Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Ministerial Round Table 4
ROUND TABLE PARTICIPANTS DISCUSS WHETHER CURRENT GLOBAL MONETARY,
FINANCIAL, TRADING SYSTEMS CONDUCIVE TO DEVELOPMENT
In the wake of the failed Cancun trade talks, government, intergovernmental organization, private-sector and civil society representatives sat down at a round table discussion this morning to debate whether current international monetary, financial and trading systems were in fact conducive to development, and if not, what future course to follow.
Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Advisor for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at the World Bank, said the Doha global development round would translate into an estimated $500 billion to $800 billion annually in benefits, two thirds sent to developing countries, and $50 billion in development assistance.
J. Lintjer, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, who co-chaired the meeting, said since in 1990, 165 million people in Asia were lifted out of poverty, proof that trade had direct benefits in terms of increased market access and indirect benefits in terms of increased financial and real investment. That trade liberalization was a means to development was well recognized by the United Nations at Doha, Monterrey and in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
However, the representative of Cameroon said that despite increases in foreign direct investment and official development assistance (ODA) to Africa, the money was not being put to good use. The current trading system was not coherent and many sub-Saharan Africa nations lacked enabling environments to spread benefits evenly. The real problem was political, he said, noting the absence of political will to implement the Doha and Monterrey principles through partnership among Member States, international institutions, the private sector and civil society.
Similarly, Chandra Patel, Director and Founder of the Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Zimbabwe, said developed countries were the main beneficiaries of the Uruguay Trade Round. The Doha Round was not a “development round” or a “development agenda”. In fact, ministers from 100 developing countries had opposed it, fearing that the issues they objected to in Singapore would be imposed on them again in Doha. Very little existed in the Doha document about actual development.
Summarizing the discussion, Ruth Jacoby, Director-General for Development Cooperation of Sweden and co-chair of the meeting, said that among the other issues addressed were the role of regional trade banks, local banks, local capital markets and stock exchanges in financing for development; the proposal to expand the Group of Eight to a “G-27”; creating an Economic Security Council; and a greater role for the Economic and Social Council in financing for development.
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