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International community ratifies its support for relaunching Peru-Ecuador Binational Plan

LIMA, Peru – The Internacional Advisory Committee for the relaunching of the Peru-Ecuador Binational Development Plan for the Frontier Region held its fourth meeting today in conjunction with the activities of the 45th annual assembly of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank. The Committee was established in the Extended Agreement  of Peru and Ecuador for Border Development and Friendship in order to advise the two countries and assist them in achieving the objectives of the Binational Plan.

The Committee was informed of the relaunching of the Binational Plan by Peru’s  President Alejandro Toledo and Ecuador’s President Lucio Gutiérrez in a Presidential Joint Declaration on Nov. 7, 2003. The International Advisory Committee gave its firm support to relaunching of the Binational Plan and agreed on the importance of the role of the private investment in developing the border region. Several Committee members pledged specific action to make their support effective. The Committee emphasized the importance of exploring the use of innovative financial mechanisms for public and private participation that will accelerate the construction of a system of transportation corridors in the frontier region.

The relaunching of the Binational Plan ratified the Plan as a State policy for both countries with the objective of overcoming poverty in the frontier region and emphasized the importance of the help from the International Advisory Committee in executing the Binational Plan and in mobilizing resources for its financing.

Iglesias presides

IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias presided over today’s meeting of the Advisory Committee. In remarks inaugurating the session, he noted significant advances in development of the frontier region since Peace Agreements were signed in Brasilia in 1998, and he praised efforts of the two countries to carry out the Plan as a priority.  Iglesias pointed out that investments from national resources of Peru and Ecuador represent 35 percent of the total undertaken under the Plan, a significant amount considering the development level of the two countries.

Ecuador’s Vice Minister for Foreign Relations, Ambassador Edwin Johnson, emphasized the need to complete the projects of the Binational Plan. To achieve its purpose it is necessary to permanently count on the commitment of the International Community to support the joint effort of the two countries. Assistance should be focused on obtaining the participation of the private sector, which will generate employment and wealth for the region, he added.

Peru’s Vice Minister of Foreign Relations, Ambassador Luis Solari, said the relaunching of the Binational Plan constitutes a renewed effort to advance the program despite reduced fiscal resources and the restrictions on debt and public spending because of macroeconomic stabilization programs. He asked the international community to promptly carry out innovative, creative financial mechanisms that will increase the resources available for public investment. He also asked for new grant resources for the Frontier Region and assistance for the promotion of private investment there.

Members of the International Advisory Committee expressed their interest in reviewing the possibilities of grant financing for Binational Plan projects, and they emphasized the importance of bilateral and multilateral assistance for programs to reduce poverty and protect the environment in infrastructure projects.

The Advisory Committee agreed to establish a special mechanism for the participation of the private sector in order to promote investment in the region. At the same time, the Advisory Committee was informed of the Second Forum on Integration for the promotion of private investment that will take place on May 13, 2004 in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Finally, the Committee agreed to evaluate in a next meeting the results of action undertaken by Peru and Ecuador, as asked by the Presidents of both countries in the declaration for the relaunching of the Binational Plan.

Members of the Advisory Committee ─ in addition to Ecuador, Peru and the IDB ─ include Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United States, European Union, Andean Development Corporation and United Nations Development Programme. Canada and the World Bank, and, most recently, Belgium, are observers.

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