UN conference could provide financing for development - Annan

UN conference could provide financing for development - Annan

An upcoming United Nations conference on fighting poverty offers the best chance to unlock the financial resources desperately needed for development, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

"If we succeed, I believe this conference really can help developing countries take advantage of the global market, and thereby make a real difference in the lives of poor people all over the world," Mr. Annan said in an opening address to the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on Financing for Development, scheduled for 18 to 22 March in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Conference must build on the momentum achieved in Doha at last year's World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting and pay particular attention to areas that will not be covered in those negotiations, but are of vital importance to developing countries, such as commodity prices, the Secretary-General stressed.

Monterrey must also mark a turning point in the history of Official Development Assistance (ODA) as well as gain a clear commitment from creditor countries to implement the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative “fully and promptly” to ensure that debt payments are really sustainable, Mr. Annan said.

The Conference must also agree on effective follow-up mechanisms, the Secretary-General said, to ensure that whatever it decides is actually done. “These mechanisms should build on what has been achieved in the preparatory process, in which the United Nations has been the centre of a strong coalition, bringing together all those who had a part to play – different ministries in both donor and developing countries, the private sector, civil society organisations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the World Trade Organization,” he said.

In related news, the Secretary-General announced that he has appointed Trevor Manuel, Minister of Finance of South Africa, and Michel Camdessus, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as Special Envoys to draw attention to and rally support for the Conference.