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Global community must exceed current trade and aid pledges, GA president says

Global community must exceed current trade and aid pledges, GA president says

Foreign Minister of Gabon Jean Ping
United Nations General Assembly President Jean Ping has called on the international community to honour and even exceed current commitments on debt reduction, trade and aid so as to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eliminating or reducing many socio-economic ills by 2015.

Wrapping up the General Assembly's two-day High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, Mr. Ping said yesterday that Member States should quickly and completely honour the pledges made at the development summit in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002.

Summarizing the ministerial speeches and roundtable reports made during the High-Level Dialogue, he said the Monterrey principles required greater cooperation to improve the promotion and financing of development and greater coherence among States in making trade, aid policy and financial decisions.

To that end, participants had highlighted the need for developing countries to take part in international decision-making and the need to reform the United Nations, as well as improve the working methods of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Noting that significant progress had been made on debt relief, particularly the recent proposal from the Group of Eight richest countries (G8) to eliminate the debt of several heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), the participants urged that the measure be extended to other nations, including some middle-income countries, he said.

A general feeling of urgency had been expressed, especially with regard to Africa, where the biggest challenges had to be faced, Mr. Ping, who is from Gabon, said.

Improving the private sector could be linked to poverty-reduction strategies, while successfully completing the World Trade Organization's Doha Round was vital because of the important contribution that international trade made to growth, economic development and the fight against poverty, he said.

In this regard, participants had emphasized the key role that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and other regional organizations should play in development, Mr. Ping added.

He also said the Dialogue was particularly important in helping to draft the global development agenda in the United Nations, in partnership with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the international community.

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs José Antonio Ocampo said while the spirit of Monterrey was very much alive, the international community had not yet come to grips with what it would take to implement fully the global development financing agenda.

He said that in the run-up to the General Assembly's September Summit, it would be crucial to make real headway on the promises made in Monterrey, where world leaders had agreed on a new partnership for development, to help achieve the MDGs and the wider UN vision of dignity, prosperity and human rights for all.

Among the areas which Mr. Ocampo said needed progress were enhancing the mobilization of domestic resources; approaching trade as an essential ingredient of financing for development; achieving increased and more effective overseas development assistance (ODA); encouraging more stable sources of external financing; achieving debt sustainability; raising the level of South-South cooperation; and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries in decision-making.