The strategies and decisions agreed in Doha, Monterrey, and Johannesburg set out a framework for fighting poverty and achieving the internationally agreed goals of the Millennium Declaration, based on countries pursuing sound policies and good governance, combined with stronger international cooperation and support. We met today to assess progress based on the first Global MonitoringReport. Wewel-comed the report, which provides a good basis for our yearly review. Building on this work, future reports should focus on the agenda of monitorable actions in the identified priority areas in order to reinforce accountabilities and enhance cooperation among all development partners.
We recognize that there has been progress on many fronts, including significant reforms undertaken by developing countries and important gains in reducing income poverty. However, we are very concerned that, based on current trends, most Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be met by most developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. All parties, developing and developed countries and the international institutions, must urgently enhance concerted action to accelerate progress toward these goals.
Sustainable and inclusive growth needs to be accelerated in many developing countries, in particular through improving the enabling climate for private sector activity; strengthening reforms, capacity, and focus on results in public institutions and improving the quality of governance; scaling up effective investment in infrastructure; and ensuring access to health care, education, and other basic social services and fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Specific priorities must be determined at the country level in the context of country-owned and -monitored development strategies, as reflected in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers in the case of low-income countries and respective national strategy frameworks in middle-income countries. We look forward to reviewing progress on the Bank’s efforts to enhance its support for development in middle-income countries at a future meeting. Given the cen-trality of faster and more equitable economic growth for making greater progress on the MDGs, we welcomed the efforts of the Bank to support stronger investment climates in developing countries, and we intend to discuss improving the climate for private sector activity at our next meeting. As we have noted previously, infrastructure investment within the right policy environment makes a fundamental contribution to economic growth and achievement of the MDGs. The implementation of the infrastructure action plan of the Bank has been reviewed by the Board of Directors, and we look forward to a discussion on progress at our next meeting.
Developed countries must meet their commitments to help accelerate progress. Sustaining stable, balanced, and strong growth in the global economy is a prerequisite. Ensuring a successful, prodevelopment, and timely outcome to the Doha Development Agenda is critical to global growth and the economic prospects of developing countries. We stressed our commitment to a constructive and determined effort to move the multilateral trade agenda forward. We again stressed that it is essential for developed countries to do more to liberalize their markets and eliminate trade distorting subsidies, including in the areas of agriculture, textiles, and clothing, which are of particular importance for developing countries. At the same time, we emphasized the importance of trade facilitation and liberalization efforts in developing countries. We welcomed the Bank’s continuing efforts to promote trade facilitation and the Integrated Framework, as well as the IMF’s recently adopted Trade Integration Mechanism, which will provide additional support and assurances to developing countries as they integrate further into the global trading system. We also urged continued efforts to tailor Bank lending activities to support capacity building and country-owned trade initiatives. We noted the growing importance of migration and, with it, workers’ remittances and called for further work to improve understanding of their determinants and to create a supportive environment to enhance their development impact.
More aid is also required. It should be predictable, timely, long term, and more effective. We urged developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts toward the target of 0.7 percent of GNP as official development assistance. A substantial and timely agreement on the funding of the International Development Association (IDA) will be a critical affirmation of our commitment to mobilize the resources for our support for strong, results-oriented action by partners in the poorest countries.
We noted a progress report on financing modalities, and we look forward to a report at our next meeting on aid effectiveness, absorptive capacity, results-based measurement mechanisms, and elaboration of policy options and financing mechanisms for mobilizing additional resources (including examining an international finance facility, global taxation, and other proposals). More aid can be sustained only by showing positive results. This requires a strengthened effort to implement the Declaration of the Rome High-Level Forum on Harmonization and the Core Principles of Marrakech, including strengthening country capacity to manage for results. We support the work by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC), jointly with development partners, to address the continuing divide between agreed global policies and detailed operational procedures and country-level practices.
We also recalled that the international financial institutions are accountable for their contribution to implementing the Monterrey Consensus. Key areas for action include harmonization, managing for results, and responsiveness to clients. We urged them to increase their efforts to identify and meet needs of client countries. Taking into account fiscal constraints facing clients, we encouraged the Bank to consider innovative products, improve internal efficiencies, and simplify the application of lending policies in order to reduce the costs of doing business while respecting fiduciary and safeguard standards.
In April 2002, we endorsed the plan to help make primary education a reality for all children by 2015 and achieve gender equality in primary and secondary education by 2005. The Fast Track Initiative (FTI) was designed to address the data, policy, capacity, and resource gaps that constrain progress in achieving Education For All. Its implementation has highlighted the potential as well as the challenges associated with scaling up the MDG agenda more generally and, in particular, the need for credible, effective, and predictable financing in support of adequate policies and programs. The experience of the FTI so far has demonstrated that it should be anchored in countries’ poverty reduction strategies if it is to be effective. We urged all countries, developed and developing, to take the additional steps required to make this initiative succeed and requested the Bank Board to continue to monitor progress.
We also reviewed implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and recalled the importance of full creditor participation for its success. Thirteen countries have reached the completion point, and another 14 are between decision and completion point. However, 11 countries, several of which are affected by conflict and some with protracted arrears, have yet to either reach the decision point or begin establishing a track record under an IMF-supported program. We urged the World Bank and the IMF to help facilitate these countries’ rapid access to HIPC debt relief when their outstanding issues are addressed. We also urged that careful consideration be given to options to deal with the HIPC sunset clause, which is scheduled to take effect end-2004.
We broadly supported the principles underlying the proposed framework for debt sustainability in low-income countries while acknowledging that the modalities and operational implications remained to be clarified. We stressed the need for a consistent and coordinated approach among borrowers, creditors, and donors to ensure that resources to low-income countries are provided on appropriate terms, including the degree of concessionality and level of grant financing. This must build on full implementation of the HIPC Initiative. We also welcomed work by the IMF and the World Bank on measures and instruments to assist low-income countries in dealing with exogenous shocks and urged them to accelerate their work, in close collaboration, for early consideration by the Boards.
Strengthening the voice and participation of developing and transition countries in the work and decision making of the Bretton Woods institutions remains a major challenge. We welcomed the further progress, particularly on capacity building, made since our last meeting, including the establishment of the Analytical Trust Fund to support the African chairs and a secondment program at the Bank. We look forward to receiving reports from our Boards on all aspects of this issue and to further discussion at the 2004 Annual Meetings.
The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Washington, D.C., on October 3.
Photo credits: Denio Zara, Padraic Hughes, Eugene Salazar, and Michael Spilotro for the IMF.