15 April 2003

General Assembly President Says UN Meeting of Finance, Trade Institutions Offers Hope for More Profound Progress in Achieving Anti-Poverty Goals

NEW YORK, 14 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement by the President of the General Assembly, Jan Kavan (Czech Republic), to the special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization in New York on Monday, 14 April:

It is my great pleasure to join you at this important meeting. Building a community of cooperation which brings together the practitioners from finance, trade, development cooperation and foreign Affairs was at the heart of the success of Monterrey. Equally important is maintaining the spirit of cooperation which characterized the forging of the Monterrey Consensus by the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and a number of other stakeholders. Seeing the participants from the major specialized intergovernmental forums gathered here, gives hope for the accelerated implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and through it for a more profound progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

This meeting today constitutes a vital step in our efforts to stay engaged in the Monterrey follow-up process. We can all take stock of how far we have gone to implement the commitments of Monterrey, a year after, and pinpoint areas where we need to move faster or become more efficient and coherent.

The General Assembly has been dealing with the issue of how to ensure that the United Nations work at all levels supports the implementation of conference outcomes, the Monterrey Consensus being one of them. Over the past decade, numerous United Nations conferences and summits resulted in clarifying and setting development goals. Now, the United Nations must prove its effectiveness in mobilizing political will for their implementation. We have to do our utmost in supporting implementation at the country level. There is an urgent need to set up the most effective mechanism for monitoring and review of the progress. We also need to look at how to carry forward, in the United Nations work, the new approaches and spirit that emerged in the preparatory process for Monterrey and how to keep building the political will and momentum for action. In this regard, let me mention the General Assembly´s ad-hoc working group on the integrated follow up to the major conference that has been dealing with these issues. It is supposed that its work will result in concrete recommendations that could strengthen political engagement in the pursuit of development goals.

The General Assembly stressed the substantive links between today's meeting and the high-level dialogue in the General Assembly to be held at the end of October, which will serve as an intergovernmental focal point for the general follow up to Monterrey. The two-day high-level dialogue will consist of innovative plenary and informal meetings. Prior to the high-level dialogue, one day of informal hearings will be arranged with representatives of civil society and the business sector, to provide important inputs to the discussions to be held at the dialogue. The high-level dialogue itself will include a policy dialogue and interactive round tables with the participation of the relevant stakeholders. The policy dialogue will address the implementation of the results of the Monterrey Conference and the theme of coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development, and consider the collaborative tasks ahead. The round tables will discuss the regional dimensions of the implementation of the results of the Monterrey Conference, and the link between the progress in the implementation the commitments reached at Monterrey and the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, in particular those contained in the Millennium Declaration. I would urge high-level participation from all the stakeholders -- from ministers of finance, development cooperation and foreign affairs, from the executive heads of the institutional partners, from non-governmental organizations and from the private sector. The engagement of high-level representatives will ensure the continued political attention that is so important.

As envisaged by the Monterrey Consensus, the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council each plays an important role in making sure that we all stay engaged. Both bodies are working vigorously to do their part in a complementary manner. The discussions of today's meeting will be one of the crucial building blocks for the structure that is being created for the follow-up of Monterrey, the next stage of which will be in October during the fifty-eighth General Assembly.

I look forward to a productive and successful meeting.

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