Summit of Johannesburg: No hors d?oeuvres at Monterrey

Monterrey was a unique opportunity for world leaders to spawn a new spirit of democracy, accountability and justice in global development thinking. The March UN conference on Financing for Development in Mexico brought the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), private business, and NGOs together for the first time to ask today?s historic question: what is the right relationship between politics and economics in determining the future of more than half the world — the poor? This was a chance to imagine new strategies for financing development that might have given some meat to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg at the end of August. The results were disappointing. Monterrey took no decisive action towards the goal of halving world poverty by 2015, resisted a debt cancellation breakthrough, and took only the feeblest interest in an International Currency Transaction Tax to control speculative trading. It bowed to the status quo in international power relations by glossing over the need for more representative mechanisms of global governance. The NGO caucus refused at the end to endorse the ?Monterrey Consensus? which maintains the focus on trade and direct foreign investment as the engines of growth to overcome poverty — despite the overwhelming evidence that this strategy is detrimental to the poor. But Monterrey is not the last word. Civil society organisations will continue to engage in the debate at Johannesburg. For two earlier introductions to the WSSD, see HL of February and March 2002. [HL20407]