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    19 August 1999
    Kofi Annan Stresses Urgent Need to Develop Processes, Mechanisms and Policies
     To Better Link Developing Countries to Benefits of Globalization

     Underlines Important Role of UNCTAD X


    NEW YORK, 18 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Asian Countries' Ministerial Meeting of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, held on 11 and 12 August in preparation for next year's session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD X, which was delivered on his behalf in Beirut by the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Hazem El-Beblawi:

     Perhaps the single most important event of this decade for Asia is the economic crisis which has buffeted the region.  It holds lessons for us all.  The over-hasty liberalization of capital flows can leave economies prone to investor panic and nations vulnerable to social collapse.  In a highly interdependent global economy, it is no longer possible for any country to remain unaffected by the actions of their neighbours.  As we seek to avert future crises, we must recognize the need to strengthen the international financial system and to minimize the systemic risk associated with globalization, particularly in financial and capital markets.

     We cannot simply expect that the smooth operation of markets and the march of finance and industry on a global scale will create conditions from which all countries would benefit.  To assume so overlooks a simple but fundamental fact:  the twin processes of liberalization and globalization have sharply heightened the extent to which economic success depends on the rapid acquisition of skills, and on access to technology and world markets.  In such a global environment, the gap has actually widened between developed and developing countries.

     Thus the urgent task before us is to develop processes, mechanisms and policies which can better link developing countries to the benefits of globalization.  This is the challenge which UNCTAD X must address.

     The Asian Group of the Group of 77, which represents a large coalition of developing countries within the United Nations, will undoubtedly be instrumental in this effort.  You have already had a major impact in making UNCTAD a vital forum for pursuing the moral goals of fighting poverty, reducing inequality within and among nations, and bringing marginalized groups fully into the market economy.  It is my hope that UNCTAD X, as the first major United Nations conference on the development issues in the new millennium, will be able to guide us towards a new development paradigm that can reconcile the imperatives of growth, stability and equity.

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