at the United Nations International Conference
on Financing for Development Monterrey, Mexico
The Honourable Saufatu Sopoanga
Minister of Finance, Economic Plannig and Industries
15-19 October 2001
Tuvalu shares the words of appreciation expressed to you, Your Excellency
Mr President, your Government and the people of Mexico, for your kind
hospitality in hosting this Conference.
Like the currents of the vast Pacific Ocean expectantly reaching this
great land, Tuvalu has come to Monterrey with great hope. That out of this
great city there will emerge strong political will to address wealth
disparity and poverty, and create opportunities equitable to all.
A mere six months ago the world, including we in the Pacific, were to be
proven unfortunately through terror, that we cannot continue to see as
normal a world where, according to the World Bank, less than 20 percent of
the population dominates 80 percent of its wealth and dollar income. Such
a world has led to utter poverty and lack of opportunities amongst the
disadvantaged; it has also allowed for human rights abuse and brewing of
terror and insecurity worldwide. This situation is simply unacceptable,
and we appeal for efforts to address it.
The principles and directions proposed in the outcome document for our
consideration are well formulated. In our view, however, our mission here
and the actions thereafter must remain focused on the ultimate goal of
this Conference, and that is financing for development. Our success will
be judged not on the rhetoric here, but on the partnerships and actions
ensued post Monterrey.
Partnerships on financing for development, in our opinion, can only be
real and meaningful if properly contextualised to the perculiar situations
of development partners based on mutual trust, understanding and respect
of each other’s roles and responsibilities. In our own small way, Tuvalu
is committed to the principles of good governance, democracy and the rule
of law and fully respects the rights of individuals, women and children,
businesses and non-governmental bodies to participate in, and have access
Like the many extremes of the small island developing States in the
Pacific and in other regions of the world, however, the poverty nature of
Tuvalu is defined by its unique smallness, islandness, and isolation,
which all translate into a series of vulnerabilities. There is a wealth of
spirit, and there are also potentials especially in our vast ocean
resources. What challenges us most is the lack of opportunities to develop
our people’s ability in development let alone to integrate into the world
Our capacity to develop solutions to the chronic problems of basic
infrastructures particularly for transportation, affordable energy, fresh
water supply, health services, quality education as well as to improve
institutional regulatory, financial and management frameworks, moreover,
is highly limited due to the lack of financial and technical resources.
These basic handicaps are made even worse by environmental risks of global
warming and sea level rise for which the vulnerability of Tuvalu is well
known. They have made our islands highly unattractive to any foreign
direct investment. In these regards, every measure to reduce costs and
mitigate risks through innovative partnerships for economic growth, and
particularly for the long term security and survival of SIDS will be
greatly useful, and appreciated.
Clearly, overseas development aid is indispensable to the development of
small island developing States like Tuvalu. For us ODA has been, and is
the development budget. The sustenance of vital services to our people
through innovative partnerships such as the Tuvalu Trust Fund would not
have been possible without ODA, and I would like at this juncture to
acknowledge with sincerity Tuvalu’s appreciation to all its development
partners, particularly Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, the
European Union and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
We are, however, extremely worried by the overall continuing decline in
ODA. We are therefore heartened by the US initiative of substantial aid to
developing countries, and hope that some of it would trickle across to the
On the latter, and particularly in the advent of continuing reduction in
the global volume of ODA, every legitimate source and proven commitment to
international efforts against poverty and insecurity must be welcome. The
substantial contribution that the Republic of China on Taiwan has made to
international development in practically all regions of the world, in our
view, should be recognized. The United Nations and its specialized
agencies can no longer ignore the reality of the fact that the ROC has
been and will continue to be a responsible player in international
affairs. We strongly feel it is time that proper representation of the ROC
in these bodies is allowed to be considered seriously.
On the effectiveness of aid, there is a great need to improve procedures
both for the formulation, procurement and implementation of projects and
programmes to ensure that they are locally owned and not donor-driven.
Experience has shown that projects with direct ownership by the local
people and communities have higher chances of success than those
formulated without proper dialogues and consultations.
Moreover, our experience in the Pacific has also shown that the role that
regional co-operations play in development is extremely important.
Partnerships with the collaboration of regional bodies to compliment
national efforts, and through the creation of regional development
financing facilities to address poverty of access to international
financing are practical measures for us, and need to be seriously
Finally, the role of overseas employment and remittances play in small and
vulnerable economies like Tuvalu is also vitally important. We therefore
appeal that ODA be also complimented through innovative schemes of
overseas employment and reduction in costs of transfer of remittances from
migrant workers. Partnerships to address this will be useful particularly
Whilst appreciative that each country has the primary responsibility for
its own development, it cannot be overstated that for SIDS like Tuvalu
sustained economic growth and development are restrained by the realities
of life endowed on us. Left on our own, these and our long term survival
cannot be assured. The proposed “Monterrey Consensus” must translate into
fulfilling our hope for a more prosperous and secure world for our
children. We fully support its adoption.
I thank you.