23 October 2007


23 October 2007
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-general urges renewed efforts to meet millennium

Goals for global economic, social progress


High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development Is Told

Progress So Far ‘Uneven’; Midpoint Review Is Chance for New Breakthroughs

This is the text of remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today during the General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development:

I am pleased to join the President of the General Assembly in welcoming all of you to this High-Level Dialogue.

The International Conference on Financing for Development -– held five years ago in Monterrey –- marked a turning point in our quest for economic and social progress.  At the Conference, developed and developing countries alike came together, under United Nations auspices, to forge a bold new partnership for development; and they made clear their determination to end poverty once and for all. 

In the Monterrey Consensus, developing countries took primary responsibility for their development, and for mobilizing domestic resources.  Developed countries, in turn, agreed to provide assistance and promote an enabling international environment for development.

The Consensus was a landmark agreement.  It reiterated that poor and economically distressed people should be welcomed as partners in the development process.  And it affirmed the importance of substantially increased and predictable official development assistance to achieve development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

Just past the midpoint in the global effort to achieve these Goals by 2015, our scorecard is uneven.  Some regions -– particularly sub-Saharan Africa –- are clearly not on track.  This should worry every single one of us.  After all, reaching the Goals is not only vital to building better, healthier and decent lives for millions of people around the world, it is also essential to global peace and security.

Now, more than ever, achieving the Millennium Development Goals -– and, indeed, all the internationally agreed development targets -– depends fundamentally on the substance, vitality and credibility of our global partnership.  We know we can reach the Goals, but only if we share responsibility and honour our commitments. 

So far, progress on the Monterrey Consensus has also been mixed.  Many developing nations, including many lower middle-income countries, have experienced stronger economic growth.  Since 2002, levels of official development assistance, including new commitments, rose only to fall off since last year.  More importantly, the sustained increase required to meet targets agreed to decades ago, and reiterated in 2002 and 2005, have not materialized.  Closing this funding gap is essential if we are to alleviate extreme poverty, fight diseases and achieve the other development targets.  The challenge is even greater now, with the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, while striving to reduce the huge and growing economic divergences. 

This can only happen when donors meet their ODA commitment targets, and channel more resources through national budgets.  At the same time, more effort is required to improve aid effectiveness.  The additional financing needs for climate change must also be addressed.

Significant steps have been taken on debt relief.  But here too, much more is needed.  Putting all low-income countries on a sustainable path of debt repayment must be a priority.  And immediate action is needed to increase the voice and participation of developing countries in international decision-making, particularly in the international financial institutions.  This is essential for the legitimacy, credibility and, ultimately, the effectiveness of these institutions.

At the national level, implementation poses its own challenges.  In many cases, prudent macroeconomic management and increased social spending have not generated the results required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  National development strategies need to give priority to macroeconomic and other policies that support sustained economic growth and decent employment.

Net international capital flows have actually flowed away from most developing countries over the last decades.  Much more must be done to increase stable capital flows to low-income countries and to enhance their development impact.

We also need more inclusive multilateral coordination of macroeconomic policies.  This is particularly urgent in the face of the large global imbalances, volatile international capital flows and the threats to sustaining development posed by financial turmoil.

Significant challenges remain in realizing the development dimension of the Doha trade negotiations.  Concluding the talks quickly, with meaningful and equitable development implications, should be the principal focus of the negotiators.  Aid for trade should be made operational.

The International Review Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Doha next year, offers a golden opportunity for all stakeholders to consolidate the gains made and to achieve new breakthroughs.  It is an opportunity to strengthen the solidarity and partnership between rich and poor countries that was created five years ago in Monterrey.

Let us begin here, in this High-Level Dialogue, to rekindle that “ Monterrey spirit”.  Let us renew our commitment to free our fellow human beings from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of poverty and inequality.  A strong and sustained effort now can mean the difference between the success and failure of our collective endeavour to create a better, more peaceful and more prosperous world for all.

I urge the international community to do its utmost to fulfil the commitments made at Monterrey, so that all countries, and all people, especially the poorest, can benefit.  And I hope to see fresh ideas on specific actions that could be taken in Doha to deliver fully on the global partnership for development.  I look forward to examining appropriate ways to strengthen the implementation of this process.

I wish you every success in your deliberations.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.