Appeal to Governments from European NGOs on our minimum expectations for the outcome of the Monterrey Financing for Development Conference


By:  Martin Koehler and Robin Round
 January 25, 2002

These seven points collectively constitute the minimum outcome required for a successful Financing for Development process. If governments cannot agree to these actions we are concerned that, as has been the case with other conferences in the 1990s, the commitments will remain unimplemented and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be unachievable. 

We believe that the lack of commitment on the part of many northern governments in this process is deserving of broad public debate and we fully intend to bring the lacklustre outcome this far into the public domain, at next week’s gathering in Porto Allegre and in our own countries. The absence of concrete progress serves only to undermine this process. We fear that it will also undermine progress on the World Summit for Sustainable Development.

The following seven points are the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of what the final declaration of the Monterrey conference must include:

1) We expect that aid levels will be immediately increased and a timeframe for meeting the 0.7 % of GNP target will be agreed. The timeframe must be consistent with the deadline for achieving the MDGs.

2) We expect an explicit mandate for the UN to explore possible measures to enhance the stability of the international financial system, including the taxation of currency transactions (CTTs), as well as an explicit reference to CTTs as an innovative source for the financing of sustainable development.

3) We expect that the sustainability of foreign sovereign debt will be measured against the needs of indebted countries to achieve the MDGs, that debt relief for exceptional cases will not be linked exclusively to HIPC eligibility, and that additionality is principle of all financing of debt relief.  

4) We expect fair and transparent arbitration processes that allow a fresh start for sovereign debtors, based on a neutral decision making body, the right of all stakeholders to be heard, the protection of debtors basic needs, and the institution of an automatic stay of debt servicing.

5) We expect that the regulatory frameworks for trade and investment will be evaluated against their impact on poverty eradication, environmental protection, gender equity and food security and that they be revised to become a tool for achieving the MDGs.

6) We expect reform of the international financial institutions and a participatory review of the composition of their decision-making bodies to ensure the equitable participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. We expect the WTO to guarantee that its full membership will be adequately represented in all of its bodies and working groups and that civil society organizations will have the right to observe all proceedings.

7) We expect independent external evaluations of the international financial institutions’ performance and operations including their social, environmental and gender impact to allow critical public debate.

On the follow-up to the Monterrey conference, we expect that the GA will be enabled to monitor the achievement of the MDGs and, in particular, the implementation of the results of the Monterrey Conference, by rededicating the existing UNGA´s high-level development dialogue, from 2004 on, as a Forum for the highest economic authorities, open to all stakeholders. It must have the mandate to design innovative mechanisms for enhancing democracy in global economic decision-making. 

European non-governmental organizations have so far participated in the process "Financing for Development" in good faith, expecting nothing less of our governments. What we have witnessed however, are ongoing attempts by several industrialized country governments, including EU members, to derail the conference. These include:

-          upsetting the balance that characterizes the FfD approach, between international/systemic challenges and domestic problems in developing countries, putting all political emphasis on the latter

-          rejecting any proposals aimed at concrete reforms of the existing structure of global economic governance

-          avoiding committing a single dollar more in official development assistance and watering down proposals to raise public awareness and public money for development

-          minimising their own share of the responsibility for development and maximising the role of the private sector and trade liberalisation in taking care of the world’s poor.

-          introducing precise language whenever developing countries are concerned, while insisting on vague niceties when it concerns northern governments or international financial institutions.

The original call for the FfD process was based on the informed consent, north and south, and between all stakeholders that global economic governance and the international financial system must serve all people if they are to work well. If they continue to primarily serve the interests of the wealthy and the strong, then this will further erode the trust of the people in the role of multilateral efforts to find global solutions to their problems.

As NGOs representing millions of people, we cannot support a process that claims to make a difference while it does not. In the following weeks, you have an ultimate opportunity to refocus this conference on people-centred, gender sensitive, environmentally responsive, equitable and sustainable development, to mobilise the means to achieve the MDGs, to address the crippling debt burden of developing countries, the inequitable terms of world trade and the democratization of global economic decision-making. If you fail to reflect the concerns of civil society and the majority world in multilateral processes, you will have failed the millions who put their trust into the Monterrey conference and provided further incentives to those who take their concerns to the streets.


Raisa Sinelnikova, Counter Part, Belarus

Bogdan vanden Berghe, Broederliyk Delen, Belgium

Yvon Bartelink, University Center of Development Cooperation, Belgium

Desislava Lotskova, Bulgarian Gender Studies Foundation, Bulgaria

Helle Nielsen, KULU Women and Development, Denmark

Lioba Diez, Kairos, Germany

Peter Eisenblaetter, Terre des Hommes, Germany

Jens Martens, WEED, Germany

Peter Lanzet, Church Development Service EED, Germany

Juergen Kaiser, Jubilee Germany, Germany

Julia Clones, Mediterranean Womens Study Center, Greece

Martin Koehler, Campaign to Reform the World Bank, Italy

Svetlana Shakirova, Center of Gender Studies, Kazakhstan

Ellen Verheul, WEMOS, Netherlands

 Han van Putten, Evert Vermeer Foundation, and Netherlands

Gunhild Orstavik, ForUM, Norway 

Philo Morris, Medical Mission Sisters International, United Kingdom

Belen Vazquez, Actionaid, United Kingdom

Oksana Kisselyova, Liberal Society Institute, Ukraine

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