Ms. Liz O' Donnell T.D.
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs

at the International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, Mexico
18th-22th March 2001

Address by Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, to the Plenary Session of the International Conference on Financing for Development, Monterrey, Mexico.

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Government and people of Mexico for the warm welcome they have extended to us and for the magnificent facilities they have placed at our disposal.

I should also like to express my support for the statement given to the Conference by the Prime Minister of Spain on behalf of the European Union.

Mr. President,

Our mutual interdependence, in a globalised world, requires mutual solidarity and a huge collective effort to address poverty and injustice - the root causes of violence, conflict and terrorism. However, it would be shameful if the security and economic self interest of rich countries were seen to replace humanitarianism as the key motivation for development assistance.

We support the poor, the weak and the dispossessed not because they represent a menace or threat to our contented lives. We help them because it is morally and ethically the right thing to do as members of the human family.

The human capacity and instinct to help a fellow human being in need is what makes us civilised. The retention of that basic humanitarian value has never been more important to state and affirm. It would be to diminish the legacy of thousands of humanitarians, and many decades of development cooperation, to allow that motivation to be displaced or downgraded.

ODA must also be made more effective. Donors must end the proliferation of donor driven aid projects. We should align our activities in support of country owned poverty reduction strategies. The best development is owned and inspired by developing countries themselves.

To maximize its impact, our development assistance should be completely untied.

In order to fulfill their part in the new development partnerships, our developing country partners need to make a reality of the Monterrey Consensus provisions on good governance, democracy, the rule of law and market oriented policies.

Mr. President,

Ireland believes that it is time for the donor community to take concrete steps to implement the long standing commitment to the UN ODA target of 0.7% of GNP.

In Ireland's view, it is inconsistent for the international community to identify a series of time bound development goals without also making corresponding time bound financial commitments to ensure that the goals are achieved. The goals will remain purely aspirational without the money to make them a reality.

Ireland, therefore, made a commitment to the UN Millennium Summit that our ODA would reach the UN target by 2007. This commitment has been reflected in our national budgetary process. Ireland's programme of development cooperation will increase by 55% in 2002 to meet an interim target of 0.45% of GNP.

Health, particularly the fight against HIV/AIDS, and education are the key priorities in our partnerships with developing countries. We agree that a healthy and educated workforce is not a by-product of development, but a pre-requisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals through economic growth that lifts the poor out of poverty and develops social capital.

We support an inclusive global process for the identification of an agreed list of Global Public Goods.

Our NGOs and Missionaries have made a huge contribution to development through the implementation of effective programmes
delivered at low cost and with total commitment to support for the poor. Our partnership with them will deepen as we increase our funding to meet the UN target.

The Doha WTO Ministerial meeting demonstrated how developing countries can effectively promote their interests while making a major contribution to global trade negotiations.

We are committed to the effective implementation of the Doha Development Agenda. Ireland will contribute an additional 1.5m euro in 2002 to trade capacity building in developing countries. Developing countries, particularly the Least Developed, must be in a position to promote their rights and interests in the new trade round if we are to make further progress towards a fair world trade order.

Ireland recognises the achievements to date of the HIPC Initiative. We are, however, unconvinced about the adequacy of relief, particularly for countries with high HIV/AIDS burdens.

We sympathise with the proposal in the New Economic Partnership for African Development that the long term objective should be to link debt relief with costed poverty reduction outcomes. We believe debt relief for the HIPC countries should be considered in relation to the finance needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. This means that human development indicators should be taken more fully into account in the debt relief process.

Mr. President

Ireland's national development experience demonstrates that, given the right domestic conditions, globalisation, powered by trade and investment, can transform an economy and raise living standards dramatically.

The Monterrey Consensus provides the foundation for a global effort to mobilise development finance, from all sources, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. What is needed now is resolute action and ethical political leadership. We must deliver on our promises and rhetoric if we are to ensure that the twenty first century sees measurable progress in reducing poverty and ending the huge income gaps in our very unequal world.

Thank you.

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