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Asha-Rose MigiroDr. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, remarks to the press and to the Second High-Level Symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum held in Luxembourg 18 and 19 October 2011

 

UNITED NATIONS
The Deputy Secretary-General

Remarks to Press at Second High-Level Symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum

Luxembourg, 18 October 2011

I want to begin by thanking the host of the Second High-Level Symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum -- the Government of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has been a true development cooperation champion. It dedicates a high share of its Gross National Income to aid. And it has also spearheaded efforts to improve the quality of aid worldwide.

As I said earlier in my opening remarks of the symposium, we are meeting at a time of economic crisis and profound uncertainty. The poorest are being hit hardest. The Secretary-General and I are both deeply committed to strengthening the development work of the United Nations.

This High-Level Symposium has brought together a wide range of leaders and experts to advance our thinking on vital issues and to spur further action to meet the Millennium Development Goals and promote sustainable development.

In these times of fiscal austerity measures, it is worrisome that aid budgets are often the first targets.

We must resist this trend. There should be no going back on the the fight against poverty, the empowerment of women, youth employment programmes or education, food and nutrition security . Development commitments made should be development commitments kept.

At the same time, we must work together with renewed dedication to maximize the development impact of aid.

Developing countries must find ways to raise additional domestic resources and create the conditions for investment to flourish.

Donors must find ways to leverage the impact of limited development assistance monies on other financing for development.

Both must work together so that aid helps to strengthen tax systems, promote access to inclusive financial services and attract foreign direct investment.

In the end, we know that any policy should find its ultimate test in the improvements it brings into the lives of people, and on the poorest and most vulnerable in particular.

This should be the yardstick against which we identify good practices and policies that work.

I want to once again thank all those who have gathered here in Luxembourg to do just that.

Thank you.


 

Remarks to the High-Level Symposium of the Development Cooperation Forum.

Madame le Ministre,
Mr. President [of ECOSOC],
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you.

On behalf of the United Nations, let me extend my gratitude to our hosts, the Government of Luxembourg.

It is fitting that we gather here. Luxembourg has been a true development cooperation champion. It dedicates a high share of its Gross National Income to aid. It has spearheaded efforts to improve the quality of aid.

We meet at a time of economic crisis and profound uncertainty. The poorest are being hit hardest. The Secretary-General and I are both deeply committed to strengthening the development work of the United Nations. I know you are, too.

Over the past five years, the Development Cooperation Forum has evolved into a vibrant multi-stakeholder platform representing the wide reach of the United Nations’ Member States.

The DCF has kept us alert about trends in development cooperation and on commitments made. It has identified aid quality issues and advanced our understanding of policy coherence and South-South cooperation. And it has shown how to improve mutual accountability between donors and programme countries.

The Forum is now reviewing how development cooperation can best advance the outcomes of the 2010 MDG summit and the Fourth High Level Conference on Least Developed Countries earlier this year. It will also reflect on Rio+20 and a post-2015 development agenda.

Today’s meeting is further testimony to the ability of the DCF to advance our thinking on an issue of vital importance to the world’s people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As countries around the globe develop fiscal austerity measures, aid budgets are often the first targets.

We must resist this trend. There should be no going back on the MDGs. Development commitments made should be development commitments kept.

I hope that next month’s Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan will say this loud and clear.

At the same time, we must work together to maximize the development impact of aid -- the theme of our Symposium.

Developing countries must find ways to raise additional domestic resources and create the conditions for investment to flourish.

Donors must find ways to leverage the impact of limited development assistance monies on other financing for development.

Both must work together so that aid helps to strengthen tax systems, promote access to inclusive financial services and attract foreign direct investment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The mobilization of additional resources can, however, only be a first step.

We must also ensure that additional funds go where they have the greatest development benefits.

More aid needs to go to the most vulnerable. This is critical to fight rising inequalities within countries.

We must also address the stubborn problem of so-called “aid darlings” and “aid orphans”. Aid should be allocated based on needs.

We also have more work to do to advance policy coherence for development.

Progress on trade and investment rules, financing facilities and intellectual property rights are all essential if we are to unleash the catalytic potential of aid.

Since much aid is channelled outside the formal budget process, developing countries often do not know how much may be available to them and for what purpose.

The diverse modalities of development assistance have also made it more challenging for developing countries to use aid and other resources to best support their development priorities.

We will discuss how aid management and other policies can maximise the impact on development.

Greater mutual accountability is essential to improve aid quantity and quality.

Yet we know that progress in establishing accountability mechanisms has been soberingly slow. I understand that yesterday’s Expert Group Meeting provided some good ideas. Let us be sure to follow up.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we engage in these two-day discussions, let us keep in mind what matters most.

Any policy should find its ultimate test in the improvements it brings into the lives of people, and on the poorest and most vulnerable in particular.

This should be the yardstick against which we identify good practices and policies that work.

Let us fully use the potential of the DCF to build agreement and understanding on major trends and the responses we must pursue.

I wish you very fruitful deliberations.

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