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Chairman of the G77 and China, and Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson has called for an end to aid conditionalities and the use of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries. He was speaking in New York on Saturday (Sept. 17), at the opening session of the 60th Annual General Assembly of the United Nations.
He said the practice of applying the weight of economic power to pressure developing countries for political reasons was wrong, as it caused severe hardships and jeopardized development efforts. He said developing countries must be given the opportunity to act effectively, adding that the timing and quality of resource flows were also important.
Mr. Patterson said that despite some positive developments in the assistance to developing countries including the gradual recovery of private foreign direct investment, increase in the ODA of some developed countries, debt relief and cancellation, as well as the renewed focus on Africa and HIV/AIDS, there were still cause for concern.
Among the concerns cited by the Prime Minister were the net transfer of financial resources from developing to developed countries and the sudden erosion of trade preferences that have created significant hardships for many developing countries. He noted that many of these countries were without the resources and time necessary to diversify their export base.
“The net result is that there have been insufficient new resources available to the vast majority of developing countries to invest in meeting long-term development goals,” Mr. Patterson stated.
He pointed out that in addition to Africa there were other countries with unique development challenges such as the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. He stressed the need for the urgent implementation of the special assistance programmes for these countries, which were reaffirmed in the High Level Plenary conducted ahead of the General Assembly.
Turning to the matter of international trade, Mr. Patterson said this must become the engine of growth and that the policies, rules and modalities must have a development focus. He questioned the failure to fulfill the Doha Mandate for a Development Round, adding that firm instructions for special and differential treatment must be give to Trade Ministers ahead of the Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.
“We are sending only the feeblest of messages from the High-Level Plenary to our Trade Ministers; but unless they are given firm instructions to afford special and differential treatment for developing countries, the December meeting in Hong Kong will, like Seattle and Cancun, yield a dismal collapse,” the Prime Minister asserted.
He said that despite the disadvantages, developing countries have delivered on their commitments and have achieved economic growth and increased their domestic resources and foreign exchange reserves. He also spoke of the strengthening of South/South cooperation and the programmes agreed on at the Second South Summit in Qatar in June of this year.
“There has been a strengthened focus on South/South cooperation which has seen trade among developing countries growing faster than their total export trade, and an increasing flow of investment,” Mr. Patterson said.
He pointed to the Petrocaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement signed between Caribbean Governments and Venezuela, as well as the establishment of the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Assistance, as examples of intensification of South/South cooperation.
Mr. Patterson said the people of the world were convinced that world leaders had the power to eradicate poverty and that once there was the political will, they could prevent genocide, combat terrorism and ensure the inalienable right to human dignity for all persons. He called on all leaders to spare no effort in building a world were every man, woman and child, could realize their true purpose and enjoy the fulfillment of life.