Member States stressed the unequal benefits of globalization and the urgent need to implement commitments made at the 2002 Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) focused on those topics in two meetings today.
Pakistan’s representative noted that globalization had yielded benefits for only a small part of mankind –- the part that could do without them –- at the expense of the larger expanse of humanity that could not. It had boosted economic growth, expanded global trade, increased investment flows and connected regions and peoples. But it had also increased the digital divide, widened income inequalities and concentrated economic power in the hands of a few.
Similarly, Morocco’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, highlighted the failure of trade liberalization to yield universal social and economic benefits, the unresolved debt burden, inadequate official development assistance (ODA), and the lack of international attention for commodity problems. He also underscored the need to repair damage from recurrent financial crises in emerging economies, ease trading tensions and narrow income and technology gaps.
He added that fears about the effectiveness of global economic institutions had been growing, and the recent failure at the Cancun World Trade Organization (WTO) talks had done little to relieve them. The international community must address asymmetries in international finance, trade, technology and investment patterns that were having a negative effect on development.
Other speakers noted that, while global trade and investment may have risen, the share of least developed countries (LDCs) in world exports had remained under 0.04 per cent. In addition, trading sectors of particular interest to developing countries, such as textiles and agriculture, were being liberalized at a slower pace than those benefiting developed countries, such as information technology and telecommunications.
Anwarul Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said globalization had left LDCs particularly vulnerable to external events, bearing the main brunt of the global economic downturn, despite wide-ranging efforts they had made to reform their domestic policies. Their best efforts to improve investment climates in their countries and attract larger flows of foreign direct investment were insufficient without support from their development partners.
Introducing his summary of the recent High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, General Assembly President Julian Hunte (Saint Lucia) said participants had stressed the need for increased efforts to implement the Conference’s outcome, the Monterrey Consensus. They called on States to submit progress reports on commitments to mobilize resources, increase ODA and private capital, create fair trading rules, reduce external debt and improve economic governance.
Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, Peru’s representative urged the international community to draw developing countries into global decision-making, increase transparency in the international monetary and financial systems, and move resources towards development and democratic governance. The international community must also combat asymmetric trade relations, implement strong social policies, and reform the international financial architecture into an authentic multilateral system.
Other speakers echoed the appeal for a fair and predictable multilateral trading system, calling on developed countries to open up their markets to exports from developing countries, eliminate customs tariffs and reduce agricultural subsidies. States must also redouble their efforts to eliminate external debt and increase ODA, which had increased in real terms by a mere 5 per cent in 2002, compared to 2001, reaching no more than $57 billion. That figure was far below the needs of developing countries, in general, and least developing countries, in particular.
Also speaking were the representatives of Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Malaysia, Russian Federation, Bahrain, San Marino, India, China, Saint Kitts and Nevis (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Suriname, Armenia, Iran, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, United States, Norway and Mexico.
A representative of the Financing for Development Office of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs also spoke, as did a representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).