Message from the President of the Islamic
Republic of Iran
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I welcome you all dear guests to this meeting and extend to you my most sincere and heartfelt greetings. We take pride in hosting the tenth meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee while carrying the presidency of the Group of 77, and consider the coincidence with the United Nations Year for Dialogue Among Civilizations a blessing. Inspired by the spirit of the Dialogue, our fundamental message to the fellow developing countries at the beginning of the new Millennium has been, and remains, the imperative of collective enterprise for a better common future, a more humane world order, and in fact, a tomorrow free from fear and want for all.
The Group´s decision to endorse Iran´s offer for hosting this important gathering is, in fact, a further confirmation of the trust and confidence of the entire developing community in the Islamic Republic of Iran, of which we are proud and grateful. The developing world in its entirety is fully cognizant of the long tradition of Iranian active engagement in the activities of the Group of 77. The Islamic Republic of Iran has pursued from the very inception a very active policy of economic and technical cooperation with other developing countries, particularly in Africa, and has practically proven its full and unreserved commitment to the principles and objectives of the Group of 77, as well as to the realization of its cherished ideals and objectives. The preservation of the Group´s unity and solidarity and its further consolidation and strengthening are among our highest priorities and, as the members of the Group are fully cognizant, we have endeavoured in earnest to this end since the very beginning of our one-year tenure. I would like to assure you that this overriding objective will continue to guide our work for the Group, including in this meeting.
The tenth meeting of the Follow-up and Coordination Committee (IFCC-X), convened after a hiatus of five years, and as the first following the very successful South Summit that was held in Havana in April 2000, is indeed a very important occasion for the assessment of what had been undertaken prior to the Summit. Moreover, the meeting would provide the Group of 77 and China with a propitious opportunity to look into the state of economic cooperation among ourselves, and take a realistic stock of what has been achieved. Our major task here is to further reflect on the spirit and ideals of the Havana Declaration and to devise appropriate actions and measures for the implementation of the Havana Programmne of Action. These two negotiated documents of the South Summit represent the very concrete manifestation of the political will and wisdom of the South at the highest level and embody the long-term vision and the strategic perspective of the developing community in a rapidly changing world.
Economic cooperation among developing countries, and in a more general sense, South-South cooperation, have always been dear to us. Such a cooperation is becoming all the more inevitable in this tumultuous world a world with huge potentials, an uncertain world and yet fraught with daunting challenges. Under such circumstances, the biggest preoccupation of the developing countries is how to plan and strive to change the current bitter situation a situation of pervasive, endemic and increasing poverty and still worse, ever-increasing marginalization in the world arena.
Twenty years after the Caracas meeting where the historic decision to establish the Committee was made, and with critical hindsight, it is my considered view that we in the South do indeed enjoy the capacity and capability, as well as the collective experience, to face the challenges in front of us and address them. It is truly a matter of utmost satisfaction that the Group of 77, as the sole universal negotiating body of the developing world in the multilateral arena, has proved itself as a potent negotiating partner. The valuable experience in the recent climate change meeting in Bonn should serve as a guiding principle to all of us that it is possible, and practicable, for the Group to act as a credible negotiating force and yet remain faithful to its own principles and achieve its stated objectives. There is only one way to go, to go forward. Success and achievement should be made irreversible.
Looking with deep anxiety and extreme dismay at the sad and disheartening ongoing conflicts in various parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa, one cannot but seek solace in what is now conventional wisdom that development is the best contribution to peace. And genuine, long-term and comprehensive development cannot but start in our midst, by ourselves in our respective societies, and through our collective efforts first and foremost, South-South cooperation. Emphasis here in this meeting on economic cooperation among developing countries certainly does not imply downplaying, let alone neglect, of the equally important North-South relations and cooperation, which we consider as a strategic policy tract for the developing world.
We should all endeavour to arrive at a better understanding of the cherished ideal of collective self-reliance and South-South cooperation, and undertake, individually and collectively, to move beyond words, decisions, and documents good and necessary as they are and make our previous decisions a reality, and a beginning for further future work. We can, through joint efforts, make the Tehran meeting a success and take a step forward the state of economic cooperation among ourselves. What the developing world expects from the deliberations of this gathering in the days ahead is the formulation of an overall roadmap for the actual operationalization of the provisions of the Havana Programme of Action. Realism, objectivity, future-looking determination, creativity, and undoubtedly a certain degree of boldness, are among the key components that should direct the work of this meting. Let us try to put South-South cooperation on a new course. The message from Tehran should be a message of resolve, creativity and hope. And I remain confident that the Ministerial Roundtable would make a good contribution to the meeting´s deliberations.
With these introductory words, I declare open the tenth Meting of the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee of the Group of 77 and wish all of you every success.
May God´s Mercy and Blessing be with You.
by Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme,
to the Tenth Meeting of the Inter-governmental Follow-up and Coordination
Committee on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (IFCC-X)
We are at an historic moment. From the streets of Seattle to the barrios of Latin America, from the old fortress of Genoa to the farms and factories of Asia and Africa, globalization is facing an unprecedented legitimacy crisis. And the reason is clear: while open markets and freer trade have generated unprecedented wealth in some parts of the world, its benefits have been very unevenly distributed: Globalization has been failing the poor.
And yet the potential that globalization offers to developing countries is real; the ability to leapfrog decades, to recapture lost ground, to redeem long-standing promises of prosperity to the people, is achievable. Some countries of the South have already moved boldly and imaginatively to do so to participate in the international economy, to exploit emerging technologies for the betterment of their citizens, to modernize institutions and markets.
