The statement was held on October 13th under agenda item 84 (Financing for Development), and went as follows:
At last year’s High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, ministers agreed that lack of genuine political will was the most important reason for our failure to live up to the consensus from Monterrey. Unfortunately, this is still the case. We all know what needs to be done, but for the most part we fail to do it – and often blame others for our failure. This rhetorical "shadow-boxing" must come to an end.
Norway holds the view that national governments have the primary responsibility for economic and social development in their countries. Only by taking full responsibility for our own policies can we hope to move forward. We do, however, acknowledge that in a globalised economy, international factors play an increasingly important role. Good governance and the rule of law should therefore be pursued at both national and international levels simultaneously.
Developed countries must meet their commitments on trade, aid and debt relief under Millennium Development Goal number eight. Developing countries must demonstrate their willingness and ability to improve governance, fight corruption and pursue sound economic policies. And together we must improve the pro-development coherence of the intergovernmental system.
I welcome the report by the Secretary General on the follow-up to Monterrey, and have particularly noted the following points, which deserve our immediate attention:
- In many developing countries progress has been modest in improving transparency, accountability in government, implementing the rule of law and fighting corruption.
- At the same time, many developing countries have improved these governance factors, but still fail to attract investment, at home or from abroad.
- The latest business cycle has again underscored the limited capacity of many developing countries to conduct counter-cyclical monetary and fiscal policies.
- Despite the recovery in economic growth in many developing countries, unemployment and underemployment remain high.
I highlight these observations to make the following point: Private investment, domestic as well as foreign, is the most important source of long term financing for development. However, proactive policy measures, including finance, are needed by governments, in developing and developed countries alike, not only to improve the livelihoods of people in the short term, but also to create an attractive investment climate in the long term.
This is why, as the Secretary General also states in his report, ODA needs to be doubled from the 2001 level if we are to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Moreover, additional financing is needed to enable developing countries to achieve debt sustainability, and further multilateral efforts are needed to follow up the welcome impetus to the Doha Work Programme and ensure that its development dimension is fully achieved.
The Norwegian government is taking these challenges seriously. As a matter of fact, our Minister for International Development plans to visit the United Nations later this month to present in person Norway’s report on its efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goal number eight.
At this stage, I will therefore confine myself to the following points:
Norway’s ODA will be increased next year, to reach 0.95 per cent of GNI. My government has informed the Norwegian parliament of our intention to reach 1 per cent. We note with interest all proposals for innovative financing as long as they are realistic, practical, implementable and truly additional to increased ODA.
On debt, we welcome the extension of the HIPC initiative and urge all donors to shoulder their fair share of the financial requirements, including 100 per cent bilateral debt cancellation for HIPCs. Norway has launched a plan of action called Debt Relief for Development, where debt relief is seen as an instrument for development, with an emphasis on countries emerging from war and conflict. Norway will refrain from claiming interest and repayments from post-conflict countries, and we hope to convince other creditors to join us. We welcome the Framework for Debt Sustainability in Low-Income Countries, put forward by the World Bank and the IMF, as a useful point of departure for discussions on how to ensure prudent lending and borrowing in the future. We are supporting, also financially, the multi-stakeholder consultations on sovereign debt for sustained development under the follow-up to Financing for Development.
On the Doha Development Agenda, we welcome the agreement reached on 1 August and hope all members will engage constructively in finding solutions to the outstanding issues. We are convinced that all WTO members, developing as well as developed, have a common interest in a strong rules-based multilateral trading system. Bilateral and regional agreements are only second-best solutions, and sometimes they are even detrimental to development, as appropriately pointed out in the Secretary General’s report.
Before I close, Mr Chair,
I would like to underline that all development strategies must be based on sustainability - not only financial, economic and social, but also environmental. This was made clear at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, which stressed the need for better coherence between economic, social and environmental policies. To contribute to such coherence, I should like to highlight, also in this context of macroeconomics and Financing for Development, two environmental issues of particular interest to my delegation:
The challenges caused by rapid urbanisation and the urbanisation of poverty are immense: at present more than one billion people live in slums, and the number is projected to rise to two billion over the next 30 years. Norway has noted with satisfaction the important contributions of UN-HABITAT under the able leadership of Anna Tibaijuka to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration target on slums, and to the global monitoring of progress towards this target. I would like to highlight the innovative efforts of UN-HABITAT to link city financing needs with domestic and foreign capital. Norway will closely study the results achieved and the experience gained through the pilot project that is under way .
Finally, in April this year, the Commission on Sustainable Development - CSD-12, under Norwegian chairmanship, took stock of the progress made in achieving international targets and identified the challenges ahead, in the fields of water, sanitation and human settlement - all crucial for development and poverty reduction. CSD-13, to be held in New York in April next year, should strive towards simple, action-oriented recommendations. Mobilization of investments from the private sector is of crucial importance, but this is not sufficient to fill the water and sanitation gap for the poorest. There is a need for private-public partnerships and ODA commitment. As with Financing for Development, the work of the CSD would benefit from full and active participation by all relevant ministers, as well as key UN agencies, financial institutions and international organisations.
Only through full policy coherence can we aspire to meet our common goals of sustainable development and poverty reduction.