Fifty-eighth General Assembly
Ministerial Round Table 6
PARTICIPANTS IN ROUND TABLE EXPLORE PROPOSALS TO ATTAIN FINANCING
FOR DEVELOPMENT TARGETS, MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Fundamentally, the internationally agreed goals elaborated within the Millennium Declaration served as a benchmark against which to monitor progress for development made on a country-by-country -- as well as global -- basis, United Nations Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown declared this afternoon, as he opened the sixth of eight ministerial round tables organized for the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development.
The discussion focused on the link between progress in the implementation of the commitments made at the International Conference on Financing for Development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which included halving poverty by 2015.
The co-chair of the round table, Gonzalo Garcia Nunez, Director of the Central Bank of Peru and Special Envoy of the President, urged participants to explore practical and viable ways to give impetus to fully achieving the objectives of Monterrey. He also urged stakeholders to improve communication as the basis for mobilizing additional human and capital resources.
Representatives of governments and civil society raised a variety of proposals, including the development of yearly “report cards”, as proposed by Walter Fust, Director-General of the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency. Lorna Gold, a representative of the Irish non-governmental organization Trocaire, reiterated the proposal to establish an Economic and Social Security Council. She further insisted that, regardless of the need to further investigate such proposals, there was an imminent need for concrete steps to achieve the Millennium Goals, and the Economic and Social Council should be the forum for their advancement.
It was also necessary, stated Emmy Simmons, Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, to analyze the process of crafting partnerships between various stakeholders. Participating as a business interlocutor, Barbara Samuels reaffirmed that point, saying that, once the entity taking the lead in implementing the Monterrey Consensus had been pinpointed, it would be possible to establish working groups in partnership with that entity for the accomplishment of specific goals.
Ian Goldin, Vice-President for External and United Nations Affairs of the World Bank, explained that his organization’s efforts to assist in the attainment of the Monterrey commitments and the Millennium Goals centered on promoting coherence among Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) processes and ensuring that national governments remained firmly in the driver’s seat in that regard. Country evaluations had also been conducted to understand blockages to progress where they occurred.
However, he warned, there must be better cooperation for the attainment of international goals, and not just on agricultural subsidies but on issues such as health and education. Currently, African countries were better governed than ever before. Yet the flow of official development assistance (ODA) to the continent was at its lowest level ever. While ODA had been seen to increase globally, Evelyn Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the Millennium Development Goals Campaign, also agreed that donor countries had not made sufficient progress in implementing the only Goal for which they had primary responsibility –- increasing ODA to 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP).
All agreed that insufficient progress was currently being made in implementing agreements aimed at achieving the Goals, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. There was, however, some difference as to how to redress that situation. For his part, Hilary Benn, Minister of International Development of the United Kingdom, said efforts in the areas of ODA, trade, good governance and debt relief must be amplified to speed the attainment of the Goals.
However, maintained Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius, developing countries were taking all possible measures to attract foreign direct investment and act in conformity with the expectations of industrial States. The problem was that each time an event like 11 September 2001, Afghanistan or Iraq occurred, the focus on development assistance was derailed.
African countries understood the need to take responsibility for good governance, affirmed Jean-Baptiste Natama, Technical Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso. Yet while there were stable countries in Africa, the lack of information on investment opportunities in them meant that investors did not come to the continent. Africa could do much to combat poverty, he argued, if it were not for the barriers constraining its engagement in international trade. Without the elimination of those barriers, globalization would only be a false promise to get weaker States to open their markets.
Throughout all efforts, one should strive to maintain coherence across all sectors in driving forward the implementation of the Monterrey commitments, affirmed numerous speakers. That Monterrey had not yet fully delivered on its promise seemed to be the consensus, as concluded by Ado Vaher, Director of the Office of United Nations Affairs and External Relations of the United Nations Children's Fund.
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