“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.