Address by His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa
at the International Conference on Financing For Development
Monterrey, Mexico 18th- 22nd March 2002
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Honourable Chairman, President Vicente Fox,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United
Nations, Distinguished Delegates:
This historic meeting in Monterrey is a declaration of hope to the
peoples of the world that the leadership of countries of the world
is committed to "eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic
growth and promote sustainable development as we advance to a fully
inclusive and equitable global economic system".
Our presence here signals unequivocally that we will act together
as a potent force for global change. We are here to break new
ground and to extend the frontiers of what is possible to attain
balanced global development.
The mission which brought us here started, in earnest, at the
Millennium Summit eighteen months ago where we stated that "We are
committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone
and to freeing the entire human race from want."
We have since been through the meeting of the World Trade
Organisation in Doha, which committed to a development trade round.
In Monterrey we must reach explicit commitments on the financing of
development. We must then proceed with even greater clarity of
purpose to Johannesburg in September this year to map out the
detail for sustainable development.
This gathering has been favoured with a consensus document. This
consensus must be accepted as a foundation on which we must build
We welcome the announcements made by both the European Union and
the United States of America in the past few days substantially to
increase the ODA commitments. We are greatly encouraged by the
discussions here in Monterrey between representatives of
governments and the private sector on the steps towards increased
investment flows. We accept the proposals developed in round-tables
here to improve on the coherence within countries and between the
multilateral organisations. But, we must urge that more be done,
If the world continues on the current trajectory, the combined
threats of underdevelopment, poverty, environmental degradation,
ill health and disease, and conflicts over natural resources will
undermine the prospects for political stability and prosperity
across the globe. It is this which creates the urgency for an
agreement on sustainable development.
But, to deliver on this agenda, we must return to the mandate of
this Summit, of mobilising sufficient resources for sustainable
On international trade, we must urge that the post-Doha
negotiations be treated with urgency. This must include the
provision of increased market access for products from developing
countries. We must call on the OECD countries to act on the more
than $360 billion of agricultural subsidies, which lock out imports
from developing countries.
On Official Development Assistance, we appeal for a greater focus
on the objective of defeating poverty and underdevelopment,
simplification of procedures and greater transparency in the
awarding of grants.
Perhaps it is appropriate to recall that the greatest tragedy of
ODA is that it peaked at 0.35% of GNP in 1990 and has been in
decline ever since. At a level of 0.23% of GNP currently, it is a
far cry from the committed 0.7%.
On External Indebtedness, we appeal for a drastic revision of the
terms and conditional ities applicable to the HIPC initiative.
Unless we can staunch the outflow of scarce capital from the
poorest countries, we will never enable the governments in poor
countries to marshal the resources to improve on the quality of
public services or to address the infrastructure deficits.
Of great importance, we must, all of us, commit to a partnership of
mutual accountability between North and South to effect the
necessary changes, as represented, for instance, by the New
Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD. The premise of this
partnership must be an unambiguous commitment to solving problems
together, in a spirit of joint responsibility among governments and
with the private sector and other organs of civil society.
At the same time, we must commit to improving the coherence between
the multilateral institutions, to encourage the leadership of these
institutions to undergo programmes of organisational
transformation, and to assure them of our unstinting support.
The world we live in has the capital, technology and the human
skills to end poverty and under-development. The world's poor need
this expression of hope, hope that we will take the correct
decisions to end their misery.
We must, here in Monterrey, agree to find the resources to end the
misery and degradation. At the Johannesburg World Summit for
Sustainable Development, we must then fill in the detail, and do so
in confidence, knowing that the plans will be fully financed in the
future. Our responsibility as leaders together is to confirm that
the trust of our peoples is well-founded. We cannot afford to fail.