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Prime Minister P.J. Patterson in his address at the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday (Sept. 14), said developed countries should do more to assist developing countries achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The Prime Minister was speaking on behalf of some 137 developing countries, in his capacity as Chairman of the Group of 77 and China.
In his address, the Prime Minister said an assessment of the past five years since the Millennium Summit in Monterrey, Mexico revealed that developed countries have not done enough to help developing countries. He said developing countries made net transfers of over US$1,174 Billion to developed countries since 2000, noting that these negative transfers have persisted, despite commitments made by developed countries to increase Official Development Assistance, reduce debt and debt service payments to developing countries.
He said further, that developed countries have failed to sufficiently open their markets to products from developing countries, as well as encourage private investment.
“While resources from developing countries flow to developed countries without impediments, the initiatives and programmes of developed countries which would transfer resources or provide access to developing countries have either been negligible, stymied in negotiations, or surrounded with strict policy conditionalities,” Mr. Patterson said.
Despite this, the Prime Minister added that developing countries have been making significant efforts and have increased their domestic resources. He noted however that a large portion of these resources have not been available for developmental investments, as governments have been forced to use them for debt servicing, particularly to multilateral development banks, and as international reserves.
He noted that while investment flows to developing countries have recovered to levels prior to the Asian Crisis, these have mainly been directed at a few large developing countries, while flows to other regions have steadily declined. Mr. Patterson said the G77 and China was encouraged by recent commitments of substantial increases in Official Direct Financing and by the establishment of a firm timetable by the European Union for its members to reach the 0.7 per cent target of GDP. He urged other developed countries to do likewise.
Continuing, Mr. Patterson noted that there have been no real initative to address the debt of non-HIPC low income and middle-income countries, pointing out that the debt burden was too heavy for many of these countries to bear. He also stressed that to date there has been no progress in the Doha Development Round and that consultations have not yielded any fundamental instructions to advance the situation in favour of developing countries, ahead of the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 2005.
Mr. Patterson asserted that it was not sufficient to set targets, but that the implementation must be honoured in a timely manner. He said a giant step was required to achieve all the objectives and that now was the time for action.
“It should by now be abundantly clear to all of us that we cannot cross this chasm of development financing by any series of small steps. We need to make a giant step, let us do so no,” Mr. Patterson said.