Indeed in some senses the danger of globalization for poor countries is not so much the threat of being overwhelmed but overlooked. Developing countries that have been drawn into the global economy have on balance been growing much faster than those who have not: countries whose share of GDP in international trade declined during the 1990s saw their economies shrink 1.1% annually, but where it rose countries averaged 5.1% annual growth, with significant knock-on success in poverty reduction.
But as UNDPs latest Human Development Report reveals these success stories are still the exceptions rather than rule. The promise of a better future remains tantalizing and elusive for too many people.
Some 66 countries, ranging across every corner of the globe, are now poor than they were a decade ago. More than 10m Southern children still die every year from preventable diseases that their Northern counterparts rarely face. And in a world where barely one percent of Africans have Internet connections compared to over 40 percent of North Americans, the promise of new technologies is still too often widening rather than narrowing the development gap.
These are stark and unacceptable facts that the Group of 77 has long recognized. It is why last year in Havana you adopted a courageous and ambitious Declaration and Programme of Action committed to forging a new global human order by managing the risks and seizing the opportunities created by globalization. And it is why you singled out the United Nations unique potential as a multilateral partner to help integrate developing countries into a globalizing economy on terms that further our shared goals of gender equality, poverty eradication and growth with equity.
Speaking on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan I want to assure you today that for the UN as a whole and the UN Development Programme in particular, that role lies at the very heart of our agenda for the new Millennium. Working to implement your vision of a just and equitable future for all developing countries is the guiding principle of all our work.
A first element of that is pushing forward with the visionary Dialogue among Civilizations that President Khatami and the Government of Iran has been spearheading. Such a dialogue is a critical foundation if we are successfully to understand and address these broader issues of global legitimacy and equity. It is the best way to help people from different cultures and traditions recognize that our differences are not a threat but an opportunity. Only by embracing the worlds rich diversity can we build the respect and mutual understanding needed successfully to manage global integration.
Second we must take full advantage of the powerful new global political endorsement of our shared goals. Building on the strong foundation laid in Havana, last Septembers UN Millennium Declaration for the first time committed over 160 countries across North and South to ensuring that globalization becomes a positive force for all the worlds people. Just as important, it set out a number of clear, time-bound targets to judge our success or failure, the most important of which is halving extreme poverty by 2015.
Together, these initiatives provide a platform from which to launch a fresh vision of development for the 21st century.
I. The Challenge for the Poor
It is urgently needed. Overall progress is much too slow. On current trends, dozens of countries encompassing nearly two-thirds of the worlds population are lagging in meeting goals such as reducing infant mortality or halving the proportion of people without access to safe water.
While economic reform is one part of the answer, we know it is not enough. Nearly two-thirds of Least Developed Countries have undertaken significant structural reforms in the past decade but as we heard in Brussels earlier this year their social and economic performance has lagged other developing countries.
The fact is if we really want to bring the poor from the margins to the mainstream, we need fundamental changes at both global and national level that incorporate a special focus on Africa, the region most at risk of failing to meet the targets. And unless we ensure that economic growth does not just provide increased income but a cleaner, safer environment, better protection against natural disasters, and more opportunities and protections for women, our victories will be hollow ones.
All this places a huge burden on Southern countries to put in place institutions and policies that can nurture growth and human development. Helping you do just that has been the underlying mission of United Nations development cooperation for over 50 years. It remains the driving vision behind UNDP today.
Building on that long tradition of trust and partnership with the South, we have over the past two years created a much more focused, results-based organization built to support your own development agenda through advisory services and capacity building. And it is support, I am very pleased to say, that is increasingly being reciprocated: some $990m of our total 2.4bnannual spending is now derived directly from developing countries, up nearly 40% in the past five years. The majority of this is co-financing of development activities in their own countries, reflecting how far UNDP has moved from the traditional paradigm of Northern donor agency to Southern partner. It is the tangible expression of our mission as the developing agency of the developing countries.
II. Building a More Include Globalization
But whatever assistance UNDP is able to offer you at a national level, the fact is without a truly global effort, we cannot build a more inclusive globalization. That requires the North to practice what it has long preached about harnessing the powerful engines regional and global integration to reverse the long marginalization of the poor. And I would like to suggest today that the time has come for a new kind of reverse conditionality that turns the old one on its head: if developed countries are really as committed to using trade to drive human development as they claim, then they must take concrete action now.
There are three key upcoming events the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Doha in November, the Financing for Development Conference in Monetary next March and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next September - where they will have a chance to do this. We must use these events to ensure the world addresses six critical issues, several of which are highlighted in the G-77 communiqué of last March.
First, we need to find real solutions to outstanding implementation problems and other unresolved issues from the Uruguay Round in areas like technology transfer and intellectual property that have so far delivered so much less than promised for developing countries.
Second, we must ensure that any new trade round leads to the dismantling of continued barriers in areas like agriculture and textiles currently supported by high tariffs and more than $350bn in annual subsidies without forcing the poorest countries to surrender the safeguards needed to protect their own fragile industries and citizens.
Third, at a time when ODA flows have fallen to a miserly 0.22% of OECD/DAC GDP well short of the internationally agreed target of 0.7% - we must reverse the long decline in development assistance, particularly to the LDCs. And not just traditional aid. We need new money for global public goods such as environmental protection, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and support mechanisms to combat the violent fluctuations in currencies and commodity prices that can so easily reverse years of social and economic progress in developing countries.
Fourth, we need to build on the real successes of the HIPC initiative and push for much wider, deeper and faster debt relief, including seriously considering help for other low and middle income countries making genuine efforts at poverty reduction but hobbles by onerous repayment schedules.
Fifth, the world must regenerate commitment at the highest political level for the principle of sustainable development. And UNDP is already working without many of you both directly on preparations for WSSD, piloting innovative approaches to address the complex linkages between poverty and the environment while refocusing global attention on neglected environmental conventions, especially the critical issue of desertification. It is work we must urgently build on.
