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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
by
 
Hon. RALPH G. RECTO
Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning
at the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development
to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus
Doha, Qatar, 30 November 2008

 

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Philippine government, I am honored to participate in this important review conference on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. Allow me at the outset to express my delegation’s gratitude for the hospitality of the Government and people of Qatar.

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement of the Chair of the Group of 77 and China following the Secretary General’s extensive report on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, the Philippines is confident that our commitment to attain the internationally agreed development goals by 2015 will be achieved.

Review of Philippine Experience

Midway to the MDGs’ target of 2015, the Philippines has shown its capacity to be a responsible development partner. It undertook painful revenue enhancing measures, that provided additional domestic resources and invested in infrastructure and basic social services. The Philippines also harnessed the remittances from overseas workers thereby increasing domestic resources needd for development. It must be emphasized that private flows must not replace ODA.

Before the financial crisis erupted, the Philippines placed its economic house in order. It improved its macroeconomic fundamentals and benefited from years of sustained economic growth. To minimize the effects of the financial crisis, the Philippines has prepared a contingency plan that provides assistance to its vulnerable sectors: a) Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), b) workers in export-oriented enterprises, c) women, d) children and e) disabled. Today, it is in a better position to cope with the global financial crisis.

Amidst the back-drop of global challenges,, food, energy and financial crisis as well as climate change, we urge the international community to (1) uphold the principles of the Paris Declaration that would untie aid, (2) review the concept of debt sustainability, (3) support South-South Cooperation in partnership with emerging economies and developed countries, and (4) increase ODA commitment to developing countries particularly the parties to the UN Convention against Corruption.

Assessment of Global Implementation

Today, we have fallen short of the goals of Monterrey. In the area of official development assistance, the overall amount of ODA from OECD countries has diminished and that the nominal increase in ODA flows represents resources targeted at debt relief.

What is more disturbing, especially in the context of the food crisis, is that ODA in agriculture declined from 18% in 1979 to 3.4% in 2006. Thus, hunger count today is at 850 million people, sooner than later an additional 100 million will join the ranks of the poor. The longer-term prospects in alleviating hunger are daunting as investments of some US$15-20 billion a year will be needed to ensure the appropriate global food supply by the year 2030.

It must be noted that in the area of external debt, a major concern lies in debt sustainability, especially when we take into account the relationship between existing debt sustainability criteria and financing MDG implementation. It is, therefore, important to ensure that debt alleviation benefits all developing countries in need, and that debt sustainability criteria take into account MDG implementation. Thus, the Philippines continues to advocate for a debt to MDG swap arrangement.

In the area of investment, progress is attributed mainly to the remarkable increase in South-South investments which increased from US$ 2 billion in 1985 to US$ 60 billion in 2004 contributing 25% of all FDI to many least developed countries.

On trade, we are at an important crossroad. The Doha Round remains to be concluded, and it is essential that its outcome should address the Round’s development promises. We remain committed to an open, rules-based multilateral trading system. For the Round to succeed, it must truly be a development round which not only opens up markets of interest for developed countries, but also permits a level playing field for developing countries.

In addition, the other relevant elements of the trade equation need to be addressed. Delivering on the international commitments on technology transfer is essential. Furthermore, it is imperative to provide an enabling environment that would attract infrastructure and human resources development and collectively strengthen social safety nets for vulnerable sectors. This high-level meeting here in Doha affords us the opportunity to complete the work begun at Monterrey to mark the beginning of a truly global and inclusive process to address the challenges we face in financing development.

Systemic Issues: the urgency of moving beyond Monterrey

Our biggest disappointment lies not in the lack of progress in the Doha Round, but in the lack of progress in implementing the Monterrey’s vision of an international economic architecture that provide an enabling environment for development. Reforms of the international financial institutions moved disturbingly slow after Monterrey. Calls to address systemic problems were unaddressed.

Mr. President,

In conclusion allow me to share some thoughts on the work which lies ahead. First, we must work together to strengthen the credibility of the multilateral economic institutions and restore confidence in the global economy. This can only be accomplished through a process of constructive and inclusive engagement. This is time for prudence and steady hand, and we must ensure that we work together to ensure that the collective interest will prevail. Second, there is a need for fundamental reforms of the global economic system. Third, we must preserve and strengthen the spirit of Monterrey by taking a holistic approach to development and engaging all stakeholders in development. And fourth, the substance of Monterrey must be reinvigorated and its follow-up enhanced.

Thank you.





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