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ECOSOC meets with world financial institutions on development projects

ECOSOC meets with world financial institutions on development projects

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a special high-level meeting today with representatives of international financial and trade institutions for the first follow-up review of the agreements reached at last year's global conference on financing development projects.

Attended by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the ministers who took part in the spring meeting in Washington, the session aimed to maintain the political momentum for implementing the Monterrey Consensus, adopted by the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico. It was part of the key follow-up role assigned to ECOSOC by the Consensus, which established a working agreement on development principles between developing and developed countries and recognized that development advances are a precondition for world stability and security.

ECOSOC President Gert Rosenthal, of Guatemala, said he hoped the meeting would clarify the ways in which everyone could mutually reinforce each other in implementing the Monterrey Consensus and attaining the UN-endorsed Millennium Development Goals, which among other things set specific targets for reducing poverty.

UN General Assembly President Jan Kavan, of the Czech Republic, said the meeting “constitutes a vital step in our efforts to stay engaged in the Monterrey follow-up process.”

For her part Mary Whelan, Chair of the WTO Trade Policy Review Committee, noted that trade-capacity building was another issue that should drive forward coherence between multilateral organizations, bilateral donors and developing-country partners.

Eduardo Aninat, IMF Deputy Managing Director, called for urgent progress in a number of areas, including agriculture, where better market access and lower trade distorting subsidies were particularly important for developing countries.

Zhengman Zhang, Managing Director of the World Bank, said the Bank and IMF agreed that only by allowing countries to shape their own strategies would coherence be achieved in development policy.

Referring to ongoing trade negotiations, Francisco Thompson-Flores, WTO Deputy Director General, said countries had been presented with tremendous opportunity, including the welfare gains from the elimination of trade barriers, which could amount to $250 billion annually, with as much as half accruing for developing countries.