Last but not least, we need much broader, more equitable structures of global governance, ensuring the international financial and environmental architecture accommodates much greater participation by and a real voice and justice for developing countries.
The UN family has a long tradition of working closely with the Group of 77 on all of these thorny issues. And I am very pleased to announce today that UNDP has launched a new initiative to map out exactly what a more inclusive globalization would look like in practice.
We have been doing the preparatory work for over a year to fresh out the real needs and concerns of the South. Starting next month, we will be holding a series of detailed consultations with Southern governments and Southern civil society groups, including a meeting hosted by the G-77 and China that will culminate in a set of concrete recommendations early next year.
And that is just one part of our overall efforts. We are also engaging with the ILO in exploring alternative social policy responses to globalization, working with UNCTAD on an initiative to enhance developing countries ability to manage economic integration, and cooperating with a wide range of partners on the Integrated Framework, a special imitative to help LDCs mainstream trade into their development agenda.
III. A New Vision of South-South Cooperation
So on al fronts, UNDP is seeking to advance the development debate. And few issues are currently more important in this regard than the broader application of new technologies for and by the poor the primary theme of this years Human Development Report.
From calling for increased public and private research into medical and agricultural technologies, including biotech, with real potential to help the poor to identifying new ways to leverage the power of Information and Communications Technologies to support human development, we are actively seeking to stimulate global discussion and action around the most pressing issue of the day.
And potentially even more important is the way emerging ICT global networks are transforming another key aspect of development: South-South cooperation.
The Southern development experience is rich and diverse and the Southern list of achievements is long and impressive. Linked by commonalities of history, geography and shared development challenges, the countries of the South have important lessons to share on the battles they have fought, the adversities they have faced and the successes they have achieved.
From South Africas establishment of a thriving plural democracy in the face of racial and ethnic conflict, to Cubas stunning health-care achievements to Irans growing success in boosting scientific and technical education, the G-77 has available a vast and growing pool of success stories that other developing countries facing similar constraints and challenges can share and learn from.
To support this UNDP has responded to your call and refocused our special unit on TCDC in two key areas: advocacy to mobilize support around a dynamic global agenda of South-South cooperation and giving a strong Southern dimension to our advisory services and technical cooperation.
We are already generating results in new areas from initiatives such as helping India, one of the developing worlds oldest and most successful democracies, provide parliamentary support to Indonesia, one of the newest, to spreading the lessons of Brazils successful HIV/AIDS treatment programmes to southern Africa. And by fostering and mainstreaming this kind of sharing of experience UNDP is committed to helping South-South move beyond being a geographical concept or a political slogan and take its rightful place at the heart of global development.
UNDP is very proud to be the developing countries development agency and we are honoured to have been described by you as the best and closest friend of the South in the whole UN family. It is a friendship we deeply value and cherish.
So let me close by assuring you that we at UNDP continue to see the G-77 as the preeminent Southern intergovernmental process and our foremost partner in these efforts. And we are committed to build on that trusted partnership by seeking out your views, listening to your concerns and seeking to advocate and implement your agendas at global, regional and national level. It is why I am here today. It is why UNDP will always be at your side in the future as we work we work together to achieve the goals set out in the Havana and Millennium Declarations.
TO THE 10TH MEETING OF GROUP OF 77 INTERGOVERNMENTAL FOLLOW-UP AND COORDINATION
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION AMONG DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (IFCC-X)
FAO appreciates this opportunity as it is actively promoting cooperation among developing countries as a fundamental and integrated component of its programmes. Indeed such cooperation is an essential element in the Organizations strategy to achieve the main goal of eradicating hunger and achieving food security for all.
Five years ago, the World Food Summit was held in Rome. One hundred and eighty-six members of FAO and the UN of which 112 were represented at the level of Heads of State and Governments pledged to do what it would take to reduce, by half, the number of undernourished by 2015. I wish I could say today that we were on track to achieving that goal. I wish I could say that substantial progress in combating hunger and food insecurity was being made. I wish I could bring to you numbers and trends showing that the pledges made during the 1996 Summit signaled an important break with the slow progress of the past in fighting hunger. I wish I could say that the dream of achieving the substantial and yet morally modest goal of halving hunger by 2015 was a visible reality. Unfortunately, I cannot. At best, I bring a mixed message.
During the period 1995-97, about 790 million people in the developing world were undernourished. The global figure represents a reduction of about 40 to 50 million from the number estimated for the period 1990-1992, the benchmark period for the World Food Summit. While no doubt some progress has been made, the reduction corresponds to an annual decline in the number of hunger persons of only about 8 million people, whereas an annual reduction of at least 20 million people a year was required if the WFS target was to be met.
This gloomy picture does not, of course mean that significant strides have not been made in alleviating poverty, and food insecurity. During the past 30 years, the lives of millions have been improved and the poor have indeed begun a great ascent to lives spent in dignity. And, the majority of the countries we have studied in FAO have managed to reduce the share of the food insecure in the population.
In the last 10 years, there has been an impressive convergence throughout the international community towards recognizing poverty eradication as an overarching goal in the development effort. In this context, the Millennium General Assembly has adopted a series of targets for the reduction of poverty in its various forms and dimensions, including the WFS target.
And yet, despite the pronouncements and declarations, I am afraid that the cause of the hungry, the poorest of the poor has not received the attention it deserves in developing assistance. No poverty alleviation programme can be effective if it does not focus on the undernourished people. The effectiveness of education is bound to be compromised when provided to hungry children. Hunger has also delirious effects on work productivity, on health and overall economic growth. Yet there is still some way to go in order to translate these facts into consistent strategies and priorities. Unless hunger is fought decisively and sustainably, there will be no significant inroads into poverty alleviation.
