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Antiguan elected to UN roundtable on external debt

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June 24 New York :Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Finance and the Economy, Dr. Errol Cort has been nominated by the member States of the Latin American and Caribbean region to serve as a Co-Chairman of a United Nations Ministerial round table on external debt, to be held during next week’s United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. The overall theme of the dialogue is: “The Monterrey Consensus: status of implementation and tasks ahead.”

“I am indeed grateful to the Latin American and Caribbean group for this magnanimous gesture,” said Minister Cort, “and I intend to ensure that the region’s concerns, as they pertain to external debt, are brought to the urgent attention of the international community.” 

The Minister also thanked Ambassador Dr. John W. Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United Nations, for his efforts. He then went on to add that “as I did in my previous interaction with my counterpart Ministers at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development discussions on financing, I fully intend to convey the particulars of my country’s own burdensome external debt situation, which my government inherited from the previous regime, and the steps we have taken or intend to take to alleviate this burden, while at the same time underscoring the critical need for assistance from the international community, if we are to be successful in this endeavour.”

The dialogue, which take place among Ministers of Finance and Development Co-operation, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of the World Bank, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and the Director-General of the World Trade, will consist of a series of plenary and informal meetings to constitute a policy dialogue on the overall theme. In addition, there will also be six (6) interactive multi-stakeholder round tables on the themes based on the structure of the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, which was held in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002. Noting that the Dialogue will also provide him with an opportunity to consult with some of his counterparts from some of the major lending countries, Minister Cort said that “I will use every opportunity available to conduct bilateral consultations with some of our external debt holders, to explore further modalities for reducing our considerable debt burden.”

The six (6) round tables and their respective topics are: Round table 1: Mobilising domestic financial resources for development; Round table 2: Mobilising international resources for development: foreign direct investment and other private flows; Round table 3: International trade as an engine for development; Round table 4: Increasing international financial and technical co-operation for development; Round table 5: External debt; and Round table 6: Addressing systemic issues: enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development;

In addition to representatives of Governments; participants in the Dialogue will also include representatives of observers (non-UN member) States, entities of the United Nations system and accredited institutional stakeholders; United Nations accredited civil society organisations and business sector entities.

The output of the Dialogue will be issued as an official document of the General Assembly, and will provide an input on financing for development to the preparatory process of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2005.

This meeting will be attended by Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and other Heads of State and Governments, at which time they are expected to consider and adopt wide ranging recommendations on UN Reform as well as recommendations on the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals including those contained in the Millennium Declaration (MDGs).

The High-level Dialogue will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 27-28 June. In addition to Minister Cort, the Antigua and Barbuda delegation will consist of Ambassador Dr. John Ashe and Ms. Janil Greenaway.

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