Press Releases

    21 March 2002


    (Received from a UN Information Officer.)

    MONTERREY, 20 March -- The need for coherence in development policies at all levels was among the many issues stressed by speakers in Ministerial Round Table B1 held this morning as part of the International Conference on Financing for Development.

    Jan Kavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, who co-chaired the discussion, said achieving improved coherence was the key issue -- perhaps, indeed, the final objective of the Conference. He said the international community had already achieved agreement on the need to improve the situation -- still to be addressed was what new tools and approaches could be introduced. The issue at hand was to determine whether development strategies could be used to make development cooperation more beneficial to those who needed it.

    Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the other co-chair, said most of the components of development financing fell within the jurisdiction of the different organizations and governments participating in the Conference. The Conference could, therefore, help to increase the level of coherence among those parties.

    The round table, which took up the theme of coherence in development, involved United Nations Member States and institutional stakeholder participants, as well as representatives of the business sector and civil society.

    During the discussion, speakers also underlined the importance of rectifying disparities between agricultural subsidies by developed countries, on the one hand, and trade barriers erected against the export products of developing countries, on the other. Market access for the developing countries was deemed essential.

    Speakers also underscored the need to conceptualize the meaning of coherence and to recognize the differences between countries in terms of national values and approaches to development. Development issues should be taken on a case-by-case basis -- there should not be a one-size-fits-all policy. A speaker noted that least developed countries that lacked infrastructure and could not attract private investors needed official development assistance (ODA), not foreign direct investment (FDI).

    Speakers placed emphasis on the need to reduce the number of conditionalities placed on developing countries before aid delivery, while also emphasizing the importance of promoting good governance. In regard to the latter, a speaker pointed out that corruption involved both rich and poor countries, and that poor countries should not be the only ones monitored. One speaker, citing the case of the Enron Corporation, noted that more and more potential suppliers of FDI were paying close attention to good corporate citizenship.

    Policy implementation at the national level was key to the financing for development discussion, many speakers stressed. One speaker noted that "It all starts at home." Clear development plans with the participation of all involved stakeholders must be elaborated. Also stressed by some speakers this morning was the need for the inclusion of human rights, gender and environmental components in development policies and strategies.

    During the meeting, it was announced that the United States and China would co-sponsor a symposium on FDI in Shanghai later this year.

    Participating in the round table were:

    African States: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Togo.

    Asian States: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar, Viet Nam, Syria, Sri Lanka.

    Eastern European States: Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovenia.

    Latin American and Caribbean States: Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.

    Western European and Other States: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, United States.

    Institutional stakeholder participants: UNCTAD; World Bank; International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Trade Organization (WTO); European Commission; United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); World Food Programme (WFP); Financial Stability Forum.

    Business sector participants: AB Volvo; Calvert Funds; Business Council for the United Nations; Capital Markets Credit Society; Allied Zurich; Samuels Associates; State Street Global Investor Services Group.

    Civil society participants: African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice; Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development; Congregación de la Sagrada Familia; International Union for Land Value Tax; Network for African Women Economists; Women’s International Coalition for Economic Justice.

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