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Letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
on Financing for Development

February 8, 2002

The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Centre Block, 309-S
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you, as representatives of networks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in our respective countries (Australia, Canada, Finland, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom). We wish to express our deep concern about the direction of talks towards the Financing for Development Conference to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March.

The Financing for Development Conference should, clearly, put a global development vision first. But that original intent is not in evidence in the text agreed at the final preparatory meeting in New York.

Governments must agree to a clear timetable for implementing the 0.7% of GNP for aid target. This has been a commitment since 1970. The non-committal wording to undertake "to examine the means and timeframes" in the Monterrey Consensus Paper is unacceptable. The Millennium Development Goals, in fields such as health and education, will not be met by fine words alone.

Reversing current negative trends in total ODA (official development assistance) and a renewed commitment to meeting the development needs of billions of people living in poverty, are essential steps if Northern governments are to have any credibility in their championing of a fairer and safer world.

We think that, minimally, the following basic commitments are needed:

  • First, donor governments must establish a binding timetable for meeting the 0.7% ODA target and direct these resources to the goal of eradicating poverty.
  • Governments must commit to approaches to development which include broad participation in economic decision-making from civil society groups, particularly those representing women, the marginalized and the excluded within society.
  • Third, the UN must be assigned a co-ordinating role in addressing the lack of institutional democracy in the international financial and trade institutions, namely the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organization.
  • Fourth, governments must ensure trade rules promote fair and sustainable development, in particular they must reverse the pronounced trend to protect business at the expense of workers and the communities in which business operates.
  • Finally, we call for the immediate cancellation of all debt of the most impoverished countries and the establishment of a fair arbitration process for the future.

The Financing for Development conference should set the course for relations between the world’s rich developed countries and the global South for years to come.

We call on Governments not to shirk from this challenge, nor to hide behind the positions of the most obstructive international players. The USA, in particular, has limited its contribution to undermining the negotiations by rejecting progressive proposals and opting for business-as-usual. This is not the way forward.

NGOs pledge to stay engaged, representing and reporting to millions of citizens around the world in the North as well as the global South. We urge you to live up to the expectations of people around the world that the Millennium Development Goals will be financed and achieved by 2015.


  Graham Tupper
Executive Director
Australian Council for Overseas Aid
14 Napier Close
Private Bag 3
Deakin ACT 2600

  Richard Bennett
Regent's Wharf
8 All Saint's Street
London N1 9RL


  Gerry Barr
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 300
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1N 7B7

  Henri Rouillé D’Orfeuil
Coordination SUD
14 passage Dubail
75010 Paris


  Rae S. Julian
Executive Director
Council for International Development / Kaunihera mo te Whakapakari Ao Whanui
PO Box 12-470, Wellington
New Zealand
  Ville Luukkanen
Programmes Director
Service Centre for Development Cooperation (KEPA)
Sörnäisten rantatie 25
00500 Helsinki

c.c. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
       Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
       John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
       Lionel Jospin, Prime Minister of France
       Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand


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