27 April 2004
Economic and Social Council Holds High-Level Meeting with IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organization, UNCTAD
Focus Is Coherence, Coordination and Cooperation in Implementation of Monterrey Consensus to Reduce Poverty, Further Economic Growth
NEW YORK, 26 April (UN Headquarters) -- In a continued multilateral effort to further international development goals, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today hosted a day-long special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and -- for the first time -- the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
A formally mandated part of the follow-up to the Conference on Financing for Development, the meeting built on a similar event last April by focusing on the overall subject of Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, by which the international community asserted its resolve to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development in the context of a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system.
In his opening remarks, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the slow pace of implementation and lack of coherence were the problems the international community faced today -- two years after the International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico. In the area where progress was needed most -- trade -- the record was mostly disappointing. Indeed, with the failure in Cancún and a growing resort to bilateral trade agreements, we have backtracked significantly, he said.
It was not too late to regain the path on which the international community had set out with such hope, he said. We can make a start today, by continuing your efforts to ensure that your policies and ministries do not work at cross purposes. We must demonstrate clearly, by next years review of the Millennium Declaration, that we are truly serious about reaching the Millennium Development Goals. For all the problems the world was facing, it remained true today that almost every country could reach the Goals by 2015, as long as reforms were implemented and adequate external support was provided. But by next year, it might already be too late.
Among the needed measures, he listed the need to make sure that national policies, resources, and strategies were focused on reaching the Millennium Goals. Domestic resources were the largest source of financing for development, and could be especially effective if focused on education, health, infrastructure, capacity- and institution-building, and efforts to improve regulatory frameworks and public administration. The Doha negotiations needed to produce real gains for developing countries, such as unhindered market access and the elimination of subsidies. Also important were greater foreign investment in developing countries, better aid and action to address the high debt burdens of low- and middle-income countries not covered by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative.
Opening the meeting, the President of the Economic and Social Council, Marjatta Rasi (Finland), said that the Monterrey Consensus had sent a mandate to the ECOSOC for follow-up, and compliance with that mandate could only be achieved jointly with all present. The presence of ministers and senior officials of Member States and key international development financial institution demonstrated the commitment to the Monterrey Consensus.
The President of the General Assembly, Julian Robert Hunte (Saint Lucia), said that persistent and critical issues for developing countries requiring further and urgent attention included foreign direct investment, reduction in the levels of official development assistance (ODA), a fair multilateral trading system and debt relief. There was a growing sense of urgency, particularly in the development world, that the international community needed to move more quickly to assist with national efforts for poverty eradication, sustainable economic growth, sustainable development and overall, for a more equitable global economic system.
The meeting was informed about the meetings of the Bretton Woods institutions that were held in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, reported on the meeting of the Development Committee, a joint ministerial body of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the outcome of a ministerial-level meeting of the International Monetary and Finance Committee was presented by Augustin Carstens, designated representative of that bodys Chair.
Zukang Sha, President of the Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD, said that as the focal point within the United Nations for integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, the Conference was pre-eminently placed to build consensus for reformulation of policies in a globalizing world from a development perspective. Many of the issues before the Council today were under discussion in the preparatory process for UNCTAD XI, the only United Nations economic conference to be held this year.
At its fiftieth session, the Trade and Development Board had considered questions relating to interdependence and global economic issues from a trade and development perspective, he continued. Strengthened international financial cooperation, as agreed in the Monterrey Consensus, and a world trading and financial system that was more supportive of development were also considered essential by the Board.
Following opening statements, various aspects of the main theme were discussed in six round tables addressing the impact of private investment and trade-related issues on financing for development; the role of multilateral institutions in reaching the Millennium Development Goals; and debt sustainability and debt relief. Co-chairing those interactive discussions along with Ministers from the Netherlands, Pakistan, Madagascar, Norway, Nicaragua and Albania, were the Secretary-General of
the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Deputy Director-General of WTO; the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the Dean of the Board of the World Bank; the Senior Director of the International Monetary Fund, and the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Statements were also made by Minister of Finance of Qatar (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Yousef Hassain Kamal; and the Chair of the European Union, the Minister of Finance of Ireland, Charlie McCreevy. The representatives of the United States, Brazil (also on behalf of the Rio Group), Tunisia, Ecuador, India, Argentina and Peru also spoke. Also participating in the discussion on behalf of the non-governmental organizations and the business sector were representatives of the Third World Network and Business Council for the United Nations. A statement was made by Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).
Concluding remarks were presented by the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, and the President of ECOSOC, Ms. Rasi.
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met today in a special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to consider implementation of the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, two years later.
The primary purpose of the meeting -- devoted to the overall theme of Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus -- was to take stock and to maintain the political momentum for implementing what had come out of the Conference. The event was a formally mandated part of the follow-up to the International Conference and part of the decisions taken by the General Assembly on how to follow up on Monterrey.
By agreeing on the Monterrey Consensus in 2002, the international community asserted its resolve to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development in the context of a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system. The text concludes with a commitment to strengthen the United Nations as the main organization to revamp the international financial system, working with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO.
Special high-level meetings of ECOSOC have been a yearly occurrence since 1998. Early in the preparatory process towards the International Conference on Financing for Development, the Assembly, in resolution 54/196, recognized the WTO as a key stakeholder in both the preparatory process and the high-level intergovernmental event. The Monterrey Consensus, in March 2002, encouraged the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with the World Trade Organization, to address issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation, as a follow-up to the Conference at a spring meeting between the ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods institutions.
While the 2002 meeting focused on the outcome of the Monterrey Conference and the meetings of the Development Committee and International Monetary and Financial Committee, last years event provided an overall assessment of progress in implementation of the Monterrey Consensus at all levels. This year, in compliance with ECOSOC resolution E/2003/47, the meeting includes, for the first time, representation from the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The Council had before it a note by the Secretary-General, which provides background information and raises a number of questions for consideration at this years six round tables addressing the impact of private investment and trade-related issues on financing for development; the role of multilateral institutions in reaching the Millennium Development Goals; and debt sustainability and debt relief.
