on the repatriation of illicit funds to the countries of origin.
A pressing task for the current session of the Second Committee was to seek consensus on the reconstitution of the high-level dialogue in 2003, she said. That dialogue should in turn serve as the intergovernmental focal point for the general follow-up to the Monterrey Conference, focusing on comprehensive review and monitoring with regard to implementation of the Consensus. She stressed the need for rules and modalities to ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO as well as NGOs and the business sector.
ILEANA NUNEZ MORDOCHE (Cuba) said that the goals and commitments made at Monterrey did not cover the scope of problems faced by developing countries. Developed nations had neither made substantial financial commitments nor presented viable solutions for poverty elimination, sustainable development and international cooperation. A 0.1 per cent development tax on international financial transactions would generate almost $400 billion dollars annually, and if properly administered by the United Nations, those funds could improve the economic and social conditions of developing countries.
If developed countries honoured their commitment to earmark 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product for ODA, their contribution would increase from $53 billion in 2000 to almost $170 million in 2003, she noted, calling for a better system of international governance. The Bretton Woods institutions should be replaced by new organizations that would unconditionally support the development process in developing nations, she added.
IRENA ZUBCEVIC (Croatia) said the challenge for the United Nations system was to “stay engaged” in further developing the Monterrey Consensus. To that end, it was vital to improve policy coherence and enhanced cooperation in the financing for development process at the intergovernmental level as well as among the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. That would ensure the United Nations a central role in multilateral policy-making in relation to the development agenda. The General Assembly, as the chief deliberative and policy-making organ, should focus on overall policy issues and serve as a forum for a high-level intergovernmental dialogue, seeking ways to enhance further country-level cooperation among ministries of finance, trade, foreign affairs and development cooperation.
She said the Economic and Social Council should contribute to implementation by promoting coherence and an integrated approach within the United Nations. It was essential to secure the harmonization, coordination and coherence of the agendas and work programmes of the functional commissions dealing with development as that would help the Council to serve as a coherent system for reviewing progress. The Council's special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO could serve as a forum to continue building bridges between development, finance and trade organizations and initiatives. It could help translate the Monterrey Consensus into a pragmatic implementation programme, which could then provide substantive inputs to the biennial General Assembly high-level dialogue.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the Monterrey Conference and its follow-up merited special treatment within the United Nations systems. The Group was satisfied with the innovative policies adopted for greater coherence and coordination of the commercial, financial and international monetary systems to ensure equitable global development.
Echoing the sentiments of Pakistan’s delegate, he expressed concern about the lack of a visible general coordination unit, headed by a high-level official, in the Secretariat to ensure follow-up to the Consensus. The unit in place during the preparatory meetings had been weakened, he said, calling for the adoption of a resolution to re-create and consolidate the unit.
ZAINUDDIN YAHYA (Malaysia) stressed that the Monterrey Consensus must be translated into real and meaningful implementation and welcomed the intention expressed by the World Bank and the IMF to intensify their efforts in several areas. Those included promoting improved market access, addressing systemic issues to ensure coordination and coherence among institutions at the policy and operational levels, and finding pragmatic and innovative ways to enhance the effective participation of all countries in international forums.
Noting that developing countries had placed great expectations in the Monterrey Consensus, he supported the strategic concepts of “ownership” and “partnership” that the Secretary-General had recently outlined. Consistent with the idea of ownership, national governments undoubtedly had a key role to play by displaying good governance, sound macroeconomic policies, fiscal discipline and the rule of law, and political stability to create confidence in the economy. International monetary institutions would also be vital in building a global economic system that was more conducive to progress in developing countries, he said.
OLIVIER CHAVE (Switzerland) said that in the months following the Monterrey Conference, Switzerland had committed itself to implement the goals of the Consensus, including by expanding programmes to improve financial-sector infrastructure, particularly in the LDCs and economies in transition; and facilitating public-private development partnerships for small and medium-sized enterprises, and greater ODA flows. The Swiss Foreign Ministry had forged a partnership with the World Economic Forum to improve the quality of information available to investors from developing countries, he said, adding that it had also committed to donating 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product to ODA by 2010.