Seventy percent of the poor live in rural areas and derive their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agriculture. For them development of agriculture is thus an indispensable element of income growth and employment generation. And yet, this basic lesson seems to escape policy markers. The strong negative trends in the 1990s of both Official Development Assistance and development lending going to agriculture testify to this fact.
Mobilizing the political will to right hunger is a necessary condition to achieve the goal of the World Food Summit. This implies making hunger eradication a priority and an integral part of development policy. Yet in many countries, the hungry have little political voice and influence on the political process. Thus, they find themselves marginalized in their own countries as well as in their claim for the attention of the international community. Recognizing the seriousness and urgency of the hunger situation is an essential first step towards finding solutions for it.
But programmes and policies require resources for their implementation. More resources are therefore needed if the agricultural sectors of developing countries are to compete in a more open, more competitive international regime.
An important part of development concerns cooperation and exchange among developing countries themselves. Sharing of experiences and best practices related to agricultural development and food security is actively and assiduously promoted by FAO.
The World Food Summit provided clear guidance to FAOs programmes and activities regarding Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries. The Summit encouraged the Organization to effectively promote and harness South-South Cooperation as a major instrument and modality of support to the Low Income Food Deficit Countries.
South-South Cooperation is also a fundamental and integral part of the Organizations Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS). The SPFS is FAOs concrete action at the level of rural poor, to assist them produce their own food as give a fish to a person, he will eat for a day, teach him to fish he will eat everyday. The SPFS, targeted mainly at low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), aims at improving household and national food security through rapid increases in production and productivity, on an economically and environmentally sustainable basis, and by improving peoples access to food. The Programme is currently operational in 64 countries.
In support of the SPFS, FAO also launched a new form of South-South Cooperation. Under this initiative, developing countries with advanced agricultural experience are providing, under shared costs, technical assistance to countries where the SPFS is operational, to work directly in the field with rural farming communities. The monthly costs of each expert is around US$700 instead of more than $10,000 for consultants recruited on the world market. To-date South-South Cooperation provides a new impetus to solidarity among developing countries and enhances their historical and cultural synergies. Similarly, the new FAO Partnership programme for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries for high-level short-term expertise has received enthusiastic response from FAO member countries. Since its launch in 1994, 128 countries have participated in a range of collaborative activities within the broad field of agricultural, economic and social sciences.
Achieving the WFS target is still possible although things would have to change drastically. For this reason, the FAO Council at its Hundred and Nineteenth Session in November 2000 endorsed my proposal to use the regular session of the FAO Conference in November 2001 as a forum to review the current situation.
The World Food Summit: five years later to be held at the level of Heads of State and Government will address the issues of political will and resources for achieving the goal set in 1996.
It is in this context that a US$500 million Trust Fund for Food Security and Emergency Prevention of Transboundary Pests and Diseases of Animals and Plants was established. Financed by voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, it will serve as a catalyst to accelerate food production and improve access to food in Least Developed Countries, LIFDCs and Small Island Developing States and for prevention, control and eradication of transboundary pests and diseases of plants and animals.
I know that I can count on the political support of the G-77 in our common endeavour to ensure that the dream of eradicating hunger in the world will become very soon a reality.
I thank you for
your kind attention.
by UNIDO Director-General
As we are all well aware, framework conditions for industrial development have changed considerably in the last decades. The set of changes that occurred is often referred to as globalization. In my view they should rather be characterized as a complex combination of globalization, regionalization and marginalization. Developments have resulted in little or no progress for the majority of developing countries. They have been excluded from the benefits of the process of globalization. More than that the North-South gap has widened.
It is also becoming more and more evident that a stable and healthy industrial sector is important for the social stability and peace. With higher average wage levels than agriculture or services (and hence a larger tax contribution), industry has the potential to ensure a more even distribution of national incomes through national budgets and social programmes. It is industry, which eventually creates a stable, peace-oriented middle-class.
The organization I am proud to lead and have been designated to lead for a second term, has attempted to respond to the new kind of needs resulting from the changed overall environment. We have done so with a new set of integrated programmes, a large portion of which has been developed for implementation in developing countries. By now we have 43 integrated programmes approved, worth US$ 247 million, covering 39 states 35 of which are developing countries. The integrated programmes address poverty alleviation through industrial development by improving industrial governance and institutional infrastructure, strengthening small and medium-size enterprises, upgrading technological capacities, enhancing skills and access to modern technology, building export and trade capabilities and adopting energy efficiency and cleaner production measures.
From 3 through 7 December 2001 the 9th Session of the General Conference of UNIDO will take place. It is designed to discuss initiatives and to take important decisions on UNIDOs future activities, to make them more focused and effective. While doing so we take into consideration the results of G-77 Summit in Havana as well as of other G-77 meetings and ask for your continued support.
The Havana Programme of Action makes strong emphasis on knowledge and technology development, trade facilitation and investment. UNIDO is focusing very much on these issues. The paper Knowledge and Technological Innovation in Industrial Development for the Advancement of the South specially prepared by UNIDO for this important meeting, clearly demonstrates what UNIDO is doing and can do in this regard.
We consider technology transfer to be one of the main UNIDO priorities in future. We have concentrated sectoral efforts regarding technological promotion basically on two areas or types of technology: new information technologies, bio-technology and their application. In addition, we have embarked on dissemination of modern techniques to deal with industrial and technological problems, such as technology foresight.
Concentration of efforts to promote transfer and adoption of new information technologies to the maximum extent can make a decisive contribution to ensuring the economies and societies of developing countries are connected to the global society.