MARJATTA RASI, President of the Economic and Social Council, said that for the first time, representatives of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board would participate in the Council meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions. The Monterrey Consensus had sent a mandate to the ECOSOC for follow-up to that consensus, and compliance with that mandate could only be achieved jointly with all present. The presence of ministers and senior officials of Member States and key international development financial institution demonstrated the commitment to the Monterrey Consensus.
She said she was honoured to welcome the President of Finland, and also welcomed the Executive Directors of the IMF and World Bank. Their presence was the outcome of intensive efforts by the Council to deepen intergovernmental dialogue. She had also had fruitful preparatory discussions with the WTO and UNCTAD.
Todays meeting would address the overall theme of coherence, coordination and implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and would focus on more specific issues in round-table discussions. It was difficult to cover all aspects of the Monterrey Consensus in one short meeting, she said. The question of representation in international financial decision-making processes was of importance to many. That and other issues could be addressed in the round-table meetings. She called for a focus on least developed countries.
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said that now that four of the 15 years set for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals had passed, the results were, at best, mixed. Even if the current recovery in the world economy sped up and spread more widely, that would not be enough to ensure that the world met the Goals. Only by building on the spirit and promise of the Monterrey Consensus -- the focus of todays meeting -- would the international community have a fair chance. As things stood, two years after Monterrey Conference, the decisions taken there were not being implemented fast enough; and lack of coherence, so central to the Consensus, was as much a problem now as it had been then.
At the heart of the Consensus was a pact -- a recognition that, to build an open and equitable global economy, both developed and developing countries had specific responsibilities, he continued. Developing countries had agreed to improve governance, economic management, and their investment climates, and to build up their human resources. Even if not every developing country had made sufficient progress, there was strong evidence that, on the whole, the developing world had taken many positive steps in those directions. Developed countries, for their part, had increased official development assistance (ODA) and were paying greater attention to the issue of external debt. But in the area where progress was needed most -- trade -- the record was mostly disappointing. Indeed, with the failure in Cancún and a growing resort to bilateral trade agreements, we have backtracked significantly, he said.
It was not too late to regain the path on which the international community had set out with such hope, he said. We can make a start today, by continuing your efforts to ensure that your policies and ministries do not work at cross purposes. We must demonstrate clearly, by next years review of the Millennium Declaration, that we are truly serious about reaching the Millennium Development Goals. For all the problems the world was facing, it remained true today that almost every country could reach the Millennium Goals by 2015, as long as reforms were implemented and adequate external support was provided. But by next year, it might already be too late.
First, it was necessary to make sure that national policies, resources, and strategies were focused on reaching the Goals, he continued. Domestic resources were the largest source of financing for development, and could be especially effective if focused on education, health, infrastructure, capacity- and institution-building, and efforts to improve regulatory frameworks and public administration. Then, it was necessary to ensure greater foreign investment in developing countries, especially those that had taken steps to improve the investment climate. Also, the Doha negotiations needed to produce real gains for developing countries, such as unhindered market access and the elimination of subsidies. Also needed was more and better aid, with action on some of the promising ideas that had been proposed, such as the Global Finance Facility. And finally, it was necessary to address the high debt burdens of low- and middle-income countries not covered by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative.
Expressing hope that the participants would use todays meeting to determine how we can do better in all of these vital areas, and to strengthen the coordination and cooperation that are so crucial for achieving any progress, he said it was also necessary to strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making. The Monterrey Consensus had set in motion a process that had taken the first steps in that direction, recognizing rightly that democratizing global economic governance was as essential as any development project, and was vital for building confidence in the system.
In conclusion, he said that while high-level meetings were a very important complement to the work of the Council, there came a time to take stock and see how to improve their effectiveness. The questions that needed to be addressed related to means of making them better focused, sustaining momentum and making the most of joint discussions of common challenges.
JULIAN R. HUNTE (Saint Lucia), President of the General Assembly, said the theme of the high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the international financial and trade institutions called to mind Monterreys focus on coherence, and its viewpoint on the essential need for the WTO to be among those organization playing a critical role in the area of financing for development. With the first-time participation of UNCTAD, an important player to the group of key organizations had been added.
He said all stakeholders -- governments, international institutions, civil society and the private sector --had committed themselves to the goals of the Monterrey Consensus. It was encouraging that the created partnerships had remained intact. Those partnerships ensured a frank and open exchange on the progress made at the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development of the General Assembly in October 2003.
He said the persistent and critical issues requiring further and urgent attention were well known. Numerous developing countries had made determined efforts to create an enabling environment for foreign direct investment (FDI), but FDI had not been forthcoming. Furthermore, the reduction in the levels of ODA had shown that it was not a source of development financing on which developing countries might rely.
International trade was a key element of the international development framework, but it could only become an engine to drive growth and development in a dynamic and fair multilateral trading system. Every indication in that regard showed, however, that that goal had not been reached. Debt continued to be an immediate, short- and long-term challenge to many developing countries. Debt cancellation, particularly for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), might be a better strategy than debt maintenance.
He was pleased that the three critical factors mentioned -- aid, trade and debt -- taken together with the Millennium Development Goals, would be discussed in the round tables. If we are to silence the sceptics [of the Millennium Goals], we must make a determined and urgent effort -- through advocacy, mobilization of resources and capacity-building, in particular -- to meet the 2005 targets and to make progress towards meeting the 2015 targets, he said.
Development challenges were multifaceted, highly complex, and interconnected, as underscored by the integrated approach taken in Monterrey, he continued. Coherence was about maintaining the integrated approach across concerned organizations and groups, to ensure, through coordination and cooperation, that the common objectives and complementary interests converged for the best possible results.
In conclusion he said, there was a growing sense of urgency, particularly in the development world, that the international community needed to move more quickly to assist with national efforts for poverty eradication, sustainable economic growth, sustainable development and overall, for a more equitable global economic system.
