The 62nd session of the UN General Assembly began on Tuesday the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development to lay the ground for a review of anti- poverty promises pledged by world leaders in the 2002 Monterrey Consensus in Mexico.
In Monterrey, developing countries took primary responsibility for their development, and for mobilizing domestic resources. Developed countries, in turn, agreed to provide assistance and promote an enabling international environment for development.
Since then developing countries have worked to improve macroeconomic and fiscal management and increased social expenditure but commitments to provide new resources to support achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) have not been fully met, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Speaking at the meeting, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, said that the assembly's two-day dialogue would begin the intergovernmental follow-up process to review the implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus and assess the challenges ahead.
He encouraged government delegations and other stakeholders to engage in a frank, inclusive and open exchange of views in order to make a substantive contribution to the follow-up Conference in Doha, Qatar, next year.
"We cannot go on with 'business as usual,'" Kerim said. " Millions of lives quite literally hang in the balance. Achieving the MDGs and delivering on our promises is above all a test of our moral obligations."
"We should not allow commitments to become words that symbolize broken promises. The international community should be able to look back in 2015 and agree that no effort was spared to achieve the MDGs," Kerim said.
In his remarks at the meeting, Ban urged developed countries to honor their commitment to providing development assistance to developing countries.
"So far, progress on the Monterrey Consensus has also been mixed," Ban said. "Since 2002, levels of official development assistance (ODA), including new commitments, rose only to fall off since last year."
"More importantly, the sustained increase required to meet targets agreed to decades ago, and reiterated in 2002 and 2005, have not materialized," he said.
"Closing this funding gap is essential if we are to alleviate extreme poverty, fight diseases and achieve the other development targets," he said, adding that the challenge is even greater now with the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
"This can only happen when donors meet their ODA commitment targets, and channel more resources through national budgets," he said.
The president of the General-Assembly and the secretary-general agreed that there is a clear need to take urgent and concerted action. Without rapid progress, by 2015 there will be more people struggling in poverty, and millions of people will not realize the basic promises of the MDGs in their lives.
The two-day meeting is expected to bring together finance ministers, central bank governors and representatives from world finance and trade institutions, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations. The high-level event will prepare for the International Review Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Doha late next year.
The Monterrey conference, which was held in March 2002 in Mexico, attracted 50 heads of state or government, over 200 ministers as well as leaders from the private sector, civil society and all the major intergovernmental financial, trade, economic, and monetary organizations.
The Monterrey Consensus reached at the conference calls on developed and developing countries to undertake important actions in domestic, international and systemic policy matters.
In December 2002, the General Assembly set in motion a detailed follow-up intergovernmental process, as called for in the consensus, to monitor implementation and carry forward the international discussion of policies for financing development.