20 September 2001


NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the address by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette to participants in the High-Level Dialogue on Cooperation for Development:

I am honoured to join you at the opening of the high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership. The Assembly’s decision to convene this meeting, in spite of the tragic events of last week, is a clear indication of the importance that the international community attaches to this subject.

This dialogue is meant to advance our understanding of the potential, and the challenges, that globalization represents. It is also meant to illuminate the subject from a different perspective, one that stresses partnership and mutual benefit. And it provides an opportunity to review and make progress in the implementation of the conclusions of the Millennium Assembly, the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries and the recent substantive sessions of the Economic and Social Council.

In all those gatherings, extreme poverty was identified as one of the most urgent challenges facing the world community at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The paramount task of reducing poverty, to alleviate the suffering of so many of the world’s people, will be rendered even more difficult, by the current slowdown of economic growth. A primary objective of your dialogue, therefore, must be to find ways of ensuring that this task is pursued with an even stronger sense of commitment.

One of the first preoccupations of all governments, right now, must be to take concerted action to encourage a revival of global economic growth. When it comes, it is vital that that revival should be sustainable, and that growth is more equitably spread than in the past.

Developing countries must be given a fair chance to compete in the world marketplace. That will happen only when developed countries do more to open their markets, and when developing countries improve their capacity to produce and export goods and services at competitive prices. Many of them will need technical assistance to achieve this, but they also need to recognize and remove the barriers to free exchange and investment which still exist within the developing world.

In this context, it is more important than ever to seize the opportunity offered by the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Qatar, in two months’ time. This must be the occasion for States to implement fully the commitments they undertook in the Uruguay Round, and to launch a new round of trade negotiations, which I hope will deserve the name of "Development Round". Such a new Round should help to restore the momentum of open markets, while giving genuine priority to the concerns and interests of developing countries.

Two subjects -- public and private financing resources, and information and communication technologies -- have been selected for more detailed discussion today.

In this forum, you will be able to hear various ideas that have been put forward for financing development –- including those contained in the Report of the High-Level Panel appointed by the Secretary-General (the "Zedillo Report"). Now is the time for Member States to decide which of these ideas merit further consideration, in preparation for the International Conference on Financing for Development, which as you mentioned, Mr. President, will be held next March in Monterrey, Mexico.

Information and communications technologies are a central feature of this era, and a driving force in globalization. If developing countries are to compete in the new global market, a big effort is needed to improve their access to this more advanced form of infrastructure. We look especially to the United Nations ICT Task Force for recommendations on ways to bridge the global digital divide and foster digital opportunities for all. But this Dialogue, too, should contribute suggestions for practical and effective policies in this field.

Your discussions today offer an opportunity to exchange ideas not only between different States and regions of the world but also -– in round tables and informal panels -- between people of different experience and perspectives, since representatives of the private sector and academia will be taking part. The ideas you generate should be useful to the current session of the General Assembly, but also to the wider and longer-term global effort to promote development.

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