United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the European Union (EU) to go further in its efforts to assist developing countries, as he continued to praise its recent initiatives increasing official development assistance, improving quality of aid, boosting assistance to Africa and relieving debt.
"Development is a continuous process," Mr. Annan told a lunch hosted by the EU, in conjunction with the General Assembly's two-day meeting on Financing for Development which has gathered finance ministers in New York to assess efforts to implement the Monterrey Consensus, the 2002 agreement through which donors would increase aid and the world's poor nations would carry out economic and political reforms to ensure that aid money gets spent effectively.
The Consensus, he said, encompasses broader development issues such as growing inequality, globalization, trade-related matters, coherence between financial, trade, aid and debt policies and other systemic questions.
"It also focuses on the long term," he said, "through its emphasis on human capital, which is any country's most abundant resource."
In that context, he asked the EU to complete its debt cancellation initiative, carried out within the G8 group of industrialized countries, and to ensure that goods from developing countries have wider access to European markets and no longer have to compete against subsidized products.
He also noted that the EU is well-placed to increase the participation of developing countries in global economic decision-making, by agreeing to changes at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
By asking for these steps, the Secretary-General stressed he is not losing sight of the responsibility that developing countries bear in their own progress. On the contrary, he said he aimed to improve both sides of the partnership begun at Monterrey.
"That is why we are here," he concluded. "To build the strong partnership for development that is itself the eighth Millennium Goal."