Furthermore, as I said in my statement in the opening ceremony, we are preparing to launch a Global Technology Needs Assessment that would present a state-of-the-art survey of the needs in the area of technology and would greatly enhance the cooperation among the members of the UN system in this field. It will be based on solid scientific analysis and broad consultation, including with all state-holders. I welcome your feedback on this idea and look forward to working closely with the G-77 leadership as we move forward on with this initiative.
A special emphasis is also made on trade facilitation. I would like to draw your attention and request your support towards UNIDOs trade facilitation initiative. It is based on a comprehensive approach enabling developing countries to participate in international trade. It has two main components: the first is the upgrading of quality and standardization infrastructure in line with the main export commodities of the country, i.e. textile, food, leather etc., the second is the integration of sub-sectoral support and competitiveness improvement through the introduction of quality principles, ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, technological upgrading, information network and marketing support. It will help developing countries to get access to the international market. We have already started a regional project in Western Africa in cooperation with European Commission and are ready to replicate it Central American and Caribbean countries.
Another issue which
is also very important and promising for UNIDO future activities
environment and energy for sustainable development. Energy is a pre-requisite
for sustainable development, but its current use generates concerns relating
to the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
Two billion people, i.e. one third of the world population do not have
access to electricity and modern energy. This severely hampers their development
possibilities. The Third Conference on the Least Developed Countries in
Brussels in May of this year and the Commission on Sustainable Development
have emphasized the strong connection between poverty eradication and
energy policy interventions. LDC III has mandated UNIDO to seek the approval
of its governing bodies to do even more than what we do now to address
the needs of the LDCs in the area of energy for sustainable development.
In the field of environment, UNIDO is planning to continue its specialization in the environment by two means: maintaining activities currently in progress (implementation of the Montreal Protocol, programmes for cleaner production, etc.) and giving priority to three main topics: implementation of the Persistent Organic Pollutants agreement, the International Waters programme and waste management.
I believe that these initiatives could make a good contribution to South-South cooperation and welcome your views in this regard.
by Mr. Carlos Fortin
Allow me in the first place to convey, on behalf of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, on my own behalf and on behalf of the UNCTAD secretariat as a whole, our warmest greetings and best wishes for the success of this important meeting.
Economic cooperation among developing countries is an old and honourable goal of the Group of Seventy-Seven. As an objective, it goes back 36 years to the very creation of the Group. As a set of commitments, policies and actions, it goes back 25 years, to the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Group held in Manila in 1975. A landmark along the road was the adoption in 1981 of the Caracas Programme of Action, and subsequent important developments included the San Jose Plan of Action in 1997 and the relevant elements of the outcome of the South Summit in Havana last year.
A great deal of effort has been spent in promoting ECDC, and, to be sure, non-negligible progress has been achieved in the various areas covered by the efforts, notably trade, finance, investment, including infrastructure and transport, and technology.
And yet, Mr. Chairman, most assessments would agree that the results are not commensurate to the efforts, that somehow not enough has been achieved in the promotion of concrete economic links among countries of the South. This has even led some to question the very rationale of ECDC.
The argument here is as follows. If economic cooperation among developing countries is an economically viable proposition, if it offers the prospect of profits and growth to developing country enterprises and firms, then there is no need to promote it: it would come about by itself through the operation of market forces. If, on the other hand, ECDC is not a viable economic proposition, then it should not be promoted, as it would simply distort the market and lead to inefficiency.
This argument, however, is based on a fallacy. As UNCTAD Secretary-General Ricupero has observed, it assumes that the existing patterns of international trade, financial relations, investment and technology transfers, which are oriented along a North-South axis, are spontaneous products of the forces of the market, and are, therefore, in some sense, natural.
In reality, of course, the pattern of external economic relations of developing countries is the outcome of complex historical and socio-economic process, notably the colonial relation for many and relations of economic dependency for others. These historically determined patterns have been reinforced through the deliberate use of economic and financial incentives and supports by the developed economies, including trade and investment credits, guarantees, insurance, etc., to an extent that is clearly beyond the capacities of developing countries themselves. The result is, therefore far from natural or necessarily efficient. Efforts at ECDC are in effect attempts at removing these distortions and providing developing countries with a wider range of choice of external partners. Indeed, developing countries might often have a comparative advantage in providing goods, services, finance, investment and technology to other developing countries because of their similarity in terms of economic and social conditions.
More recently, a new line of questioning of ECDC has come to the fore, taking its cue from the process of globalization. Here, the argument is that the overall tendency of the world economy is one of integration, irrespective of the specific characteristics of individual countries and economies. ECDC would, in this view, run contrary to the full integration of developing countries into the world trading system and its full partaking of the opportunities offered by the movement of foreign direct investment, technology and financial flows that globalization entails.
Again, there is fallacy here. There is no necessary incompatibility between integration in the world economy a goal that most developing countries share and increased economic cooperation among developing countries. On the contrary, if properly conceived and implemented, the latter offers an easier and less painful road to the former. Economic links among developing countries can be building blocks, not stumbling blocks, to global economic integration.
Indeed, the globalization process and its outcome so far have, if anything, reinforced the rationale for ECDC efforts, in two respects. Firstly, because it is now increasingly apparent that, by itself, globalization is not capable of breaching the development divide: a large number of developing countries, notably, but not solely, the least developed countries, are not in a position to compete at the global level and run the risk of marginalization. ECDC might help these countries to address the competitiveness challenge of a globalized world. Secondly, on the other side, because globalization has been taken advantage of by a number of developing countries to expand their productive and technological capacities. The developing world is today considerably more differentiated than it was in 1964, and a number of developing countries have the kind of resources, skills, know-how and capacities that other developing countries can benefit from. The basis for fruitful economic cooperation has thus been expanded. Today more than ever, economic cooperation among developing countries is not only a lofty political goal but also a potentially highly viable economic proposition.