Statements by Intergovernmental Representatives
YOUSEF HUSSAIN KAMAL, Minister of Finance of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that despite the fact that prospects for global economic growth had improved in the current year, the fundamental challenges remained the same as at the last meeting: how to eliminate poverty and ensure that developing countries participated effectively in that global economic recovery and prosperity. Clearly, the efforts of developing countries to improve their lot had not been met with commensurate economic performance and reward. The topic of todays debate -- coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus -- was very opportune against that background.
Globalization was a challenge that would continue to occupy the international community because of its failure to respond to the particular needs of developing countries, he continued. Increasing economic disparities between developing and developed countries must force the international community to question the fairness and sustainability of the international economic system in its present form. There had been, as yet, a failure to adopt the new approaches and policies that could make globalization and the phenomenal growth of global prosperity of the last three decades a shared opportunity, from which developing countries could benefit. That constituted a threat both to the livelihood of billions of people and to international peace and security. In that connection, he supported the establishment of the Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change as a tangible demonstration of the leadership the United Nations could provide on that issue.
Focusing on the themes of investment, trade, finance and the participation of developing countries in world economic decision-making, it was necessary to identify the set of policies and actions in those areas that could make possible an effective and beneficial participation of developing countries, he said. The challenges of development should be treated as a coherent whole in order to foster sustainability. It was impossible to continue to assert that the international community supported the efforts of developing countries by providing them aid while, at the same time, denying them market access on practical and beneficial terms.
Neither was it possible to continue to say liberalization was good for growth and development, but in practice implement it selectively. We must match liberalization in the movement of capital with liberalization in trade and in the movement of natural persons, he said. It was necessary to recognize the burden that the imperative to ensure a balance among the three pillars of sustainable development -- economic growth, social responsibility and environmental sustainability -- imposed on the meagre resources of developing countries.
Turning to the need to enhance the voice and participation of developing countries in global economic decision-making, he called for urgent action in that respect. The Group attached particular importance to the developing countries participation in the work of the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF. Members of the Group were keenly following the ongoing consultations on the capacity of developing countries for effective representation and involvement in the work of those institutions, including providing leadership at the highest levels. Negotiating the right policy mix and the type of interventions that were urgently required on the part of the international community, including in implementation of the agreements already reached, continued to be a sore point. Urgent action was needed in the area of trade, investment and financial flows.
In trade, priorities related to the plight of commodity-dependent countries, he said. Other priorities included market access for products of developing countries export, the role of harmful subsidies and other developed countries policies, and technical and financial support. Special and differential treatment should be viewed as an essential component of the multilateral trading system in recognition of the changing realities of world trade and globalization. The Group continued to support the Doha round, but it insisted that it be given genuine development content. It was in that area that the Group expected developed countries to demonstrate real good will. It had been steadfast in its support of an open, rule-based multilateral trading system for the promotion of global trade and eradication of poverty worldwide.
Direct foreign investment was one of the keys to unlocking the productive potential of developing countries, he said. In order for developing countries policies to succeed, they needed to be complemented by support from their development partners. Therefore, governments needed to work together with the private sector to forge mutually supportive arrangements that made finance, trade and investment true instruments for poverty eradication. In pursuing all those initiatives and because of the dire economic and social conditions, developing countries would continue to depend on ODA. That matter was most crucial for the weakest economies.
He welcomed the many initiatives announced in Monterrey and called for their speedy and full implementation. The biggest problem with aid over the years was the fact that it had been inadequate or came too late. Improving the effectiveness of aid required its timely provision and use in those areas where its catalytic role could be maximized. Aid also should not be encumbered by unnecessary conditions. At the same, lasting solutions were needed to the problems of external debt. Such solutions lay in part in giving aid on more concessional basis and partly on ensuring that developing countries could participate effectively in international trade. External debt relief should be explicitly linked to the achievement of the goals and targets of the Millennium Declaration.
CHARLIE MCCREEVY, Minister for Finance of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said one of the most innovative and constructive aspects of the process leading to the Monterrey Consensus was the integrated and coordinated contribution of the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. It was essential to preserve and build on that collaborative approach between organizations that played a key role in financing for development. At the Development Committee, during the spring meetings of the Bretton Woods institutions in Washington, the global monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals and debt sustainability had been discussed. Those were also among the issues which would be discussed today.
He said todays meeting took place against the background of major reports that highlighted the faltering progress of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa towards achieving the Millennium Goals. The situation in sub-Saharan Africa was of profound concern to the European Union, he said. The Union had recognized the progress made in the region in consolidating democratic principles, good governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights. HIV/AIDS and conflict were among the many challenges to the region. He encouraged efforts to improve the quality of governance, including through greater accountability, transparency and control of corruption in a strengthened public sector. The European Union and its member States accorded 11.5 billion annually to Africa.
The Union fully supported the basic principles of and political priorities addressed by NEPAD, he continued. The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would require strong pro-poor growth in the region and an enabling climate for domestic and foreign investment. He, therefore, supported the renewed focus on the critical role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and development. Achievement of the Millennium Goals required that all countries, both developed and developing, lived up to their commitments and played their parts in achieving those goals.
He said the European Union had a strong commitment to its own responsibilities under the Monterrey Consensus. The European Union Council had adopted eight explicit commitments (the so called Barcelona Commitments), which defined the Unions contribution to the International Conference on Financing for Development. The European Commission had been mandated to report annually on the extent to which the Union member States and the Commission were implementing those commitments. He invited other partners to consider undertaking similar reporting.
All European Union member States had reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the United Nations ODA goal of dedicating 0.7 per cent of gross national income to development. Four States had already achieved that goal, while others had established time frames in which they would strive to reach it. At Monterrey, the Union had made a collective commitment to achieve an average ODA of 0.39 per cent. The latest European Commission report showed that the European Union was on track. He said that on 1 May, the Union would welcome 10 new member States, and acceding countries efforts had been included in the progress report. All acceding States had begun to make the transition to becoming donors.
