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Statement by Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, at the High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development on the theme: "The Monterrey Consensus: status of implementation and tasks ahead"
New York, 24 October 2007
At the outset, let me commend you for your leadership and vision you have provided to reinvigorate global partnership for development. We welcome that you have rightly placed the concerns of the poor and vulnerable countries, including in the financing for development, pursuit of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and addressing the impacts of climate change on top of your agenda for 62nd session of the General Assembly.
We appreciate the comprehensive reports of the Secretary General on the status of financing for development.
I wish to associate myself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Since the international community has expressed its firm commitment to achieving the MDGs, financing for development and attaining sustainable development, the development agenda has occupied a centre stage in the United Nations. But there have been mixed results in development since these compacts were agreed. While some developing countries have made good progress, many developing countries, particularly least developing countries, are lagging behind in their development. Their development is severely constrained by lack of sustainable financing, both domestically and internationally.
With the Monterrey Consensus in 2002, the international community demonstrated its commitment to fulfill the needs of the developing countries by investing in synergy and ensuring adequate and sustained financial resources for their development. As the report of the Secretary General notes, we have made only a modest progress and the implementation of these commitments and pledges is rather slow. We face the challenge of the rapid and sustainable growth. The benefits of development are yet to be distributed fairly.
We have to focus ourselves on addressing these shortcomings in the review conference to be held next year in Doha to follow up on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. The Delegation of Nepal stresses that the Doha conference should be utilized as an opportunity to learn from our experiences, take stock of the progress, seek innovative sources of financing, and accelerate the implementation of commitments so as to ensure the achievement of MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals.
The LDCs are still in the classical stage of underdevelopment, where they seriously lack capital formation and technological advancement resulting in the vicious trap of a low level of equilibrium. This is further compounded by the low level of productivity, paucity of physical and technological infrastructure. Together, a large majority of them continue to find themselves at the bottom of the development ladder, despite revolutionary changes in science and technology and unprecedented level of globalization. Downside of the globalization has been more prominent in the least developed countries, because of their high level of economic vulnerabilities. This we believe is a fundamental challenge of the global community. We must collectively deal with it in a spirit of partnership. We are all aware that the domestic efforts and domestic financing are crucial for sustainable development of any country, but we strongly feel that a high and sustained level of external financing will equally be indispensable for getting swiftly out of this crushing burden of poverty and underdevelopment. We have been starkly made aware by the current realities of the world; continuation of such a situation is not sustainable and is a threat to international peace and security. We cannot indefinitely have islands of abundance and opulence in the sea of deprivation and marginalization.
To top it all, their development efforts are further hit hard by climate change, environmental degradation, conflicts and humanitarian crises and natural disasters. Therefore, the financing for development in these countries has to remain on top of the agenda of the international community and all development stakeholders.
Innovative ways and mechanisms must be explored and broadened to bolster development collaboration. My delegation stresses on the need for an inclusive and equitable international economic and development framework which is responsive to the needs and concerns of the large section of the international community if we are to ensure the relevance of the global debate. We must promote broad-based economic growth and sustainable development at the international level with vigor and determination to root out the dehumanizing poverty from this world.
As we are halfway towards achieving the MDGs, it has become clear that many targets will be difficult to meet, especially in the least developed countries. While securing the gains that we have made in some areas, we need a coherent and focused attention towards effectively mobilizing domestic and international resources for strengthening capacity for achieving those goals, in which we lag behind. It would require enhanced investment in improving physical and economic infrastructure as well as in developing technological base in developing countries, particularly the least developed countries in order to boost productivity, foster entrepreneurship, attract private and foreign direct investment, and encourage competitiveness.
Liberating resources for development and productive capacity building is critical to strengthening development finance. It is a matter of concern that unsustainable debt burden has had a negative impact on sustained growth in many poor countries. Finding a durable solution to debt problems and increasing additional resources for development should be the priorities of the international community. We are alarmed at the reduction in real term the total development assistance, which was also highlighted by the World Bank, IMF, and UNCTAD. When we talk about financing for development, we need to focus ourselves on scaling up development aid. Predictability and accessibility are the key to development.
We call for the full implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs. While we welcome those development partners for their commitment, especially meeting the targets in order to make concrete efforts to support national development efforts, we urge the developed countries to make the real contribution by meeting the official development assistance target of 0.20 percent of gross national product (GNP) to the LDCs.
Similarly, we need a holistic approach to deal with the myriad of problems faced by the LDCs. When we all agree that trade could be an engine of growth, we must ensure the development dimension of the Doha round of talks by enhancing the level of effective market access for their products, removal of barriers to trade, productive capacity development through effective operationalisation of aid-for-trade initiative and augmentation and swift disbursement of resources for Integrated framework program of support for the LDCs. Without concerted efforts to mitigate the impact of global liberalization, there is a clear danger of mass unemployment and deindustrialization especially in the least developed countries.
Progress in this respect therefore must ensure inclusive participation and beneficial integration of the poorest countries into the global economy. This could enable us to create new opportunities for employment, stimulate private-sector led growth, and boost productive investment for development, leading towards a better world to live in for all of us.
We hardly need to emphasize the role of international financial institutions, particularly the Bretton Woods institutions in financing for development. These institutions should develop coherent, consistent and concerted efforts to support the implementation of national development strategies and national economic restructuring process. Predictable flow of resources and efficient technical cooperation responsive to national needs and priorities should be ensured. We should not be oblivious to the fact that the relevance and legitimacy of international economic governance can only be ensured with the meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries in the decision-making and implementation process of development cooperation.
Nepal is committed to forging result-oriented partnership with the development partners. As we look towards the post-conflict reconstruction phase, we look forward to an enhanced level of support, understanding, and cooperation from our development partners to foster economic revival so that conflict and marginalization becomes a thing of the past.
In conclusion, sustainable financing for development is attainable if we act in concert and with seriousness and sincerity. Today’s world has abundance of resources, technology and knowledge that can easily meet the development needs of all the countries. It is only a matter of synchronizing the requirement and availability. There is a need for a comprehensive and consolidated approach. Investment in development of world’s poorest countries should be viewed as an investment in the long-term peace and security of the entire world. We look forward to a meaningful outcome of the Doha Conference in achieving a comprehensive and concerted strategy and commitment for financing for development.
I thank you, Mr. President.