NGO Committee on Development -- Vienna
Statement on the International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, 18 to 22 March 2002
The NGO Committee on Development (Vienna) held several meetings and seminars on the question of Financing for Development. These were attended by interested representatives of the Permanent Missions to the UN Vienna as well as of NGOs. Taking into account the discussions and the contributions made at several meetings the following statement has been issued by the Board of the Committee.
We have taken note of the Draft Outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development - Monterrey Consensus (A/AC.257/L.13 of 30 January 2002) in which governments reiterate their commitments confirmed by the General Assembly in its United Nations Millennium Declaration with regard to development and poverty eradication. We refer especially to the goals agreed upon by heads of state and government to implement, i.e. eliminate poverty, improve social conditions, raise living standards as well as protect our environment. We recall that the NGO community will monitor carefully the implementation of the above commitments and urge governments to do their utmost to advance the deadlines formulated in the Millennium Declaration (halving the number of poor by 2015 and reaching ODA of 0.7 % of the GNP) and to make sure that all the pledges contained in the various documents will be effectively realised.
Referring to NGO papers on related topics we would like to draw the participating states' attention to the fact that the gap between rich and poor countries is continuously widening caused by gross discriminatory terms of trade due to the system of so called Globalisation. A system, characterised by the disastrous policies of the international financial institutions, such as deregulation, privatisation and cutbacks in social services, leading to massive job losses, increasing environmental degradation and escalating impoverishment of more and more people. The dependence of most developing countries on export of commodities and the protectionism of the rich countries leads to a decline of commodity prices which is one of the major factors for depriving developing countries of needed resources.
The International Monterrey Conference must put people before profits. NGOs,
therefore, call on governments to act in this spirit.
-- Donor governments must establish a timetable for meeting the 0.7 % ODA target as demanded for nearly thirty years by the UN and reiterated in the Millennium Declaration. A start should be the UN Secretary General's challenge to double contributions to a 100 billion USD within the next two or three years.
-- Governments must ensure the broad participation of civil society, particularly of women, in economic decision-making.
-- Governments must ensure that trade rules are fair, people-centred and gender sensitive - this means to reverse the trend of protecting the super-profits of the Trans National Corporations at the expense of the vast majority.
To meet these demands governments are urgently asked to adopt a plan of action, which contains binding deadlines for the implementation of agreed policies.
We would also like to draw the attention of governments to the call of NGOs for the immediate cancellation of debts of impoverished countries and for the establishment of a fair arbitration process in future. In this respect we are convinced that a Corporate Accountability Regime is urgently needed. Apart from that we consider that the Draft Conference Outcome fails to question the democratisation of the International Financial Institutions
Referring to Article 9 of the Monterrey Consensus, reiterating that "Peace and development are mutually reinforcing ... " we are deeply concerned about the fact that a number of governments of developed countries are increasing their expenditures for the "War against Terrorism" and that their military budgets are higher than ever before.
Vienna, March 2002