The karma of conferences

  • 29/04/2002

What was India's position at the International Conference on Finance for Development (FfD)?
India has been working for a long time on this question of the conference itself, and Kamlesh Sharma, our permanent representative in the UN was the first, I think, chairperson of the working group for preparing the document.

There have been reports that India asked for a system of global taxes of some sort at the meeting...
When I made interventions on behalf of India, I mentioned some proposals. For instance, a tax on capital flows or pollution taxes. But I was advised that we should only mention these generally in the plenary session statement, so they don't become India's 'proposals'.

Could it be that India does not do any homework, and therefore has no firm proposals to put on the table at international conferences?
That is probably a slightly mistaken impression. In putting forward a proposal, you don't want to stake the position so far out of line with everybody else that the proposal just becomes an academic proposal. A better way may be to introduce the idea as a principle, and then go on building an environment for it to be accepted by everyone.

Don't you think there was support for these global taxes from not just civil society, but also from governments? For instance, the French government expressed support.
President Chirac made a very fine statement, but ultimately it depends on whether all 190 countries in the UN are willing to go along or not. I think, at the root is persuasion.

What is this other device? Stronger alliances between the developing countries themselves, and between the developing countries and the European Union...
Yes, that's a very important point. But by alliances it does not mean

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