Statement by ECOSOC Deputy Representative John Sammis at the 66th UNGA Second Committee Macroeconomic Debate, ECOSOC Chamber

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 10, 2011


Mr. Chairman,

The United States would like to reiterate its appreciation for the commitment of the Second Committee Chair and Bureau to streamlining our collective work and focusing on productive outcomes. In this spirit, we have decided to combine our statements for the macroeconomic issues: trade, the international financial system, debt, and financing for development.

We have important work to do: Member States must work individually and together to strengthen economic recovery. We must also redouble efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and commitments as 2015 rapidly approaches. Progress achieved in many countries, including some LDCs, is encouraging. We should replicate those successes. However, progress on poverty alleviation remains uneven, both globally and within individual countries. In particular, fragile states have made very little progress.

A key lesson of the past decade is that sustained and inclusive economic growth plays an indispensible role in the delivery of meaningful results - whether it be in poverty alleviation, food security, education, combating disease, or tackling environmental challenges. Further, the role of women is recognized by the UN and other international organizations as the key to unlock the potential for economic development.

Financial resources alone do not guarantee developing countries a path out of poverty. But resources combined with improved governance, an enabling environment for business, investment, and entrepreneurship, and an open and transparent decision-making process involving all stakeholders, can spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. Let us redouble our commitment to support national efforts to build strong and inclusive economies which improve people’s lives. These efforts require a broadened donor base, with emerging economies, foundations, NGOs, private businesses and entrepreneurs all playing an increasingly important role.

It is important that the development-related bodies of the UN system use their unique position to support and inform the ongoing global economic recovery and reforms. In this regard, we should recognize the comparative advantages of other organizations that contribute to world economic recovery and strive to avoid duplication of efforts.

Trade is a major driver of sustainable economic development, making it critical for countries to maintain open markets. The United States believes in the importance of expanding trade opportunities to stimulate market-led economic growth and development. The best means to achieve the creation of new trade flows and meaningful market opening, particularly in the world’s fastest growing economies, is through an ambitious and balanced result in the WTO Doha Round negotiations.

The United States continues to provide technical assistance to help countries realize the benefits of making pro-market domestic reforms, and we encourage countries to make the critical reforms and investments needed to diversify exports and improve their competitiveness in the global economy. As President Obama stated at the Seoul G-20 meeting in November 2010, “just as emerging economies have gained a greater voice at international financial institutions . . . so, too, must they embrace their responsibilities to open markets to the trade and investment that creates jobs in all our countries.”

On the International Financial System for Development, this Committee must recognize the important work that has been done at the IMF and the World Bank to enhance the voice of developing countries, provide additional resources for low-income countries, and institute more effective policy frameworks. Discussions among UN bodies, including ECOSOC, and the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) provide a valuable opportunity to share perspectives and expertise in a manner that respects the mandates and governance of these various bodies.

We welcome the G-20’s work to promote strong, balanced and sustainable growth, narrow gaps in levels of prosperity, further reduce poverty, promote gender equality and contribute to job creation. We support cooperation between the G-20 and relevant UN bodies.

On debt, we have achieved significant success over the last decade on our commitments, most notably through the Enhanced HIPC Initiative, the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative and the establishment of the joint World Bank-IMF Debt Sustainability Framework. We continue to look to the Paris Club to find coordinated and sustainable solutions to the payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries to the Paris Club creditors and other significant sovereign creditors, on a case-by-case basis. Sustainable debt requires national strategies for monitoring and managing external liabilities as well as good governance and sound domestic macroeconomic policies. Governments should carefully review debt financing arrangements, and ensure transactions are firmly grounded in sound macroeconomic management and the principles of maximum transparency and accountability to their citizens.

The Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration established core principles for financing for development that will guide our consideration of this agenda item. At these historic conferences we affirmed that development is rooted at the national level, benefitting from an inclusive global partnership that draws on an array of vital resources including domestic resources, trade, foreign direct investment and other private flows, remittances, official development assistance, and South-South Cooperation. We look forward to the upcoming General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on FfD and the Secretary-General’s analytic assessment of the progress on the Monterrey and Doha agendas.

With respect to “innovative finance,” we support exploring new ideas to support development and accelerate achievement of the MDGs. However, these approaches need to be voluntary and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The United States, as the largest single provider of development assistance in the world, remains a strong supporter of the aid effectiveness agenda and core principles as outlined in the Paris Declaration and reaffirmed in the Accra Action Agenda and we look forward to the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. We would like to see more donors adhere to these principles. We should not measure development by inputs, but by outcomes -- by the movement of people from poverty to prosperity.

Mr. Chairman,

Poverty affects us all -- our moral conscience, our economic interests, and our security. The United States remains committed to working with other Member States of this Committee to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth that provides economic opportunities for all.

Thank you.


PRN: 2011/196