Resolution adopted without a vote by the 104th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Jakarta, 20 October 2000)

The 104th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recognising that poverty is the result of various economic, political, social and institutional processes that interact with each other and may reinforce each other in ways that can make the poor even more destitute,

Further recognising that, more than inadequate income or human development, poverty is also vulnerability and a lack of voice, power and representation,

Conscious that, today, more than a billion people live in absolute poverty and have been marginalised within society, thus being denied the opportunity to participate in productive economic life, and that in particular the number of women living in poverty has increased,

Deploring the fact that, whereas three billion men and women live on less than two dollars a day, the official development assistance provided by the majority of rich countries has declined sharply in recent years, thereby depriving the poor countries of the means to finance their development,

Affirming that far too much money from the funds received for development aid goes into repaying debts, particularly in the case of heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs),

Considering that the private capital flows that have grown rapidly in the past two decades are concentrated in a few developing countries, leaving most of the others largely dependent on official aid,

Noting that the domestic savings of the poor countries are all too often invested in unproductive expenditure and are attracted by the large capital markets of the rich countries,

Considering that trade barriers erected by industrialised countries and between developing countries severely impair the latter's economic growth and that the resulting loss of income is more than double the total amount of development assistance,

Convinced that, in some developing countries, progress is hampered by a lack of good governance,

Recalling IPU resolutions, particularly those adopted by the 73rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Lomé, 1985) on the role of parliaments and their contribution towards the elimination of poverty by eliminating the burden of international debt; the 74th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Ottawa, 1985) on the contribution of parliaments to the search for measures and actions aimed at removing the burden of foreign debt that weighs on the developing countries; the 88th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Stockholm, 1992) on the need for a radical solution to the problem of debt in the developing world; and the 102nd Inter-Parliamentary Conference (Berlin, 1999) on the need to revise the current global financial and economic model, as well as the Final Document of the Inter-Parliamentary Conference "North-South Dialogue for Global Prosperity" organised by IPU in Ottawa in 1993,

Approving the solemn commitments made by the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF to make poverty eradication and debt alleviation for the least developed countries one of the essential priorities of their activities,

Welcoming the preparations under way for the High-Level Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development to be held by the United Nations in 2001, and also welcoming all regional initiatives that seek to combat poverty and that mobilise a large number of countries with the support of international financial institutions,

Noting that the Fourth World Conference on Women defined equality between men and women as a human rights issue and as a condition for the existence of social justice,

Calls on both developed and developing countries to pursue development with a human face through economic development measures such as credit facilities for small and medium-sized enterprises, small-scale financing initiatives and household debt relief, and through initiatives in fields such as the development of health and education systems and services, the protection of human rights and environmental conservation, in the interests of human security;

Supports the introduction of such new approaches to sustainable development in the context of globalisation as would ensure economic growth, environmental protection and social development, including the creation of new jobs, while preserving the resources necessary for future generations;

Urges both developed and developing countries to promote policy dialogue on development, to aim at establishing democratic systems, good governance and high standards of transparency and to acknowledge the role of civil society and NGOs;

Urges the developed countries to provide efficient official development assistance tailored to the conditions of developing countries and to honour the commitment they have made several times to devote 0.7 per cent of their GNP to official development assistance;

Urges the developing countries to take measures to ensure that such assistance benefits the truly needy;

Stresses that debt cancellation for HIPCs and debt relief for other developing countries should be granted immediately and focus almost exclusively on poverty reduction measures that take account of the predicament of women, especially in rural areas, and on the eradication of inequalities;

Endorses proposals aimed at stemming short-term capital flows which have especially dramatic consequences for production in developing countries, and in particular supports the idea of a tax on short-term capital flows that could be allocated to a world solidarity fund managed by the United Nations, and requests the Inter-Parliamentary Union to invite the international financial institutions to present a report on the technical arrangements for, and the consequences of, the establishment of such a tax at the next Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Cuba;

Urges recipient countries to develop legal and social frameworks to ensure that the funds made available are effectively used for social and economic development and for the welfare of the people;

Endorses the call made by the international community in the 20/20 Initiative for 20 per cent of donor countries' official development assistance to be used to combat poverty and 20 per cent of the recipient countries' public expenditure to be used for basic social services, such as education, health and housing;

Stresses the need to direct national efforts away from military priorities and international trade in weapons, and towards more productive and peaceful objectives, bearing national security implications in mind;

Reaffirms that the struggle against poverty and inequality requires the existence of an effective, democratic and transparent State which is respectful of human rights; and emphasises that this struggle must promote civil and political liberties in order to empower the poor to claim their social, economic and cultural rights, and must also combat corruption, which always hits the poor hardest;

Urges the world's parliamentarians to play a central role in the implementation of development assistance measures, both at home and in the international arena.

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