Economic and Social Council prepares for development meeting

Economic and Social Council prepares for development meeting

Preparing for a meeting next month of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with world finance ministers, UN ambassadors and private financial experts discussed debt relief and foreign aid for poor countries today at UN Headquarters in New York in the shadow of a global economic slump and war in Iraq.

Two representatives chosen by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as ell as two representatives from the private sector will attend the 14 April meeting of ECOSOC, which was assigned a key follow-up role on the Monterrey Consensus adopted last year by the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico. The Consensus established a working agreement on development principles between developing and developed countries.

Donor countries at Monterrey recognized that development advances are a precondition for world stability and security, and the United States and the European Union separately promised increases in official development assistance of a combined $30 billion over a four-year period. But the world situation has changed since then. The global economy has slumped, donor countries have experienced fiscal difficulties and preparations for a costly conflict in Iraq are underway.

ECOSOC will hold a special follow-up session on the Monterrey Consensus tomorrow when business leaders will present proposals for increasing the scope and spread of private investment in poor countries and establishing a framework for resolving national debt crises to the benefit of both creditors and the debtor country.

ECOSOC’s April meeting will be attended by finance ministers en route from the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual spring meeting in Washington, as well as by representatives of the World Trade Organization.