Feminists and other stakeholders consolidated a position in the upcoming Follow-Up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus in Doha, Qatar from 29 November to 2 December 2008.

The Monterrey Consensus is the result of the United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico and encompasses six areas: domestic resources mobilisation; foreign direct investments and private capital flows; international trade; international financial and technical cooperation; debt; and systemic issues. Albeit hinged on the Milennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Monterrey Consensus has been largely criticised for its process and framework. Even during the preparatory meetings several years ago, social movements complained of their minimal participation and the conference's market-driven approach.

This observation was echoed by the position submitted by the Women's Working Group which gathered last June in New York, United States. Moreover, it highlights the alarming bilateralism in trading practices which resulted in the abdication of states, especially from the global South from upholding the public interest and investing in social services.

“Much more needs to happen to address the national, international and systemic challenges of financing development spawned by an environment of intensified and unregulated trade and financial liberalisation processes that often bear unpredicatable negative consequences for productivity, growth, employment, poverty eradication and income distribution goals,” the position reads.

The position is informed by a gender analysis that places emphasis on women's wages, employment and unpaid labour; state of social reproductive and social protection capacities, resources and services; and within-country and within-household sharing of financial risks and shocks. The Women's Working Group proposed the following key recommendations in relation to the six areas of the Monterrey Consensus:

  • Promote Participatory and Gender Responsive Budgets.
  • Strengthen the national commitment to and enforcement of Decent Work.
  • Utilise progressive and fair taxation schemes including tax rebates and tax relief for the poor and women.
  • Convene within the United Nations and at the soonest possible time, an inter-governmental meeting addressed to how governments can efficiently and in an effective way manage their competition for FDI and other capital flows.
  • Strengthen at the national sphere the rule of law and citizen's access to information and the legal system in order to compel investors and traders to behave as “good citizens.”
  • Actively apply special and differential treatment and less-than-full reciprocity as principles for trade negotiations.
  • Support and strengthen women's meaningful involvement in multi-stakeholder oversight processes and mechanisms related to trade agreements and reforms at all levels.
  • Ensure additionality and predictability of aid flows.
  • Remove conditionalities and strengthen mutual responsibility, accountability and transparency of donors and recipient countries.
  • Develop gender-sensitive indicators, tools and methodologies for the evaluation of the quality and development effectiveness of aid.
  • Undertake a more critical round of review and redefinition of the Debt Sustainability Framework that should involve not only national governments but also civil society including women's rights organisations.
  • Loans and debt cancellation must be de-linked from conditionalities
  • In the UN, a political dialogue must be initiated to deal with the question of odious/ illegitimate debts.
  • Continue to ensure that FFD follow-up mechanisms, consultative processes, and opportunities for technical inputs in all of its multi-stakeholder arenas are effective spaces for consistent and regular inputs on gender equality by women’s rights organisations and networks and gender equality experts.
  • Financing to address the food and climate crises should not be in the form of loans.

Sources:
Marie, Dennis. (April 2002). “Monterrey: U.N. Conference Reveals Stark Differences.” In IMF/WB: 50 Years is Enough. URL: http://www.50years.org/cms/ejn/story/103

Women's Working Group. (June 2008). “Formal Submission to the Financing for Development Review Process” from the Women’s Consultation on Financing for Development, held at the Church Center, New York, 16-17 June 2008. URL: http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/doha/hearings/civilsociety/WC_submission.pdf

United Nations Development Fund for Women (July 2008). "Women’s Working Group Develops Recommendations on Financing for Development." URL: http://www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=709

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