21 January 2008


21 January 2008
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following is the text of United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the second High-Level Symposium on the Development Cooperation Forum in Cairo, on 19 January:

It is a pleasure to join you today.

Allow me first to extend, on behalf of the United Nations, my gratitude to the Government of Egypt for hosting this Symposium and for the excellent hospitality extended to me and my delegation by the Egyptian authorities since we arrived yesterday.  This is a welcome opportunity to underscore the pre-eminent place of development cooperation on the agenda of the international community.

The Secretary-General and I are both personally and deeply committed to strengthening the development work of the United Nations.  Implementing the outcome of the 2005 World Summit, especially by revitalizing the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and making it a quality platform for development deliberations, is one of our top priorities.

I would like to congratulate the new President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Léo Mérorès, on his recent election.  You shoulder a significant responsibility for the success of the Council’s work in 2008, especially for its first biennial Development Cooperation Forum in July.  Your knowledge of ECOSOC and the United Nations system is a tremendous asset.  It will help guide and lead the Council as it moves from strength to strength.

We need to commit ourselves with renewed vigour to the fight for greater equity among –- and within –- countries, to pursue poverty eradication, to reach all other Millennium Development Goals, and to ensure sustainable socio-economic progress for all.  These objectives, which are at the very core of the UN’s mission, call for more effective and coherent development cooperation.

And that is the central purpose of the Development Cooperation Forum -- to help ensure that international cooperation is aligned with the realization of national and global development goals.

When they created this new Forum at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders sought to respond to the profound transformation that has been taking place in development cooperation.  Accordingly, they made it one of the primary functions of the Forum to review new trends in this field. 

One such trend has been the multiplication of development actors.  Today, these include very large numbers of multilateral bodies, bilateral agencies, vertical and special purpose funds, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and others.  While this increased engagement is very much welcome, it has resulted in making the fabric of development cooperation increasingly complex and fragmented. 

There has also been a growing momentum in South-South and triangular cooperation, in both scope and scale.  The same applies to decentralized cooperation, namely by local Governments, cities and universities.  Yet another trend has been the exponential increase in philanthropy.  The unprecedented growth of wealth, the development of the non-profit sector, and the increased commitment of prominent individuals have combined to re-energize philanthropic giving. 

Understanding these and other new trends in development cooperation is the start of a serious process of review and change.  That is why the Development Cooperation Forum is so vital.  It can help bring greater coherence to our collective efforts.  And it can gear those efforts towards the realization of the global partnership for development, as set out at Monterrey, Johannesburg and the 2005 World Summit. 

Last year in Vienna, participants at the first High-Level Symposium to prepare for the Forum showed broad agreement that national ownership and leadership in managing and coordinating aid should be one of the key principles of development cooperation.  They also agreed on the importance of equal partnerships based on mutual accountability.

At the international level, the Doha Review Conference on Financing for Development, to take place towards the end of this year, offers an important opportunity to strengthen coherence in cooperation, with its focus on policies in the areas of trade, finance, debt and aid.  The first Development Cooperation Forum should contribute to the preparations for Doha, particularly by informing the decisions to be taken on some of the aid- and finance-related issues.  The Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in September provides another such opportunity.

Member States decided that another important focus of the Development Cooperation Forum should be to better link the normative and operational aspects of the UN’s work.  This is a key dimension of coherence within the UN system.  Last month, the General Assembly adopted a new resolution on the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR).  For the next three years, the TCPR resolution will guide the operational activities for development undertaken by the United Nations system.

The General Assembly will also soon begin work on system-wide coherence.  Delivering as one at country, regional and global levels in virtually every area of our work is not only possible, it is essential. 

It is heartening that such a varied group of actors are participating in this meeting to discuss key policy issues.  The capacity to engage such a wide range of stakeholders -- Governments, civil society, international and regional organizations, academia and others -- is one of the key characteristics of the Development Cooperation Forum.  Indeed, it is a comparative advantage of the Forum vis-à-vis other venues where development cooperation is debated.  Let us maximize this advantage as we strive together to reach the Millennium Development Goals and fulfil the international development agenda.

It is my hope that open and inclusive dialogue will be the hallmark of this Cairo Symposium, as well as the upcoming Forum in July.  I look forward to making 2008 a milestone year in our efforts to promote effective and coherent development cooperation, for the benefit of all the world’s people.

In that spirit, I wish you a most constructive meeting.

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