He said that institutional follow-up to the Conference should be done within the context of regular meetings of existing institutions. At the United Nations level, the high-level dialogue could serve as an important common platform. At the global level, such dialogue should occur biennially and over a two-day period immediately preceding or following the fall meetings of the IMF and World Bank. That would maximize synergy and owing to the presence of finance, trade and commerce ministers and central bank directors, he noted.
EARL HUNTLEY (Saint Lucia), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), noted that the Monterrey Consensus had identified the General Assembly and its high-level dialogue as the focal point for follow-up. It should ensure the equal participation of all Member States and the reconstitution of the high-level dialogue to ensure an integrated approach on all issues relating to the financing for development process. However, the multi-stakeholder roundtables should be interactive, addressing specific questions and issues with a view to making concrete recommendations, and not simply repeating policy statements of the general debate.
He proposed that the General Assembly establish a working group of the high-level dialogue with task forces to oversee implementation of specific proposals contained in the Monterrey Consensus. The working group would formulate internationally agreed codes of conduct and rules to regulate international financial markets and allow national policies to control short-term capital flows. It would also monitor ODA contributions and distribute information about whether aid was tied or untied aid and whether it promoted domestic export promotion rather than development assistance.
The working group would also establish an independent debt mechanism, involving creditors, debtors and impartial experts to assess, adjudicate and pass judgement on debt reduction options, he said. It would draw up proposals for the full participation of developing countries in global economic decision-making as well as proposals addressing the declining terms of trade, instability of commodity prices, the phasing out of subsidies and other trade-distorting barriers.
He said the task forces would inform the decisions of the high-level dialogue and consult with all Member States as well as all other relevant stakeholders through open and transparent hearings or panel discussions. In preparing for the dialogue, national and regional consultations would be held, involving all relevant ministries and stakeholders on issues relating to financing for development and implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.
Mr. KONDAKOV (Russian Federation) stressed the need to make maximum use of the Monterrey Consensus to meet development goals. In addition to the high-level dialogue, it was necessary to focus on substantive issues and practical steps to ensure implementation.
He said his country had granted preferential trade access to the exports of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and banned quality restrictions. Russian imports from LDCs totalled $5 billion annually. Under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, the country had also written off $904 million in LDC debt, he said, calling called on other nations to follow suit.
MARK RAMSDEN (New Zealand), noting that the roles and responsibilities of national governments, donor countries and international financial institutions had been clearly spelled out at the Monterrey Conference, stressed that the importance of domestic policy must not be underestimated. Countries that had adopted pro-poor policies had been better able to benefit from ODA and investment flows and donors as well as institutions had accepted the need to provide appropriate assistance, open up their markets, and provide technical assistance.
The Monterrey Consensus was fundamentally about reciprocity, requiring equal commitments from all partners, he continued. The United Nations must effectively follow-up on the Consensus, involving a broad range of actors who had participated at Monterrey. The Conference had given the international community an opportunity to move from the Second Committee’s traditional agenda to a more integrated and holistic approach.
DJAUHARI ORATMANGUN (Indonesia) said that effective implementation of the Monterrey Consensus required the mobilization of domestic resources in developing countries and international resources through foreign direct investment (FDI), ODA and other private financing flows. While welcoming the ODA commitments made at Monterrey by the United States and the European Union, noted the slow pace in implementing the HIPC initiative and called for innovative steps to comprehensively address the debt problems of all developing countries, including those with middle-income economies.
Greater coherence, better governance and more consistency in the international monetary, financial and trading systems was needed to complement national development efforts, he said. That would enable developing countries to focus on macroeconomic policies critical to achieving programme objectives.
KULKUMUT SINGHARA NA AYUDHAYA (Thailand) emphasized the failure of the international financial system to prevent rapid destabilizing outflows of private capital from developing economies. Ensuring that developing countries could benefit fully from globalization would require a rigorous exploration of innovative ways for developing and transition economies to engage equitably with the international financial community. At the same time, international financial institutions should be encouraged to develop better systems for monitoring and managing capital flows.
