29 June 2005

European Union Has Key Role to Play in Furthering Development Process, Secretary-General Says in Remarks to EU Luncheon

NEW YORK, 28 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of today’s remarks by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the lunch hosted by the European Union, in conjunction with the General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development:

It is a pleasure to join you for this lunch, at which we are to focus on the Monterrey Consensus.

Indeed, much as we have talked about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the past two days, we also need to remember that the MDGs are part of a much wider development agenda.  Moreover, the MDGs take us only to 2015, and our horizon must go well beyond well beyond that.  Development is a continuous process.

The Monterrey Consensus helps us on both fronts.

It encompasses broader development issues such as growing inequality, globalization, trade-related matters, coherence between financial, trade, aid and debt policies, and other systemic questions.

It also focuses on the long term, for example, through its emphasis on human capital, which is any country’s most abundant domestic resource.

The European Union has a key role to play as we move ahead.  Europe already has much to be proud of.  You set the stage for the reversal of the long decline in official development assistance by announcing an increase just before Monterrey.  Again this year, in advance of the World Summit, you have announced another big increase and a timetable for reaching 0.7 per cent of gross national income.  Europe has also been in the forefront of efforts to improve the quality of aid, to boost aid to Africa, and, within the G-8, to take concerted action on debt relief.  This is just the kind of leadership we need to make the Summit a success.

But we need even you to go further.  The debt initiative is still incomplete.  The EU could also do more to fix the trading regime, by ensuring that goods from developing countries -– particularly in agriculture -– have wider access to European markets, and that they no longer have to compete on the world market against subsidized products.  Finally, the EU is well placed to increase the participation of developing countries in global economic and financial decision-making, by agreeing to changes at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

I hope you will not think that, in asking you for such steps, I am losing sight of the fact that every developing country, indeed every country, is responsible for its own progress and well-being.  That is a cardinal principle of development and of the Monterrey Consensus.

Developing countries agreed at Monterrey to promote good governance, to fight corruption, and take other steps conducive to development.

But it is equally true that many countries will not be able to achieve sustainable growth without assistance.  So developed countries have obligations, too.  They agreed at Monterrey to help developing countries build up their capacities and institutions, and to create a supportive international environment

That is why we are here -- to build the strong partnership for development that is itself the eighth Millennium Goal.

Thank you very much.

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