UNCTAD has been contributing to the process of ECDC within its mandate, and is ready to step up that contribution in cooperation with the Group of 77. UNCTAD no longer has a Committee or a Division on ECDC as the Conference felt that this cross-sectoral, all-encompassing set of issues could be best addressed by introducing an ECDC emphasis in the work of each of the substantive, sectoral Divisions of UNCTAD.
In the case of trade, UNCTADs contribution to ECDC has proceeded along two tracks. The first concerns multilateral trade negotiations, notably in the WTO. UNCTAD, together with the Group of 77 in Geneva, has set up a programme entitled A positive agenda for developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations. The programme took shape following the second Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Singapore. There it became clear that most developing countries did not have a clear agenda of their own for the negotiations, but were simply responding to the proposals and demands of developed countries. Their position was reactive, not proactive. As a result, the negotiations themselves were frustrated. Often developing countries did not fully grasp the implications of developed countries proposals, and quite rationally, I might add their reaction was guarded and negative. The negotiations themselves suffered as a result.
The positive agenda programme aims at working with developing countries to develop their own agenda for negotiation. UNCTADs role is not to tell developing countries what to negotiate, but rather to provide technical support and backstopping to their collective efforts at understanding the issues and assessing the options. A major component of the programme is the exchange of views and experiences among developing countries, with UNCTAD acting as facilitator. The results have been encouraging. Developing countries, both individually and collectively, submitted a large number of proposals to the Third Ministerial Conference of WTO, and while this is not solely due to UNCTADs programme, the latter has been recognized as having had a significant influence in this outcome.
The second trace of UNCTADs work in ECDC in the field of trade is our support to the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries, GSTP, on which a separate report is being submitted. GSTP remains a potentially highly powerful instrument for economic cooperation, and it continues to operate and expand. However, its coverage in terms of countries and products is still limited. Specifically, out of 133 member countries of the G-77, only 44 are currently members. This is a clear case in which efforts need to be redoubled if we are to realize the full potential of this instrument of South-South cooperation.
In the field of ECDC in the finance area, UNCTAD has explored the potentialities of regional arrangements to provide both protection against the instability and volatility of international financial flows and improved access to those resources. UNCTADs Trade and Development Report 2000 analyses in some detail the experience of schemes for regional monetary and financial cooperation among developing countries and in particular the Chiang Mai initiatives for financial cooperation in East Asia, which interestingly includes a developed country, Japan.
In ECDC in the investment field, UNCTAD has explored the potentialities for expansion of South-South direct investment, notably in its recent World Investment Reports, and has served as facilitator to a large number of bilateral investment treaties and double taxation arrangements among developing countries.
In the field of technology and more generally technical cooperation, UNCTAD has been active in exploring and promoting ECDC, both through its own programme of work and as servicing secretariat to the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development. This is an area where the potentialities for ECDC have grown dramatically, as several countries of the South have developed important technological and knowledge capabilities in such areas as medical, information, and biotechnologies. An interesting ramification is the emergence of triangular arrangements, whereby a developed country provides finance to make possible the cooperation between a developing country which supplies technology and know-how and another developing country that benefits from those.
To conclude, Mr. Chairman, it is UNCTADs belief that economic cooperation among developing countries is entering an exciting new phase, full of potentialities as well as challenges. There is, however, a great deal of work ahead. The convening of this meeting signals the determination of the G-77 to take on the challenge. UNCTAD is ready to support you in any way we can.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
by Mr. Shafqat Kakakhel
I am deeply honoured to attend this meeting on behalf of Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and to convey to you his greetings and prayers for its success.
The hosting of this meeting is yet another eloquent testimony to the remarkable, dynamic and pragmatic leadership role played by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the developing world in general and on issues related to sustainable development in particular. I am pleased to acknowledge the decisive role of our Chairman, H.E. Ambassador Baqer Asadi at the recent meeting of the Climate Change Convention in Bonn and his contribution to the work of the UN Forum on Forests. We pay tribute to the leaders and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This meeting is taking place at a critical juncture, nearly a year and a half after the South Summit in Havana, a year after the Millennium Session of the General Assembly and a year prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg. You are meeting while the process of globalization is proceeding rapidly, offering simultaneously the promise of worldwide prosperity and the fear of marginalization of hundreds of millions of human beings. The past decade has seen unprecedented prosperity for a minority and growing denial and deprivation resulting from negative, slow or inequitable economic development in most developing countries. Your decisions will crucially impact on the well-being of your peoples and of the entire human kind.
The word 'Environment' does not appear in the Charter of the United Nations which is devoted to peace and development. Yet in 1973 the international community established the United Nations Environment Programme to address the growing threats to human survival posed by human actions in pursuit of development. The establishment of UNEP underlined the consensus that the necessary and legitimate pursuit of development and the range of goods and services it produces should proceed but without causing deadly pollution of the air, water and stratosphere and irreparable depletion of natural resources which threaten the survival of human beings and the planet.
Today there are still some who speak about environment or development as if these were two different subjects and there are some who describe environment as a secondary or lower priority or as an additional objective. Fortunately, it is now universally recognized that the prevention and alleviation of pollution and rational and sustainable use of natural resources - which is what environment means - is a necessity, not a luxury. Indeed far from being a matter of concern only for the developed countries, environmental protection is a greater and more urgent necessity for the developing world whose peoples are more vulnerable to environmental degradation. The Millennium Declaration adopted by the Millennium Summit in September 2000 rightly identified environmental protection and conservation of natural resources among the principal challenges of this Millennium.
