Press Releases

    23 April 2002


    NEW YORK, 22 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the address of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the High-Level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions in New York on 22 April:

    It is my great pleasure to welcome you once again to the United Nations. It is especially gratifying to address you so soon after the International Conference on Financing for Development.

    Monterrey was a real achievement. It has given new and timely life to the noble quest of international cooperation for development. And it was the culmination of wide-ranging efforts to put development at the core of the international agenda. I congratulate you for your part in making this progress possible.

    But, let us be clear: Monterrey was not an end in itself. Our challenge now is to maintain the positive spirit that led to the Monterrey Consensus, and translate it into real and meaningful implementation. That Consensus has enormous potential to bring about significant, overdue change.

    Where once we spoke about conditionality, the Monterrey Consensus is based on partnership, with shared responsibilities and mutual accountability. Where once we debated over competing visions of development and how to measure it, we now have a common platform in the Millennium Development Goals, which we will be striving to achieve and monitoring together each year.

    Where once ministers of finance, trade and development often pursued their work quite separately, today we understand the need for coherence and collaboration, which can reinforce each other’s work and make it more effective. And where once we were mired in misconceptions about official development assistance, today we see clearly that ODA can work in the right circumstances, and the Consensus is firm in its call for more and better ODA.

    Today we also recognize, more than ever before, the need for good governance, sound macroeconomic policies, debt relief and access to markets and foreign investment. We understand the imperative of fighting corruption and equitable burden-sharing in times of financial crisis. And we realize that developing countries must have a greater voice in economic decision-making, and that the global monetary, financial and trading systems must work in better tandem.

    This meeting is well-timed to sustain this momentum. Our discussions over the past several years have proven very useful in ensuring that our institutions understand each other and work better together. Now, in the follow-up to Monterrey, this meeting has been given the specific task of addressing issues of coherence, coordination and cooperation. I hope you will use today’s meeting to explore how best we can address this task and build on the Monterrey experience. We must continue the inclusive approach that has seen the participation of different ministries and all stakeholders. And we must take care not to duplicate processes that are already taking place elsewhere. For my part, I will ensure that the requests addressed to me in the Monterrey Consensus are carried out fully and in a timely fashion. And I will do all I can to ensure that our organizations "stay on the same page" -- for example in our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

    One of the first major tasks we face is to ensure the success of the Johannesburg Summit, which is only four months away. Last year’s agreement in Doha has offered the prospect of a true "development round" of trade negotiations, and therefore of a global market that is fair and that gives men and women in the developing world a chance to trade their way out of poverty. Monterrey offers the promise that developing countries will be able to seize such an opportunity by mobilizing the resources that are so desperately needed for development. Johannesburg must put a crucial piece of the puzzle into place by offering the prospect of sustainability -- development that makes a difference not only today, but over the long term.

    The world economy is slowly recovering from its worst performance in a decade. Although the recovery started sooner than previously expected, the United Nations expects the global economy to grow only by around 2 per cent in 2002, with momentum pushing global economic growth to above 3 per cent in 2003.

    Nevertheless, many questions remain regarding the strength of the recovery, its breadth across economies and sectors, and its sustainability. Growth prospects of many developing countries remain constrained by the slow recovery of the developed countries, lacklustre flows of private capital and by declining prices for non-oil exports.

    The need for sustainable, equitable development, in rich and poor countries alike, should be clear to all of us. But let us also devote our energies to taming development’s worst enemy -- armed conflict, which can extinguish, in days or even hours, years of work to reduce poverty.

    We have a common vision, set out in the Millennium Declaration and now in the Monterrey Consensus. I hope that the unprecedented level of collaboration between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization will continue, so that our institutions can respond effectively to the new responsibilities that have been placed upon us.

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