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G-8 adoption of development measures would mark step towards greater progress

New York, 4 July 2005
Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries are expected to back a number of development initiatives that can constitute a step towards greater progress for the world's poor, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in Libya.

Speaking to reporters in Sirte, where he attended the African Union (AU) Summit, Mr. Annan voiced hope that the G-8 will back trade initiatives at their meeting later this week in Gleneagles, United Kingdom.

"I hope the leaders will commit to ensuring the trade round, the Doha Round, is really a development round and it levels the field for the developing countries to be able to gain access to markets and compete without richer countries giving subsidies to their producers, which really undermines the competitiveness of goods from the developing world."

Most developing countries, given the chance, "would prefer to trade themselves out of poverty rather than live on handouts," he said.

The adoption of development initiatives by the G-8 would mark an "important step forward, and we should be grateful for that," the Secretary-General said, adding, "but it is not the whole story."

Moving forward, he said it would be necessary to intensify the partnership between the North and the South "and really make it work for the benefit of the poor."

For their part, he added, many African governments "are trying to improve governance and transparency and we should support and encourage them to do it."

Looking to the 2005 World Summit to be held at UN Headquarters in September, Mr. Annan said some 175 national leaders planned to attend, making it potentially the largest summit meeting in history.  "They have important decisions to take on development issues and on UN reform," he said.

The Secretary-General has presented a set of proposals as a basis for discussion which aim to promote development, security and human rights for all. They range from reaching
development assistance to expanding the UN Security Council to replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a Human Rights Council whose members would be elected by the General Assembly.
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