UNEP has been working with other United Nations agencies, especially those represented here, non-Governmental organizations, the scientific community, Governments and the Private Sector with a view to identifying the causes and consequences as well as solutions to nearly all major threats to the environment on the basis of impeccable scientific research. It has linked science and policy by convening and facilitating negotiations of global agreements spelling out actions by Governments and other stakeholders to address those threats. We now have global agreements on ozone and climate change, biodiversity and biosafety, desertification, chemicals and hazardous wastes and the protection of forest and marine resources. We have encouraged and assisted Governments to take domestic actions and agree on regional initiatives to implement the global agreements. We have also promoted acceptance of the need as well as adoption of measures for integrating environmental imperatives in the overall process of development.
At Rio in 1992, the international community reached consensus on pursuing the goal of sustainable development comprising economic and social growth, and environmental protection. It adopted Agenda 21, a plan of action to address, through national efforts and international cooperation, all major threats to the environment.
Significant successes since Rio include proliferation of global and regional environmental agreements and plans of action, as well as greater attention by the UN system and the World Bank and Governments to addressing environmental challenges. However, the degradation of the environment, globally and within countries, has not only continued but grown as evidenced by natural and man made disasters related to climate change, depletion of biological resources, and scarcity and poor quality of water. In developing countries, increasing poverty and growing populations have both caused and resulted from relentless pressure on natural resources especially land and water. The extent and quality of global solidarity do not match the magnitude of the problems. We hope that this meeting, the forthcoming Food Summit, the Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg will help in reinvigorating political will, strengthening global solidarity and deploying science and technology for reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development at the global level.
The United Nations Environment Programme is proud of its partnership with and services to the developing world. We have contributed to building the capacity of developing countries to participate in negotiations on global environmental agreements, in formulating regional plans and in launching domestic efforts to implement those agreements. We have assisted them in assessing and monitoring the state of their environment, in identifying priorities, in enacting laws and regulations and in managing environmental protection and improvement. We have helped in introducing environmental education at all levels, in facilitating access to environmental information and in encouraging the participation of civil society in the conservation and sustainable development of natural resources. We have promoted clean and safe industrial production. We have done all this by working in close cooperation with the political, economic, scientific and intellectual institutions of the South. I would like to reiterate our determination to continue to do so in the future.
by H.E. Dr. Y. Seyyid Abdulai
Working together to move development forward
Tehran, 19 August 2001
I should begin on a note of appreciation: I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman and the G-77 Secretariat for your invitation to the OPEC Fund for International Development to be part of this Meeting. I also should express our profound gratitude to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the kind hospitality we have enjoyed.
I will seek to be brief, conscious of the amount of work before us and the many other interventions we expect. There is a fuller, more detailed version of my statement, which could be distributed later, if the Secretariat wishes.
We have come here with pleasure, to listen to the voices of the South and contribute what we can to this ongoing dialogue. It is certainly proper that we should be expecting to move development a few more steps forward, following Manila, Jakarta, Cartagena, Havana and, indeed, Caracas (which was the first meeting of this kind in 1981).
Relative poverty is still widespread among our peoples;
Per capita incomes have been declining, as have agricultural production, manufacturing output, gross domestic investment, export purchasing power and, thus, import volume;
Life expectancy is not much improved either, neither are infant mortality rates.
But it is encouraging that the responsible authorities across our lands have not been inactive. On the contrary, useful work is quietly proceedings across the developing world in the areas of macroeconomic and structural policy reforms, improvement in governance and creation of enabling environment to accommodate the productive talents of society.
At the multilateral level, our various southern countries have also been cooperating effectively, not least of all within the framework of the Group of 24 and the Group of 77.
OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a sterling example of the spirit of ECDC (economic cooperation among developing countries). Never mind the propensity among some to label and associate OPEC with a single attribute: increases in oil prices. The fact is that our member nations have consistently acted responsibly, concerned with consumer interests and also with the plight of the poorer countries of the South.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Perhaps less well known is the collective effort of these countries in the area of development cooperation; working alongside other developing countries to help accelerate their social and economic advancement. I should take a minute to discuss the OPEC Fund and other agencies of OPEC countries concerned with development cooperation, especially for the benefit of those who may not be aware of the work we do.
The OPEC Fund came into being 25 years ago. The mandate?: to pursue South-South solidarity and cooperation among developing countries. We were charged with delivering supplementary OPEC assistance to needy, non-OPEC developing countries. The rationale was that we were managing to make a success of a natural commodity and the proceeds from its exploitation could be extended to also benefit our neighbors. We defined neighborhood rather generously to include the entire developing world.
The OPEC Fund promotes development by extending concessional financing in the form of loans; by providing grants to back technical assistance, food aid, research and humanitarian relief work; by contributing financially to the resources of other development organizations whose activities benefit developing countries; and by participating in private sector activities in cooperating countries.
Today, the OPEC Fund is present in no less than 108 countries of the developing world, most of them member states of this 133-country Group of 77. We have financed bridges of progress and bridges of friendship across these countries, counting diverse projects and programs worth a cumulative US$5.8 billion. In addition, we have equally eagerly sought to assist in the creation of institutions of some import to developing countries; among them, the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the Amsterdam-based Common Fund for Commodities, ( the International Development Law Institute (IDLI) based in Rome, Italy and the African Fertilizer Development Center in Harare, Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the OPEC Fund is a participant in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
The OPEC Fund considers itself a valuable ally of the developing countries, especially in the battle against poverty. The Fund imposes no conditionalities on borrowing countries; its loans are soft and untied, giving borrowers the freedom to purchase goods and services from the best possible source, resulting in higher net aid transfers; nor do we impose our will on recipient countries. On the contrary, the OPEC Fund listens and responds to the expressed needs and priorities of the concerned countries.
You may be interested to know that OPEC aid, indeed, is itself older than OPEC as an organization. OPEC aid efforts began with projects and programs initiated in the mid-1950s by the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who were motivated by moral commitments to their neighbors.
