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General Assembly opens high-level dialogue on cooperation for development

General Assembly opens high-level dialogue on cooperation for development

The United Nations General Assembly today opened a two-day high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership.

In his opening remarks, General Assembly President Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea said the meeting should offer a chance for countries to think creatively. "Without the pressure of having a negotiated outcome, the dialogue format will encourage all participants to explore solutions to the most vexing challenges that this Assembly will be addressing," he said. The President also called for the exchange to be open to input from academia, civil society and the private sector.

Discussions centred on the issue of responding to globalization by facilitating the integration of developing countries into the world economy and generating new resources to help those States achieve progress.

Also addressing the Assembly, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette called on participants to direct their attention to the pressing problem of poverty, which she called "one of the most urgent challenges facing the world community in the 21st century."

The Deputy Secretary-General also emphasized the need to create a level playing field for the developing world. "Developing countries must be given a fair chance to compete," she said, calling for developed States to open their markets.

Looking to the near future, she said the meeting of the World Trade Organization, to be held in Qatar in two months, should serve to launch a new "development round" of trade negotiations. "Such a new round should help to restore the momentum of open markets, while giving genuine priority to the concerns and interests of developing countries," she said.

Today's meeting comes as part of the follow-up to the Assembly's Agenda for Development, which was adopted in 1997. The Agenda called for holding a dialogue on emerging issues concerning international cooperation for development.

At the conclusion of the dialogue, the President is expected to produce a summary which should stimulate follow-up by the international community, while enriching and advancing the policy debate on development issues.