Representatives of governments, business and civil society are set to meet this weekend in Doha, Qatar, at a United Nations conference focusing on ensuring sufficient financing to meet key development goals amid mounting concern about the impact of the current global economic slowdown on poor nations.
The four-day meeting, starting on 29 November, is a follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) that took place in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico, which resulted in the adoption of a landmark partnership agreement for global development.
Known as the Monterrey Consensus, the agreement covered a number of topics, including domestic resource mobilization, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and systemic issues.
The Doha conference is taking place at a “very difficult” time for the world economy, Kemal Dervis, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), told a news conference in New York today.
“It is clear that we’re heading towards a very difficult 2009 for the world economy,” he said, noting that projections for global growth are being revised downward every two weeks or so by the various institutions that make these projections.
The consequences of this for development are serious, he said, stressing the need to act to prevent the current financial crisis from becoming a human crisis – a call made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just weeks ago. “The Doha meeting in this context takes on added significance.”
Mr. Ban has invited Heads of State to an advance meeting on 28 November, co-hosted by the Emir of Qatar, to discuss responses to the financial crisis and economic slowdown.
The conference, which will bring together heads of State and other government officials, as well as representatives of UN agencies, the private sector and civil society, is expected to result in an agreed outcome document.
“It’s more urgent than ever that we do have a good and successful, meaningful outcome of Doha that builds upon what we already achieved in Monterrey six years ago,” Oscar de Rojas, Executive Secretary of the Doha meeting, emphasized. “But it’s not a done deal yet.”
The 96-page draft outcome document is still being negotiated in New York and is far from being completed, he noted. “In fact, it’s clear now that it won’t be completed here in New York before delegations depart for Doha. There [are] just too many things that are still outstanding.”
Mr. Ban has warned of the negative impact of the financial crisis on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the globally agreed targets to halve extreme poverty and other ills by 2015 – as well as on efforts to deal with climate change.
“My chief concern will be to ensure that the interest in well-being of the most vulnerable nations of the world will be fully heard,” he said at a recent news conference. “We cannot allow the financial crisis to become an excuse for not delivering on our commitments to the Millennium Development Goals.”