Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

  The International Conference on Financing for Development is one of the stages of a process that can be seen to have started with the Millennium Declaration, and will end with the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. As a Conference, however, it also represents a turning point for the United Nations.

  As part of the process of redefining the aims, modalities and methods of development cooperation, FfD can be seen as part of the continuum that started with the Millennium Declaration. In September 2000, the largest ever gathering of heads of state and government agreed, at the United Nations, to a comprehensive set of precise, time-bound targets on peace, development and human rights. These goals were by no means all new. In fact they had originated in the great cycle of conferences of the 1990s, starting with the World Summit for Children of 1990, and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development of 1992, and ending with the Conference on Human Settlements of 1996. In between these two dates, United Nations conferences included landmark meetings on environment and development, population, human rights, crime prevention, empowerment of women, small island states, social development and housing. Many of the targets, especially in the area of development, were also included in the OECD vision of International Development Targets. These development targets were then expanded, as agreed in the Millennium Declaration, and supported by indicators and are now agreed to by United Nations agencies as the Millennium Development Goals.

  The MDGs are then the targets of development cooperation, as agreed by the international community, both donors and developing countries.

  At Monterrey, starting with an original draft that focused on increasing levels of ODA, enhanced trade access, and debt reduction, as the centrepiece of the FfD process, delegations agreed to a final outcome document that brings the balance back to internal sources of financing for development. The conditions for a global deal were therefore set. Developing countries would focus on mobilizing domestic resources, implementing sound economic policies and transparent, good, governance that would serve to attract foreign investments. For their part, developed countries would ensure that an open trading system, accelerated debt relief and increasing levels of ODA would provide the necessary external sources of finance, and a level playing field for developing countries.

  During the Monterrey conference, the Millennium Development Goals emerged as an objective, internationally agreed, means of keeping both sides, developing and developed, to their ends of the global deal. MDGs provide a benchmark against which the performance of development partners can be measured, and progress towards the achievement of internationally agreed targets of development cooperation assessed.

  Following Monterrey, the challenge for the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development is to take this global deal, and operationalize it; to devise the means, the specific development policies that will allow the Millennium process to move forward.

  In addition to being a pivotal point in a continuum of conferences, however, the International Conference on Financing for Development, was itself a turning point in the process of decision-making at the United Nations. In the months leading to Monterrey, preparations were jointly undertaken by national delegations, by civil society organizations and by the business sector. This is the first time, in UN history, that civil society and business organizations participate in the discussions leading to an agreed outcome. In previous conferences held under UN auspices, both civil society and business organizations participated in parallel fora, and sometimes made presentations to the conference. In FfD, both civil society and business were part of the negotiations at every stage of the preparatory process. Furthermore, with an agreed outcome document ready some six weeks before the conference itself (again a first in UN global conferences where the practice is to negotiate language in a main committee during the conference itself), the focus at Monterrey centred around Ministerial and Heads of State and Government round tables. Both civil society and business organizations participated in this dialogue. Heads of State and Government, ministers from developing and developed countries (51 Heads of State and Government, and 200 ministers), thus had an opportunity for a face-to-face dialogue with the organizations of civil society and business on global economic issues.

  Finally, in addition to process issues, three major decisions emerged from the Monterrey conference:

    1.  An increase in ODA commitments: a. The European Union increasing ODA to an average of 0.39 per cent of GDP, thus requiring an EU floor of 0.33 per cent, by 2006. This would imply, depending on GDP levels an increment of $7 billion annual by 2006. b. The United States will increase it's ODA level to an additional $5 billion dollars over three years, starting in fiscal year 2004. By 2007, therefore, ODA levels would have increased by $12 billion annually, approximately or roughly a 20-25 per cent increase over current ODA levels.

    2.  General agreement on the elements of a structure of development cooperation with mutual commitments by developing and developed countries, with the MDGs serving as a benchmark.

    3.  A move towards improved coherence of development cooperation at the interministerial level in developing and developed countries (viz. The presence of development, trade, finance and foreign ministers at the conference). Also, improved coherence between the United Nations, its programmes and funds, and the World Bank, IMF, WTO and regional development banks. This latter agreement will be further strengthened in the context of ECOSOC discussions with the Bretton Woods institutions.


April 2002

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