Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spare Vulnerable Countries Onerous Aid Conditions, "Burdensome' External Debt, Secretary-General Urges in Remarks to Dialogue on Financing for Develop

( - Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development in New York today, 23 March:

I am pleased to address this high-level meeting on Financing for Development.

Before I begin, I would like to welcome the presence of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Tajikistan, Mr. Oqil Oqilov.

As we meet, the world economy shows signs of recovery, yet growth remains fragile. Job losses persist. Human costs are high in all regions. Despite many challenges, donor countries must sustain official development assistance levels and ensure their own recovery efforts do not burden others. At the same time, many developing countries will need additional assistance to stimulate their economies and expand social protection for those worst affected.

International institutions have a key role to play. Better access to financing can help relieve the pain of economic adjustment. I welcome the efforts of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] to improve its lending framework and the support from G-20 leaders to expand IMF lending capacity. However, much more needs to be done. Vulnerable countries must not be hampered by onerous conditions or burdensome external debt.

Last June, the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis emphasized that short-term responses to the crisis must be in harmony with longer-term development goals. This is a major thrust of the nine joint crisis initiatives established by the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination, known as the CEB. These measures include immediate steps to address the impact of the economic downturn, as well as longer-term measures to generate decent work and lead to more equitable and sustainable development.

In June, we will introduce a prototype of the Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System, and we are working to strengthen coordination between our United Nations country teams and the Bretton Woods institutions. Member State support for these efforts is crucial.

We continue to face immense development challenges. The Millennium Development Goals are at the top of our agenda. The MDG Summit this September will decide on a plan of action to meet the 2015 deadline. My report, Keeping the Promise, provides a forward-looking review to accelerate progress in the next five years.

We know it is possible ‑‑ the world has seen MDG successes in numerous countries, including some of the poorest. We also know what it takes: the right policies, adequate investment and international support.

The fundamental rethinking triggered by the economic and financial crisis provides the international community with a rare opportunity for reform ‑‑ reform that can ensure more stable growth, job creation and sustainable development. It requires adequate policy space for developing countries, so they can undertake the primary responsibility for their own development. The Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration on Financing for Development are central.

A true partnership for development can only be achieved through a combination of investment, trade, aid, debt relief and global economic governance reforms. The international community must deliver on the development objectives of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

We need to reform the international financial system and architecture. We need better mechanisms to coordinate economic policy with representative, accountable and equitable governance. I welcome the ongoing reforms of the Bretton Woods institutions to ensure legitimacy and increased effectiveness. These reforms should be ambitious and timely. And they should significantly enhance the voice and participation of developing countries.

Investment spending must support sustainable development. Many developing countries will need considerable external assistance in this regard, as part of the Global Green New Deal. We must also continue to press for a binding international agreement on climate change. The Copenhagen Accord called for new and additional predictable resources over the next decade.

I have established a High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing to develop proposals on how to scale up long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. It will deliver its recommendations before the next Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Mexico in December.

The United Nations has an important role to play in ensuring a robust and inclusive intergovernmental process to realize international commitments on financing for development and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

I trust this biennial High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly will provide a strong impetus in all areas of this vital task.

I wish you a productive meeting.

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