04/05/2005 - As part of a drive by the world’s richest nations to inject new vigour into flagging world trade and development negotiations, OECD Ministers meeting in Paris have reasserted their countries’ commitments to the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus on development.
In a three-page statement setting out principles and priorities, they promise to “significantly increase the volume of (their) collective aid”, as agreed in the Monterrey Consensus.
Five donor countries (Denmark, Luxemburg, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden) currently meet the target of giving 0.7% of gross national product as overseas development aid, and others have committed to reaching this target by a specific date. “Fulfilments of these commitments would further increase aid volumes from $78.6 billion in 2004 to $115 billion by 2010.”
But the OECD countries also emphasise the responsibilities of individual countries for their economic and social development. “Sound macro-economic policies, good governance based on solid democratic institutions and accountability responsive to the needs of the people ….and an environment within which the private sector can thrive are keys to sustained economic growth, poverty eradication, employment creation and environmental sustainability,” their statement says.
Corruption is a major impediment to development and investment, the OECD countries warn. In their statement, they pledge to help developing countries build effective anti-bribery systems. But they also insist that increased aid must be accompanied by more effective use, and that aid programmes must be monitored and measured for their effectiveness.
On the economic policy front, the OECD countries recognize that they have a role to play in creating a favourable environment for growth. “Macro-economic policies should be set so as to generate stable growth, low inflation and sustainable public finances, which will assist countries by lowering the cost of finance and providing steady export growth,” the statement says.
They also acknowledge their responsibility to ensure compatibility between their policies and the needs of developing countries. “To spur growth and reap the full benefits from interaction between developing and developed countries, we will strengthen synergies among policies and take into account their impact on developing countries.”
Asserting the importance for economic growth and development of an open, rule-based and non-discriminatory trading system, the OECD countries undertake to “make all efforts, with a heightened sense of urgency, to ensure that the Doha Round delivers substantial benefits to developing countries.”
Their goal, they say, is to ensure completion of the Doha Development Round negotiations by the end of 2006. But here, too, they acknowledge that the developing countries will need extra help.
“Enhanced technical assistance and capacity building, particularly for the least developed countries, are also important,” the OECD statement says. “We will work together with developing countries to enhance their productive capacity, to meet adjustment needs and to take advantage of new trade opportunities, including south-south trade.”
See the full text of the Statement