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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (March 24, 2002 – FSM Information Services)---President Leo A. Falcam and his delegation were in Mexico last week to participate in the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development (March 18 – 22).

The conference, the United Nations’ first highest-level meeting of financial policy makers, was organized to set an agenda on national, international and systemic issues relating to financing for global development.

The aim of the conference was to ensure that financing and development objectives and priorities of developing states, detailed in the September 2000 UN Millennium Summit Declaration, are considered as part of the global agenda for financing and development.

For the Pacific Island nations, the Conference provided an opportunity for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to share their financing and development experiences with donor countries and to secure international responses to fundamental issues that may impact economic, social, and political development in the Pacific.

The FSM joined other developing countries to call for meaningful reform of existing international finance and development institutions to ensure that recipient countries have a greater stake in the development and implementation of measures undertaken by these institutions.

During the Heads of Government Plenary Session, President Falcam underscored the difficulties faced by most of the Pacific Islands in the rapid onset of globalization.

"Coming from a small island developing state, too often we find that we are not adequately represented in global economic discussions that will impact our daily lives, and that we are often not considered for loans and projects due to our small economy."

He encouraged the assembly to work together for an effective solution to the pressing issues, and strive to fulfill UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s earlier expression, to make the 21st Century, "the century of development for all."

In the efforts to achieve development for all, President Falcam said, "Let us not neglect the special circumstances of the smallest and most vulnerable members of the world economic family -- entities such as the Federated States of Micronesia and other small island nations."

The President urged the conference to consider the following elements as the basis to affect decisions and/or plans for the betterment of implementing policies:

1. Ensure macroeconomic stability: Financing for development should build the necessary conditions in developing countries including small island economies to become less vulnerable to shocks.

2. Improve economic growth: Financing for development should ensure economic growth reaches the poor so they become increasingly productive participants in society.

3. Improve the efficiency of basic social services: Financing for development should ensure that mobilized resources are sufficient and targeted to advance education and health which play such a vital role in alleviating poverty and accelerating broad-based growth.

4. Economic growth should be environmentally sustainable: As nations achieve higher growth and greater reliance on their own resources, the fragile environment and invaluable biodiversity will surely face greater threats. Thus, a sensible, gradual path toward sustainable development will promote better planning, resource utilization, and environmentally sustainable growth patterns. Financing for development should integrate these important elements as necessary conditions.

President Falcam said the most important task before the group was to "change the mindset of these organizations and agencies.

"Different circumstances require different approaches. As we are all too well aware in Micronesia, that models originally designed for projects in the mountains of South America or the deserts of Central Asia will not be most effective when applied to the FSM."

Development issues addressed at the conference include:

1. Confronting the challenges of financing for development: a global response

2. Mobilizing domestic financial resources

3. Mobilizing international resources for development: FDI and other private flow

4. International trade as an engine for development

5. Increasing international financing and technical cooperation

6. External debt

7. Addressing systematic issues

8. Staying engaged

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, as well as representatives of civil society and the business sector were among the entities that participated in the conference.

Over 54 heads of government or state and 300 finance, trade, foreign and other ministers were in Monterrey for the UN meetings.

Included in the President’s delegation were: UN Ambassador Masao Nakayama; Secretary John Ehsa; Secretary Sebastian Anefal; Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary, Jane Jimmy Chigiyal; Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary, Carl D. Apis; Economist Steven George and Sgt. Wensper Raymond.

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