In addition to increased resources, it was essential that donors and international organization and their developing countries partners worked to make aid more effective, he continued. It required enhanced joint planning between donors, focused on alignment with nationally owned development strategies, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategies, as well as alignment with country systems and procedures. The need for coordination was particularly true in the area of HIV/AIDS. The European Union was also committed to provide trade-related assistance to developing countries.
Regarding the HIPC Debt Initiative, he said all Union member States were committed to going beyond the requirement of HIPC by providing 100 per cent debt relief on their pre cut-off date claims towards HIPC countries. It was vital to look beyond the HIPC Initiative, he said, and address issues related to long-term debt sustainability of low-income countries.
He concluded that it was clear that a significant challenge was faced in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in sub-Saharan Africa. The implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and a strong commitment by governments and international organization to promote coherence, coordination and cooperation, would be crucial to make required progress. That integrated approach needed to be promoted and developed in the years ahead, if progress was to be made in lifting millions of people out of extreme poverty.
NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, Acting Chair of the Development Committee and Minister of Finance of Nigeria, informed the participants regarding the outcome of yesterdays meeting in Washington, D.C., which was held to assess progress based on the first Global Monitoring Report on the decisions taken at Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg. The Development Committee [a forum of the World Bank and the IMF that facilitates intergovernmental consensus-building on development issues] had strongly reaffirmed its commitment to reducing poverty in developing countries and implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Success, however, would require a continuous effort on behalf of all players. That was a task and a challenge for the international community.
In adopting the Millennium Declaration, the international community had established strategies and actions that needed to be implemented to succeed, she continued. Reviewing the report, the Committee had recognized progress on many fronts, including significant reforms implemented by developing countries and important gains in reducing income poverty. However, it was very concerned that, based on current trends, most Millennium Goals would not be implemented in most developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. All parties, developing and developed countries and international institutions, must urgently enhance concerted action to accelerate progress towards those goals.
Action in all areas was needed, she said, in particular in improving the climate for private sector activity, strengthening reforms and improving the quality of governance, fighting HIV/AIDS epidemic and scaling up effective investment in infrastructure and improving access to health care, education and other basic social services. The Committee also had stressed that specific priorities must be determined at a country level, in the context of country-owned and monitored development strategies, as reflected in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers in the case of low-income countries and respective national strategy frameworks in middle-income nations. The Committee welcomed the efforts of the World Bank to support stronger investment climates in developing countries. The efforts to improve the climate for private sector activity would be discussed at the Committees next meeting in October.
As set out in Monterrey, stronger support from developed countries was needed, she said, in particular as far as access to markets was concerned. The Committee had called for a constructive and determined effort to move the multilateral trade agenda forward, stressing that it was essential for developed countries to do more to liberalize their markets, facilitate trade and eliminate trade-distorting subsidies. More aid was also required, which needed to be predictable, timely, long term and effective.
Noting a progress report on financing modalities, the Committee looked forward to a report at its next meeting on aid effectiveness, absorptive capacity, results-based measurement mechanisms and mechanisms for mobilizing additional resources, she continued. More effort was needed to implement the Declaration of the Rome High-Level Forum on Harmonization and the Core Principles of Marrakech, including strengthening country capacity to manage for results. The Committee had also recalled that international financial institutions were accountable for their contribution to implementing the Monterrey Consensus.
Also reviewed at the meeting was implementation of the HIPC Initiative, she said. The Committee had urged the Bank and the Fund to help facilitate countries rapid access to HIPC debt relief when their outstanding issues were addressed. Careful consideration also needed to be given to options to deal with the HIPC sunset clause, which was scheduled to take effect at the end of this year. The meeting had broadly supported the principles underlying the proposed framework for debt sustainability in low-income countries, while acknowledging that the modalities and operational implications remained to be clarified. A consistent and coordinated approach should be promoted among borrowers, creditors and donors, to ensure that resources to low-income countries were provided on appropriate terms.
AUGUSTIN CARSTENS, Designated Representative of the Chair of the International Monetary and Finance Committee, IMF, conveyed the outcome of the Committees ministerial-level meeting in Washington on 24 April. That meeting had taken place against the background of an improving global economy, he said. Industrial production and global trade had picked up sharply. However, remaining risks included large global financial imbalances, challenging medium-term fiscal positions in many countries, and the possibility that interest increases might be less gradual than anticipated. Continuing geopolitical uncertainties and developments in oil-markets were also matters of concern.
He said the recovery in emerging market and other developing countries had been aided by improved fundamentals and a rebound in private capital flows. Countries should use the opportunity provided by the favourable financial market environment to strengthen growth prospects and reduce vulnerabilities.
Economic performance in low-income countries continued to improve, he said, but much remained to be done by all partners in the global effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Stronger institutions were needed for poverty reduction. Providing international assistance -- including increased aid, continued debt relief and greater access to industrial country markets -- remained the critical responsibility of the international community.
The Committee had reiterated that the Fund had a strong role to play in helping low-income member countries achieve higher growth and poverty reduction with concrete policy advice, as well as financing and technical assistance, including the assessment of social impacts of poverty-reduction programmes. He welcomed progress in the enhanced HIPC Debt Initiative, with a further five countries reaching their completion point since September. It needed, however, to be recognized that sustainability would remain a challenge after exiting the HIPC Initiative, he said.
Early progress with the Doha round was also important for all countries, in particular with regard to open markets and the reduction of trade-distorting subsidies in all areas, notably in agriculture, he continued. The IMF had also a role to play in promoting trade liberalization. The newly established Trade Integration Mechanism would help address temporary balance-of-payments pressures stemming from trade liberalization.
The Committee had underscored that effective and evenhanded IMF surveillance remained an essential element in enhancing crisis prevention, promoting financial stability, and fostering high and sustainable growth, he said. The Committee also stressed the importance of determined action by the international community to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
He said the Funds effectiveness as a cooperative institution depended on all members having appropriate voice and representation, and working together in a spirit of trust and consensus-building. Efforts had been made to enhance the capacity of developing countries to participate more effectively in IMF decision-making. The Committee called on the Executive Board of the IMF to continue its work on quotas, voice and representation.