Underlining the vital importance of FDI for building a vibrant productive sector, transferring technology and generating employment, he said it could help developing countries achieve sustainable economic development. It was essential to encourage greater FDI flows to developing countries, support from the international financial and business community, and measures by source countries to facilitate such flows. While the Monterrey Consensus recognized trade as a major source of finance for developing countries, increasing trade barriers in certain developed countries had presented uncertainties for the translation of the Doha Development Agenda into a true development round. He stressed the importance of improving market access, reducing trade barriers as well as special and differential treatment.
JOHN LANGMORE, International Labour Organization (ILO), noting gaps between reports of the Secretary-General and the timing of the high-level meetings of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, said that delegates at Monterrey had pointed out that the report paid too little attention to social issues. Agreeing, he said that dialogue on employment was crucial to poverty reduction and had not been sufficiently reflected in official decisions.
The report also failed to address the need to strengthen the provision of global public goods and the need for greater initiatives in debt reduction, he said. It had not sufficiently considered the widening gap between rich and poor, not global governance or how to address international debt or the gap in financing. ODA would only account for one-quarter of the funds that the World Bank deemed necessary to achieve the Millennium goals. Private investment was not the answer either, he said, adding that improved tax administration was needed in developing countries.
RAMON OSIRIS BLANCO DOMINGEZ (Dominican Republic) said that the Monterrey Conference had begun a new stage of global consultation aimed at stability and prosperity. The Monterrey Consensus was the fruit of years of preparatory work, representing the true nature and aims of the United Nations. Participation at the Conference had resulted in a new international alliance to alleviate poverty, involving civil society and international financial institutions.
Agreements had been signed, language had been set and the international community was now awaiting fulfillments of the commitments made at Monterrey, he said. That fulfillment would depend not only on mechanisms created for follow-up, but also on the political will and generosity of the most privileged to contribute directly to the living conditions in developing countries. Global follow-up to the Conference should follow a holistic approach, which must be linked with the follow-up to other major conferences. The primary responsibility for that follow-up lay with the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies, he added.
SHIN BOONAM (Republic of Korea) said the challenge ahead was to put the commitments made at Monterrey into practice. The Republic of Korea was doing its part to spur economic and social development in LDCs through ODA, preferential market access policies and capacity-building programmes. It had provided $2 billion in ODA in the past 15 years and $265 million last year, and was committed to increasing contributions in coming years.
The Republic of Korea had also given duty-free and quota-free access to 80 products from LDCs, and had developed capacity-building initiatives in trade development, he said. Moreover, it intended to contribute to the Doha Development Agenda Trust Fund for LDCs in the future.
DYOMINA OLESYA (Ukraine) said the Monterrey Conference had succeeded in bringing trade, investment and other issues to the forefront on the international development agenda and stressed the importance of enhancing coordination and coherence among the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO to ensure sustainable development and equitable, universal access to the benefits of globalization. The activities of the Bretton Woods institutions should be strengthened to provide better financial and technical assistance to developing and transition countries, with those institutions placing the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus high on their respective agendas.
She said it was vital that the international community live up to its Monterrey commitments of good governance, enhanced participation for civil society, the rule of law, democracy, sustainable debt-financing and external debt relief. Welcoming Monterrey's affirmation on investment and noting the important role of the domestic environment in development, she said her country was actively pursuing macroeconomic and structural reforms. The business community and private sector were encouraged to play increasingly vital roles in all sectors of the economy, and Ukraine was encouraging industrial competitiveness in international markets.
KULATILAKA LENAGALA (Sri Lanka), stressing the importance of follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus, and for relevant stakeholders and actors to stay engaged, said that close cooperation with the World Bank and the IMF was necessary, as was the elimination of the debt burden carried by the most heavily indebted poor countries.
Noting his country was not optimistic about foreign aid, which was merely a temporary solution to the economic and social woes of LDCs, he stressed the need for comprehensive, longer-term initiatives that would provide LDCs and middle-
income economies with the necessary tools and infrastructure for poverty reduction and sustainable development.
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