Background

CEB addressed the item entitled “Follow-up to Monterrey: financing for development” on the basis of a note prepared by the Financing for Development Office of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and finalized in the light of HLCP discussions at its last session. The note identified a number of areas where further steps were needed to advance system-wide implementation of the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development. The areas covered included domestic resources, private resource flows, trade, financial cooperation for development, debt and systemic issues. In the note, CEB was invited to focus on the advocacy role of Executive Heads and on actions that could be taken at the managerial and inter-agency levels, including in relation to policy advice and programme delivery at the country level.

The Secretary-General observed that the Monterrey conference had been a landmark event from at least two points of view. It had introduced a new comprehensive compact between developing and developed countries and, as part of that compact, it had led, for the first time in years, to a reversal in declining official development assistance flows. It had also begun the process of repositioning the United Nations on economic issues and had done so by bringing to a qualitatively new level the relationship between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions. Both of these were crucial requirements for progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs briefed CEB on the outcome of the General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on the follow-up to Monterrey, which had resulted in a frank assessment both of areas of progress and of setbacks in implementation.

Discussion

While acknowledging areas of progress, Executive Heads expressed concern that implementation was lagging behind in many key respects. Donor countries needed to do a great deal more to deliver on their commitments in Monterrey and on the numerous pronouncements and pledges made in Monterrey and reiterated at the High-Level Dialogue. This applied both to official development assistance levels and to market access for the exports of developing countries. In some key sectors, negative trends in official development assistance flows persisted. This was the case, for instance, with regard to agriculture: despite the adoption of the goal to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015, the amount of official development assistance devoted to agriculture had actually declined by 50 per cent. In addition, debt relief continued to be slow and inadequate.

CEB recalled that the Monterrey Consensus was a call to action for both the developed and developing countries. The Board’s overall assessment of the state of implementation was that developed countries needed to do much more to deliver on their commitments, while developing countries should continue to make progress in creating an enabling environment for their own development. The United Nations system’s contribution to the effective follow-up of the International Conference on Financing for Development would continue to focus on enhancing advocacy and advancing system-wide coherence, particularly by strengthening collective approaches to policy advice and programme delivery, at all levels, especially the country level.

Action

CEB decided to actively pursue the follow-up to the Monterrey Conference in the overall context of the integrated follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, particularly the Millennium Summit.