ZUKANG SHA, President of the Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD, noted that the Board was present at the special meeting for the first time this year. As the focal point within the United Nations for integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, the Conference was pre-eminently placed to examine those issues and build consensus for reformulation of policies in a globalizing world from a development perspective. Many of the issues before the Council today were under discussion in the preparatory process for UNCTAD XI, the only United Nations economic conference this year. Several Assembly resolutions had designated UNCTAD and the Board as important institutional stakeholders of work on the implementation of Monterrey, Johannesburg and Doha.
At its fiftieth session, the Trade and Development Board had considered questions relating to interdependence and global economic issues from a trade and development perspective, he continued. There were considerable variations among developing countries with regard to their vulnerability to different types of shocks and in their capability to respond to them. Strengthened international financial cooperation, as agreed in the Monterrey Consensus, and a world trading and financial system that was more supportive of development were also considered essential by the Board.
There was agreement, he said, that short-term prospects for global growth continued to be troubled by a number of uncertainties and imbalances, with negative consequences for developing countries. Members of the Board agreed that reforms undertaken in many Latin American and African countries in the 1990s, with their emphasis on trade and financial liberalization, deregulation, privatization, foreign direct investment and reduction of State intervention, had not delivered the desired results in terms of growth and creating an appropriate macroeconomic setting for the expansion of productive capacity and improvement of productivity. Many believed that a more profound revision of development strategies was required. There was also an argument that trade liberalization alone was not sufficient to boost development.
Regarding investment, he said that, first and foremost, there was a need to harness domestic resources for investment in productive capacity and technological upgrading. However, domestic resources, particularly in least developed countries, needed to be complemented by external capital flows in order to raise investment. Foreign development investments offered the potential to utilize foreign savings and transfer knowledge and technology, upgrade human resources, boost entrepreneurship, introduce new production and management techniques and stimulate enterprise learning. While progress had been made, FDI flows to least developed countries and Africa continued to be low, and the positive trends in such flows to Latin America and Asia had turned into a decline in recent years.
He stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment in host countries for investment, technology and enterprise development, which required introduction of supportive policies, collection and dissemination of information related to investment opportunities, incentives and help to mitigate risk. Provision of ODA could enhance national savings and investment and act as an additional catalyst to attract FDI. Also important was the role of private firms.
Other important issues included debt alleviation and trade. He hoped that current discussion of debt would bring concrete solutions. Cooperation between UNCTAD and the Bretton Woods institutions had been enhanced by Assembly resolution 58/203 on the external debt crisis and development, which invited UNCTAD, the IMF and the World Bank, in cooperation with regional banks, commissions and multilateral institutions, to study the possibility of creating a consultative group on external debt management. The Trade and Development Board also reviewed on a regular basis the developments and issues in the post-Doha work programme of particular concern to developing countries. The last session of the Board had undertaken an assessment of the outcome of the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference.
Many developing countries continued to emphasize that a fair and substantial share of the benefits from global economic prosperity and the multilateral trading system had so far failed to accrue to them, notwithstanding the fact that they had undertaken significant liberalization unilaterally, regionally and multilaterally. The Doha Ministerial Conference had been a milestone in the evolution of the multilateral trading system, incorporating an explicit pledge to place development at the heart of the Doha Work Programme. The opportunity to evolve a development-oriented trade system must not be missed.
Concerning the post-Cancun phase, he said that there was a need for more work on the key issues with a sense of urgency and purpose. That would require political will from all parties, renewed cooperation and compromise, particularly on the issues on which there were divergent views. It was necessary to address the legitimate concerns of developing countries, as well as coherence and consistency between trade, financial, monetary and technological policies in support of development.
Trade negotiations and the implementation of results would involve considerable adjustment and social costs for developing countries, which should be provided with concrete assistance to build supply capacity and safety nets, cushion possible erosion of trade preferences and meet adjustment costs. Technical assistance and capacity-building were important in that respect, and UNCTAD was already working actively in that area. The IMF and World Bank had already launched an initiative to support adjustment by developing countries to address the impact of multilateral trade liberalization.
Reports by Round Table Chairs
One of the Chairmen of Round Table A on the impact of private investment and trade-related issues on financing and development, RUBENS RICUPERO, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said that a very lively interactive debate had taken place, with a balanced representation of representatives of governments, civil society, international organizations, NGOs and other players. Speakers had presented their national experiences, and constructive suggestions had been made on further implementation of important international goals.
He went on to say that one of the points that had come out strongly in the debate was that higher sustainable growth was one of the prerequisites of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. That required higher investment, which, in turn, required higher savings and efficient utilization of the private sector. Examples had been provided on how to create a favourable environment for that. The importance of the contribution of women had been emphasized, as well as the role of microcredit and the need to create efficient domestic capital markets.
It had been said that foreign investment could supplement national savings, but it was up to the governments to create a proper infrastructure and establish a legislative framework in support of the business sector. Social responsibility and accountability were of great importance. There had been much input on trade -- one of the main instruments of resource mobilization. Many speakers also highlighted the fact that defining exactly what the development content should be remained a challenge. A further challenge was agriculture.
There was general agreement that developing countries could contribute through improved South-South cooperation, he continued. Regional organizations also had an important role to play. There was good emphasis on a recent IMF decision to create a trade-integration mechanism, which was welcomed as an imaginative initiative. Commodities like coffee and sugar were still suffering from significant losses in prices, and there was discussion about means of improving profits from commodities.
There were high hopes for the upcoming UNCTAD XI, he continued, which was expected to address issues of great importance for developing countries. Many measures recommended required a certain level of development to be implemented. There was much emphasis on the need for continued and enhanced ODA to create the necessary prerequisites in that respect, particularly in least developed countries and other poor nations.
