Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (75, 76)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

201 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his predecessor’s attendance at the UN conference on poverty in September 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25353/04]

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Pat Rabbitte

Question:

215 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government was represented at the recent United Nations special conference on poverty; the details of commitments made by Ireland; the timescale for their achievement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25327/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 215 together.

The event to which the Deputies refer was the high level meeting of world leaders for action against hunger and poverty organised at the initiative of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Ireland was represented at the meeting by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Cowen.

The meeting took place at UN headquarters in New York on 20 September 2004. Its purpose was to discuss the findings of a technical group set up by President Lula to explore innovative sources of development financing. The outcome of the meeting was a political declaration aimed at advancing consideration of the issues raised in the report of the technical group and galvanising political support for the implementation of viable financing mechanisms. The issues addressed in the report included mandatory mechanisms such as taxation of financial transactions and the arms trade, the UK proposal for the international financial facility and special drawing rights under the IMF for financing for development. The document represented an attempt to reach consensus on possible avenues for achieving the millennium development goals by 2015.

No specific commitments were sought other than support for the political declaration. The EU Presidency delivered a statement on behalf of the 25 member states, in which the collective support of the EU was recorded.