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Key UN forum set to unlock ‘crucial resources’ needed to boost development goals

Key UN forum set to unlock ‘crucial resources’ needed to boost development goals

Countries are set to gather next week in Monterrey, Mexico, for what United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called “the best chance in years” to unlock crucial resources needed to boost economic growth and fulfill internationally agreed development goals.

Participants of the first International Conference on Financing for Development from18 to 22 March will try to promote global cooperation in the key areas of mobilizing domestic resources, increasing private international investment and strengthening official development assistance (ODA). They will also push for increasing market access and ensuring fair trade, solving the debt burden, and improving the coherence of global and regional financial structures and promoting fair representation of developing countries in worldwide decision-making.

Following intensive talks, countries reached agreement earlier this year on a wide range of issues contained in the “Monterrey Consensus,” the outcome document to be adopted at the conclusion of the Conference. Member States resolved in that text to address the challenges of financing for development around the world, particularly in developing countries, with the goal of eradicating poverty, achieving sustained economic growth and promoting sustainable development as they advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system.

As for the resource implications of reaching the development goals, a high-level panel, appointed by the Secretary-General and chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, estimated last June that annual development assistance would need to be doubled from the current $50 billion, a 30-year low in relation to total world income.

Speaking at a UN press briefing in New York, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico said that in taking on the challenges of eradicating poverty, improving social conditions and living standards, and protecting the environment, the conference aimed to ensure that this century became the century of development.

“This financing must cover the basic needs of countries” by channelling resources towards social development, he said. By providing the equivalent of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product, developed countries could help meet such Millennium Declaration targets as cutting poverty in half by 2015 and thus substantially reduce infant and maternal mortality.