back to NGO Documents

STATEMENT BY THE DEVELOPMENT CAUCUS TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE AT UNGASS ON JUNE 26, 2000

"BETTER WORLD FOR ALL OR BRETTON WOODS FOR ALL?"

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates and friends. My name is Meena Raman, speaking on behalf of the Development Caucus, which is a gathering of development NGOs both from the north and south.

Firstly, we congratulate Ambassador Maquieira on his introductory remarks today and agree that the UN is at the crossroads and that this meeting will mark the direction towards social development.

Many of the key issues on the enabling environment are still within square brackets. We as development NGOs have been consistently demanding that governments commit themselves strongly on key issues concerning debt, the reformulation of structural adjustment programmes, currency transaction taxes and so on. We have also demanded that the rich countries meet their commitments on development assistance as has been promised previously.

Precisely because the UN is at the crossroads that we have very serious and grave concerns about the colourful pamphlet entitled " A Better World For All" which has been co-authored between the Secretary-General of the UN and the heads of the OECD, IMF and the World Bank which is being launched today.

At the moment when this conference is addressing very difficult issues as the enabling environment for social development this pamphlet presents a series of recommendations to developing countries as being the result of international agreements. Among them, the opening up of their markets for the flow of imports, exports and finance. I come from Malaysia, a region where the currency crisis created havoc on the countries and peoples, largely as a result of financial liberalisation.

There is an emerging amount of data and analysis to support the view that the unbridled opening up of the markets of developing countries does not necessarily generate growth and social development but does the converse. This is evident, even from the recent Trade and Development report of UNCTAD itself.

The high level marketing effort to promote this "BW for all" as a new manifesto at the beginning of this special session confuses the public with a message that can be easily understood as emanating from the GA of the UN itself. We are extremely concerned with the co-authorship of this document between the Secretary General of the UN and the OECD, World Bank and IMF. The OECD, World Bank and IMF and their policies have come under heavy criticism and are recognized as being responsible for the deepening of poverty and inequalities and the social disintegration in the developing world.

It is with deep regret that the UN secretary general, who should speak for all, is speaking in one voice with a minority of rich nations and two international organizations which this same minority control. Hence, we are worried about the perception of bias within the offices of the secretary general of the UN.

Distinguished delegates, it is up to you and the progress of your work to ensure that the voice of the majority of the countries and peoples of the world are heard, understood, recognized and reflected at least at this Social Summit. We sincerely hope that you reflect the spirit and concerns of civil society, which was expressed by the rally and demonstrations on the streets of Geneva for genuine social development.

Thank you.

back to NGO Documents