Statement by Ambassador H.E. Dr. Palitha Kohona
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
The G-15 Statement at the Fifth U.N. General Assembly High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development,

7-8 December 2011, New York

Mr. President, Excellencies,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries for South-South and North-South cooperation and consultation, comprising 17 member States. We have consistently recognized during the last decade the following issues regarding Financing for Development:

 

The global financial and economic crisis has vindicated our calls for a comprehensive coherent and transparent restructuring of the international financial architecture. We call for the intensification of efforts to reform and strengthen the international financial system and its architecture, including an unbiased and effective IMF surveillance of major financial centres and financial markets. In order to reflect current realities and enhance the perspective of developing countries, including the poorest, we call for the speedy ratification of the already agreed IMF quota review and completion of all outstanding voice and representation reform in the World Bank Group and for a new quota formula that accurately reflects the relative size of developing countries in the world economy, while recognizing the importance of international collective action, cooperation and solidarity.

Mr. President,

We encourage the promotion of alternative, innovative, democratic and development-oriented financial institutions and frameworks, on the basis of those identified by the various United Nations Conferences on Financing for Development and the World Financial and Economic Crisis. The aspirations echoed in Monterrey to strengthen the UN leadership in promoting coherence and effectiveness between the World Bank, IMF and WTO remains vital. Therefore, we stress the importance of conducting a review conference in 2013 to assess the progress of implementation of the Monterrey consensus to support a new drive for international partnership for development, taking into consideration the commitment of achieving the MDGs by 2015.

Current economic difficulties coupled with austerity measures and fiscal retrenchment policies implemented by developed countries should not retract commitments to aid developing countries. Therefore, we urge donor countries for the timely implementation of their existing bilateral and multilateral official development assistance (ODA) targets made at major international fora. We also encourage the examination of innovative sources of development finance, both short-term and long-term, in particular for LDCs. While the LDCs are facing a severe tightening of capital resources, low and middle income countries that are mainly members of the G-15, are also affected being beyond ODA thresholds. Recent financial turmoil has also adversely impacted traditional sources of finance such as FDI, export revenues and private portfolio capital flows.

Mr. President,

We underline the role of trade as an engine for development and call for enacting appropriate fiscal measures to engage in development financing through, inter alia, additional debt relief measures for highly indebted developing countries. We also stress that debt relief or moratorium programmes should not be accompanied by disproportionate conditionality and fully respond to needs of recipient countries.

Mr. President,

Now I would like to make a few comments from the national perspective of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, as a lower middle income country has been firmly committed to  a strong social protection floor. Since independence, the country has provided free education from primary level to university, free healthcare, from birth to death and nutritional programmes for children resulting in our realising the MDG goals of universal primary education and gender equality and women’s empowerment.  These goals have been achieved by holding firm to traditions of democratic governance and transparency in public expenditure, where the people’s welfare takes priority.

South-south cooperation is emerging as an important instrument for development assistance. The increasing strength of emerging economies, could help to transfer valuable experience and financial support to other developing countries. The G-15 functions as a viable forum to promote South-south cooperation. Increasingly this points the way to the future and many developing countries are benefitting from it.  Sri Lanka is ready to play an active role to share in and benefit through south-south, as well as north-south-south triangular programmes. 

I thank you, Mr. President.

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