Background

The representative of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs briefed on preparations for the review conference on financing for development to be held in Doha, from 29 November to 2 December 2008. The substantive preparations for the review conference were carried out through informal meetings in the General Assembly, under the co-chairmanship of two Ambassador-Facilitators (Egypt and Norway). The General Assembly held six informal review sessions from February to May 2008, on the major thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus, namely: (a) mobilizing domestic financial resources for development; (b) mobilizing international resources for development — foreign direct investment and other private flows; (c) international trade as an engine for development; (d) increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development; (e) external debt; and (f) addressing systemic issues: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development.

Discussion

In the discussion that followed the presentations above, frequent reference was made to the current financial crisis. It was noted that uncertainty existed over what the economic consequence of the disruption in financial markets would be — whether it would have a long- or short-term impact on the rate of sustainable growth. Members strongly supported the proposed discussion of this issue at the forthcoming CEB retreat. It was noted that the financial crisis would also be the main focus of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in mid-October. Members of the Committee had little doubt that the crisis was a major market failure, the size and significance of which would inevitably lead to re-regulation or to a redefinition of the regulations that apply to the financial markets. A period of greater caution by individuals, companies and Governments was expected. The financial crisis, however, also presented an opportunity for the multilateral system, given that there would be a greater demand for public action and, thus, for the global public system to evolve.

The Committee thanked the presenters for the briefing, which were extremely useful in assisting the Committee to scan and identify emerging programme issues that required a system-wide response.

Action

The Committee agreed to establish the joint High-level Committee on Programmes/United Nations Development Group working group on financing for development. It nominated IFAD (given its financial setting and as representative of the Rome-based organizations), the International Labour Organization (given its work on the social and normative dimensions of employment and as representative of the specialized agencies), and the World Bank, as the High-level Committee on Programmes representatives and co conveners of this group.