Kuwait first formalized the instruments of aid delivery, setting up the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, a bilateral aid organization, in December 1961. Ten years later, the United Arab Emirates created the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development; and in 1974, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iraq followed suit, establishing, respectively, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Venezuelan Investment Fund and the Iraqi Fund for External Development. I should go further to recall that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Great Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya set up their own bilateral instruments in 1975, as did Algeria, Indonesia and Nigeria in subsequent years. We also must not forget that individual government-to-government aid continued throughout these efforts and through the years in these countries.
As a donor group, OPEC states also jointly participated in the establishment of several regional, subregional and global, multilateral aid institutions, such as the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; the Islamic Development Bank; and the Arab Gulf Programme for the United Nations Development Organizations.
In the intervening years, many OPEC aid institutions have done much to plough real resources into the development of most of the worlds poorer countries. Together, as a group, OPEC aid institutions have managed to muster a cumulative US$90 billion in development financing, creating infrastructure, establishing industries, erecting clinics, hospitals, health care centers and schools.
In the foreseeable future, OPEC aid institutions all of them propose to continue with the services they render: among many others, projects and programs aid, trade financing and investment in all areas of human resource development. At the OPEC Fund, in particular, we hope to work even harder to consolidate the gains we have painstakingly accumulated in close, cooperative work with our beneficiaries and other partners, fully conscious of the fact that we are part of the developing world.
We must all of us here endeavor not to leave Tehran without concrete results to show for this Meeting. Our deliberations must aim at achieving some of the targets set for the meeting. As countries of the South, we face a plethora of unfulfilled needs; a long shopping list of chores that must be achieved in the near to medium-term: we need to see a re-engineering of the global financial architecture; and a restructuring of elements of globalization-related policies which are, at present, drawing increased ire from civil society, expressed by protests on the streets. We should all work, as well, to help realize the target of halving (by 2015) the proportion of the worlds people living in absolute poverty.
Finally, we are aware that the G-77 proposes to seek an expansion of the core capital of the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund. The G-77 Secretariat has given notice that it would welcome funding from governments and bodies, willing and able to assist. The OPEC Fund and the Honorable Manuel Perez-Guerrero go back, together, a long way: He was, in fact, one of the founding fathers of the OPEC Fund. We are, therefore, with the G-77 in spirit as regards this Trust Fund and are committed to doing what we can to be of assistance to some of the programs of research of the G-77.
I, thus, conclude my statement with a note of encouragement to the Secretariat, reassuring them of our continuing interest in what they are doing and of our commitment to doing what we can to help facilitate their work.
Incidentally, there is a small display of our products and publications outside this hall. Should there be interest in more information on our mandate and operations, the display stand may be worth a visit.
Again, we thank
you for inviting us to this assembly and wish the gathering well in its
 ( The common
Fund was designed to help developing countries cope effectively with the
cyclical fluctuations of commodity supply and demand, and thus bring about
stability, a necessary condition for sustained growth.
Message from Mr. Lennart Bage, President
of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to H.E.
Ambassador Bagher Asadi, Chairman of the G-77 on the occasion of the
10th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-Up and Coordination Committee
of the Group 77
I take great pleasure in sending to you, and through you, to the Member States of the G-77, my best wishes for the 10th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-Up and Coordination Committee of the G-77 which the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is hosting from 18-23 August 2001.
The G-77 was the driving force behind the creation of IFAD at the World Food Conference in 1974. IFAD is an International Financial Institution with an exclusive focus on poverty. The Fund, over the 23 years of operations, has provided about USD 7.4 billion in development assistance to member states of the G-77 to finance 584 projects in 115 countries with a total investment cost of over USD 20 billion. In fact, IFAD is one of the major actors in the global effort to overcome poverty and improve the living standards of the rural poor in the G-77 countries. Through IFAD-supported programmes and projects more than 200 million G-77 nationals have been assisted in their struggle to achieve a life of dignity.
The Group of 77 plays a crucial role in international relations and it is particularly important that this role be further strengthened in the future, to fulfil the objectives and goals of the Declaration of the G-77 Summit Conference held at Havana in April 2000.
Following the Havana Summit, at the Millennium Summit in September last year, world leaders agreed on the goal to reduce the proportion of those living in extreme poverty by half by 2015. This Millennium Summit poverty target is of great importance for both South-South cooperation as well as North-South collaboration.
The 10th Session of the Intergovernmental Follow-up & Coordination Committee hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran is the first such meeting of developing countries following the Havana Summit. It has the vital responsibility of giving operational and concrete shape to the policy declarations made by the leaders of the developing countries at Havana.
IFAD is fully committed to supporting these important efforts. Indeed IFAD is itself an expression of South-South cooperation combined with North-South cooperation. The Fund´s operations help to transfer experience and expertise among developing countries, sharing knowledge on the most effective ways to address poverty such as microfinance that opens the door to credit, even to the poorest people, and allows them to increase their incomes and escape from poverty.
The Fund is also in regular dialogue with developing countries on ways to help them to benefit, rather than become the victims, of economic changes such as globalisation, the emergence of new agricultural technologies and the information revolution. We look forward to intensifying these efforts even more in the coming years.
The goal of ending poverty and hunger remains a daunting challenge. At the same time overcoming poverty is vital to help build vibrant societies that can prevent conflict and social strife as well as contain AIDS and other mass diseases. It is a goal that is within our reach if we show the will and determination to achieve it.
IFAD stands fully ready and committed to joining hands with the Member States of the Group of 77 to work together to bring about a World free of poverty and hunger.
Towards this shared goal, may I offer my best wishes for productive and fruitful discussions at the IFCC-X Meeting and the most successful outcome of your deliberations.