Reporting on Round Table B, which had also focused on trade- and investment-related issues, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Pakistan, SHAUKAT AZIZ, said that the group had realized that private investment and development were major contributors to the efforts to reduce poverty and reach Millennium Development Goals. Those Goals were under certain pressure, for progress was not at the level that was required. While there was some progress, it was also said that ODA levels needed to increase.
Both the governments and the private sector had an important role to play, he continued. Macroeconomic stability, structural reforms, peace and stability and proper infrastructure were needed to achieve the Goals. Emphasized in the discussion was the role of the private sector. There was also a discussion on transparency and the fight against such phenomena as corruption and money-laundering. Companies needed to show good corporate governance and social responsibility, so that host countries were encouraged to give a greater role to the private sector.
The general feeling of the participants in the debate was that market access was needed to achieve the economic goals and reduce poverty, develop peoples prospects and increase their income, he said. Several participants felt that it was trade -- not aid -- that would allow the world to reach its true potential. Also addressed in the debate were the needs of such vulnerable countries as least developed countries, commodity-dependent economies and small island developing States. Donors needed to actively pursue capacity-building policies to allow developing countries to grow. Developed countries knowledge and technology had an important role to play.
HILDE F. JOHNSON, Minister of International Development of Norway, reporting on a round table with as theme Role of multilateral institutions in reaching the Millennium Development Goals, which she co-chaired with Yahya Alyahya, Dean of the Board of the World Bank, said a very good introduction had been given by the Executive Director of the IMF.
She said one topic of the discussion had been coordination and coherence, focusing on insufficient coordination of activities of, and lack of division of labour between, different institutions. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) could have a role in solving the lack of coherence. Coherence started at home, it had been said, and if it did not happen nationally, it would not happen at multilateral institutions. National implementation, mainly through Poverty Reduction Strategy Programmes (PRSPs), was a second focus of the discussion. Those were seen as a useful tool, but must be refined. There was also a lack of linkage between PRSPs and the Millennium Development Goals. Another issue of discussion was the adaptation of Millennium Goals to country conditions.
Another focus of the discussion was ensuring sufficient financing of efforts to reach the Millennium Goals. Developing countries had focused on the need to use existing resources more efficiently. Several developing countries had underlined the importance of their own ability to allocate resources in a more efficient manner. The need for additional financing resources had been underlined, as the 0.7 per cent ODA commitment, even if fulfilled, would not give adequate resources to achieve the Goals. Different kinds of global taxation methods had been mentioned in that regard, as well as debt-cancellation had also been mentioned. There was a need to improve monitoring and assessment. The Global Monitoring Report of the World Bank was an important tool in that regard, but needed improvement. The importance of dissemination was underlined by several speakers. Some donors indicated they would report on deliverables of ODA in a goal-aid context. Accountability of all was crucial in order to move forward.
ANASTAS ANJELI, Minister of the Economy of Albania, reporting on a round table with as theme Debt sustainability and debt relief, which was co-chaired by Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said participants had been informed of the 2004 spring meeting of the Bretton Woods institutions. The importance of coherence in debt relief had been emphasized. The HIPC Debt Initiative had also been addressed, including a mechanism to provide an additional debt relief for countries that continued to have a debt problem after the Initiative had run its course. The question of how much relief a country needed to achieve a sustainable debt level had also been addressed. Some had remarked that export growth predictions were based on optimistic estimates by the IMF.
He said the prevailing sentiments of the round table included the notion that debt sustainability was not an end in itself, but a prerequisite for growth. Follow-up of Monterrey should focus on growth. There was also a need for a comprehensive financial crisis prevention framework. Attention should be paid to the role of the private sector in developing countries. It was essential to enhance transparency in debt relief, and restructuring should be addressed in a forum that was not solely dominated by creditors.
Reporting on the outcome of Round Table E on debt sustainability and debt relief, its co-Chair WILLY KIEKENS, Senior Executive Director of the IMF, said there had been a very interesting discussion. Among clear conclusions reached in the debate was the fact that debt burden was very detrimental to growth and an impediment for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. A country with excessive debt could not use its fiscal resources in a most productive manner. Debt was also a major impediment for investment and access to credit. Debt relief for countries in need was of utmost importance.
It was generally agreed that HIPC Debt Initiative played a very important role in that regard. There was unanimous support for looking for ways to allow all countries that had not been able to benefit from debt relief to benefit from it in the near future. For that reason, many supported delaying the sunset clause of the HIPC. There was a strong call on all creditors to live up to their commitments in respect of the Initiative.
Now, it was necessary to ensure debt sustainability in the future, and new initiatives of the IMF and the World Bank were discussed, he continued. It was recommended that new methodology be transparent and be used in a flexible way, tailored to the needs of individual countries.
The debt sustainability assessments should take into account the imperative to reach the Millennium Goals, especially poverty-reduction objectives and other objectives related to social development. In that regard, it was suggested that several social indicators used to measure achievement of those objectives should be included in the new debt sustainability framework.
When a country reached the limits of what it could prudently borrow, it should refrain from contracting more debt, and the donor community should consider giving adequate financing on grant terms, not as loans, he said. The new debt sustainability framework was a work in progress that would be further refined with experience. It was not a framework for setting borrowing caps, but promoting adequate financing on appropriate terms, as well as protecting against external shocks.
Preserving debt sustainability depended on growth and policies to achieve its high levels, he added. Reforms to attract investment and diversification of exports were among the measures discussed. When a country got into repayment difficulties, a fine balance was needed between restoring growth potential and a critical need to regain access to credit markets.
Regarding Round Table C -- devoted to the role of multilateral institutions -- its co-Chair, BENJAMIN RADAVIDSON ANDRIAMPARANY, Minister of Economy, Finances and budget of Madagascar, said that the United Nations and UNDP should act together with Bretton Woods institutions and WTO regarding the Millennium Development Goals. Many speakers had stressed the importance of identification at the local level and learning lessons from experience. Innovative sources of financing needed to be sought. Links between finances, transparency and reforms had been emphasized. National efforts were most successful when development became a true national priority. Country circumstances needed to be taken into account. The issue of country ownership in development efforts had been reaffirmed.
Among the issues discussed, he listed equitable trade, enhanced governance and increased participation of all stakeholders, as well as the need to monitor progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Goals. To improve the developing countries ability to report on the implementation of the Goals, the need to support their statistical potential had been suggested. Also discussed had been the efforts to harmonize various players efforts and increasing importance of the private sector in development. Concerns had been expressed about the developed countries scorecards, especially in the areas of trade facilitation and ODA. The issue of voice and participation of developing countries in international decision-making had been raised in the debate.
Statements by Civil Society Representatives
MARTIN KHOR, Third World Network, speaking on behalf of the NGO community, said Monterrey had created a considerable momentum and hoped that there would be a coherent policy framework to tackle development. Two years later, that political momentum had largely eroded. The process of Monterrey had not met expectations. The Monterrey process had four Cs, he said, namely, coherence, coordination, cooperation and context. Of the four Cs, context was the most important. One should cohere, coordinate and cooperate in line with the right principles and actions. The NGOs stressed another C: capacity, namely, the capacity to tackle so many of the highlighted issues.
The one-day event, however important it might be, was insufficient to be a forum to effect actual outcomes. It must be supplemented by actions and mechanisms in between the annual sessions. To begin with, the spring session should be extended by two to three days. Task forces should be created on the various issues. The intergovernmental process had to be strengthened, and a strong intergovernmental process was needed. There was also a need to strengthen the United Nations secretariat if the Organization was to take leadership role, as well as a need to strengthen the role of civil society and all stakeholders in the process. Financing of development was still an orphan in search of parents to keep the issue alive.
He said efforts must be tripled to reach the outcome of development that empowered people, reduced inequality and brought about development. Development required sustainability and enough financial resources. Results were disappointing because of problems such as debt, low-commodity prices, and problems in trade and intellectual property rights. It was important that there be debt cancellation for the poorest countries. Partial debt release for other countries, including middle-income countries was also necessary. Debt sustainability needed to be linked to the financial needs of a particular country. Contents and effects of loan conditionality had also to be reconsidered.
As for the impasse in the WTO, he called for a reform of the Agricultural Agreement, and for elimination of subsidies in the North and a solution to the problem of commodity prices. There was a need to move from the one-side-fits-all policies to the tailored policies of each country. The democratic deficit in the global institutions needed to be bridged. Also bridged must be the divide between rich and poor, governments and NGOs and North and South.
PAUL UNDERWOOD of the Business Council for the United Nations, said that private sector and civil society organizations had been involved in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus from the beginning. The themes of todays discussion were timely and important. Sharing the results of a recent experts meeting, he said that financing infrastructure projects had been the focus of discussion there. Promising approaches towards risk management included the use of liquidity, low currency guarantees and the use of international arbitration. Areas identified as those in need of improvement included the lack of reliable information on business environments and the need to provide independent expert assessments of risk. It was necessary to include the private sector from the outset of international development projects. It was also important to work together and be in constant consultations at all levels.
Exchange of Views
The Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), PATRICE ROBINEAU, presented a statement on behalf of the regional commissions. He listed consistency of the global approach when dealing with development challenges of various countries among the main administrative challenges, saying it was important to design a mix of effective policies to achieve development and work out a coherent approach to development policies. As a permanent reference, it was necessary to keep in mind the broad commitments made by international partners, including the need to implement counter-cyclical policies to foster growth, improve of governance and achieve poverty reduction.
He also stressed the need for regular monitoring, saying that mutual commitments required mutual accountability. There was also a need for policy dialogue. The United Nations provided a wide forum for the multilateral policy dialogue, which needed to take into account not only the status of achievement, but also the level of success of individual policies and programmes. The role of the regional level within the United Nations should be also emphasized, and that was being done in the regional commissions. It was also necessary to place social development on a sustained path. Macroeconomic policies for sustained growth were key to avoiding risk of persistent structural poverty.
SICHAN SIV (United States) said support for domestic efforts to meet internationally agreed development goals required that international organization complement one another, not compete with each other. The private sector was at the heart of the Monterrey Consensus. The private sector was the engine of sustainable economic growth, and growth was the fastest way to alleviate poverty and achieve the internationally agreed development goals. The primary role of governments was creating an enabling environment for growth and development, including measures regarding education and savings and to improve local governance -- including anti-corruption measures -- to reduce business costs and trade barriers. Developing countries should take steps to improve their investment climate in order to attract foreign investments.
Regarding trade, he said the Doha Development Agenda should be gotten back on track, as benefits from reducing trade barriers had the potential to far outweigh those from ODA. For Doha to succeed, all parties must come to the table prepared to be flexible. Developing countries also needed to open their markets to each other. Some 70 per cent of duties developing countries paid were to other developing countries. His country supported a strong role for developing countries and emerging market countries in the international financial system. The international community should support HIPC in their efforts to reach their completion point. Poor policy environments, rather than lack of funds, were the primary obstacles to meeting the internationally agreed goals in a number of countries, including some of the poorest.
At the international level, there was a need to focus on outcomes rather than inputs. One must concentrate on effective use of all resources, and on measuring the results of efforts, he said. His country did not support new international mechanisms such as the International Financing Facility (IFF) or global taxation schemes. The IFF would not work within his countrys budget system. He also could not support proposals for new sources of finance that added transactions costs, failed to link aid to performance and good governance, and undercut the incentive to reform. There was a need to unlock the trillions of dollars in current and potential development resources that existed in the developing world and put them to work.
Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, Brazils representative stressed that developing countries placed great emphasis on the role of multilateral players in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Most of the countries of the Group had embraced the agenda of sound economic policies, with significant fiscal adjustment programmes and rationalization of public expenditures, complemented by structural reforms. Despite limited progress in multilateral trade negotiations, the region was today more open to international trade flows than 10 years ago. Nonetheless, most of the countries had experienced a frustrating growth performance, increasing unemployment and in many cases, a deterioration in income distribution with severe consequences in terms of poverty and social unrest.
In a series of meetings since last year, members of the Group had addressed the challenge of how to maintain sound fiscal policies without undermining the capacity of the private sector to foster private investment and provide adequate economic and social infrastructure to attract the private sector. She said the focus of attention was also on the mechanisms to better implement anti-cyclical policies that would protect the level of income and employment in the face of economic fluctuations.
Her second point, made in her national capacity, was on the importance of new sources of financing in implementing the Millennium Goals. Since his first day in office, President Lula had reiterated his determination to contribute to hunger and poverty eradication. Last January, the Presidents of Brazil, France and Chile had issued an action programme calling for political will and creativity to identify innovative sources of financing for poverty eradication. A technical group had been created to pursue the study and make recommendations on innovative sources of financing, including the taxation on certain international transactions and arms sales.
The recommendations of the group would be discussed at a 20 September meeting in New York, on the eve of the opening session of the General Assembly, he said. It was Brazils expectation that the intergovernmental debate that President Lula was proposing would not only mobilize political will, but also signify a stepping stone in reaching a consensus on the need for additional financial resources for development. Ideally, world leaders at the meeting would identify a short list of viable innovative financing mechanisms, such as, for example, the IFF. On the basis of an agreed road map and a thematic agenda, a core group of countries would follow up the work and make specific proposals on the mechanisms to generate additional resources.
MOHAMED FADHEL AYARI (Tunisia) called, among other things, for better synchronization between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions and highlighted the need to develop indicators to measure progress. He said that during the October 2003 high-level dialogue, the World Bank had stated that a number of African countries were being well governed, and yet aid had not been forthcoming. Not enough had been said of the problems of middle-income countries. It was urgent to take their debt burden into consideration, and effective international measures were needed to make the debt burden sustainable.
He said there was no reason to exclude middle-income countries from debt relief, as those countries had a tremendous burden of debt, and met their debt obligations. The more they paid, the worse the debt became. Many countries had to trade away State enterprises, funded by outside finances, to meet debt obligations.
He supported the role of the private sector and the creation of the Private Sector and Development Committee. New sources of financing for developing countries had to be found, as ODA, despite a certain small increase, had not reached the desired level. In Johannesburg, the World Solidarity Fund had been created to help in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. That Fund was characterized by the fact that not only governments, but also institutions and individuals contributed to it. He urged for more contributions to that Fund.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) stressed the importance of civil society participation and recalled that constraints and the level of indebtedness, the limits on trade and the subsidies had been among the issues discussed today. The need to find innovative financing mechanisms had been stressed among the priorities. He believed that it was necessary to remember the need for a new financial architecture, based on the integration of the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. That could help to create a better future for the nations of the world.
D.C. GUPTA (India) said that major initiatives had been taken by the United Nations for the follow-up to the Monterrey. The theme of todays discussion had provided participants in the event with an opportunity to evaluate the implementation of the Consensus. Coherence required sustainable use of resources at all levels. Complete policy coherence was neither theoretically conceivable, nor practically possible. It was necessary to assess not only the policies, but also the procedures.
Despite all the commitments, he continued, transfer of resources to developing countries required much to be desired. How far had trade and market access issues contributed to that? Official development assistance continued to be at a level far below the projections. The implementation of the Monterrey commitments required new resolve. ODA commitments needed to be predictable and long term -- up to 2015 and beyond. For assistance to be effective, it needed to be aligned to countries policies and conditions. It was also necessary to ensure a fair and balanced outcome of the Doha negotiations.
He said that there had been little progress in giving greater voice to developing countries in the international decision-making process, and it was extremely important to address that issue. The United Nations was best placed to provide political guidance in that area.
CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Rio Group, said he fully supported the Monterrey Consensus and believed that the private sector had a primary part to play in combating poverty. He also agreed with statements that corruption had played a decisive role in preventing developing countries from overcoming poverty. Some countries, such as Argentina, carried the burden of an enormous debt, must find additional financial mechanisms to repay debt, and market access for agricultural exports.
He said in the 1980s and 1990s, indebtedness grew as some governments had given priorities to short-term results. However, the international creditors were those that had most actively applauded the economic policies that his and other countries were then applying. In that context, the increase in external debt had not been properly followed by developed countries, as the majority continued to close their doors to agricultural imports. Countries such as Argentina did not need charity from outside, but needed to be able to trade on the same terms as those granted to industrial products that entered Argentinas markets.
MARCO BALAREZO (Peru), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Rio Group, said there was a need to find ways to promote public and private investment. He appealed for innovative financial mechanisms to enhance investments in order to create higher growth. Sustainability, poverty reduction and growth were linked to high rates of investments and savings.
In his closing statement, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, JOSE ANTONIO OCAMPO, thanked the participants of the debate and said that preparations for todays event had been carried out through joint efforts of the international community, civil society and the private sector. Meetings had taken place between various country representatives and representatives of the Bretton Woods institutions and international agencies.
Speaking to the Development Committee in Washington yesterday, he had stressed the importance of joint follow-up concerning to the Millennium Development Goals and the Monterrey Consensus. He looked forward to an increased and closer collaboration in the future, particularly in the preparation for the follow-up to the Millennium Goals next year, the next high-level dialogue in the Assembly on the financing for development and, of course, the next high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council next spring.
The President of ECOSOC, Ms. RASI, said the round tables had provided a lively and well informed discussion of key policy issues from different perspectives. A full summary of todays discussion would be provided to Member States before ECOSOCs summer session.
She said: It is now up to us to turn todays discussion in meaningful action, as todays theme continued to be at the heart of the Councils work. The round-table discussions, in which civil society representatives had joined, were the core of todays meeting. They were a good mechanism to highlight policy concerns of different stakeholders and facilitated dialogue with governments in a more relaxed atmosphere. She hoped the participants would take the contents of the dialogues home and would inform their institutions.
We are here to try to best use the United Nations to spread development to all corners of the world and roll back poverty, indeed to eradicate it, she said in conclusion.
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