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International community supports national development plan proposed by Nicaragua


MANAGUA – At a meeting of the Consultative Group for Nicaragua the international community voiced support for a national development plan proposed by the Nicaraguan government as a new vision for the country and for accelerating economic growth and reducing poverty reduction. In their constructive sessions, delegates emphasized Nicaragua’s need to deepen institutional reforms to strengthen democracy and the rule of law and ensure transparency. Donor nations and multilateral agencies also agreed to work with the Nicaraguan government to better coordinate their efforts and improve the effectiveness of official development assistance.


Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolaños opened the Consultative Group meeting held on October 27-28 in Managua and chaired by the Inter-American Development Bank. In his speech, President Bolaños said that, through actions started since he took office, his administration was restoring its people’s and the international community’s trust in Nicaragua.


Addressing more than 200 delegates from 21 donor countries and 22 multilateral agencies and leaders of Nicaragua’s civil society and private sector, President Bolaños proposed an alliance between Nicaragua and the international community to support a National Development Plan (PND) that will help his country forge its own future through a sustainable process.


“Now that we have restored your trust in Nicaragua, because it is a new Nicaragua, we invite you once again to help us live with dignity, to stand on our own legs,” he said. “We ask your help in establishing a new institutional framework, in building a new relationship between the State and the citizens based on a new political and social ethics.”


In his closing statement, the chairman of the Consultative Group’s meeting, Miguel E. Martínez, manager of the IDB’s Regional Operations Department for Mexico, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, highlighted the achievements of the Bolaños administration but said Nicaragua needed to carry out a major institutional reform in order to create conditions to grow at rates that will radically reduce poverty.


“This institutional reform will only be possible through a great effort of national unity, bolstered by a firm commitment on the part of all political parties and Nicaraguan society,” Martínez said.


The delegates agreed with the Nicaraguan authorities’ assessment of the urgent need to deepen institutional reforms, particularly in the judiciary and the electoral system, in order to professionalize and depoliticize their ranks by passing and implementing legislation such as a civil service law. The donors urged all Nicaraguans to support these efforts.




During the meeting, international community delegates praised the Nicaraguan government’s campaign against corruption and impunity, the steps taken to ensure public sector transparency, the macroeconomic stability maintained despite harsh domestic and external conditions, the measures planned to expand its tax base, its leadership in seeking to improve donor coordination and the vision for the future proposed in the PND.


Nicaraguan authorities outlined the key components of the PND, a long-term plan aimed at boosting the economy’s competitiveness, reducing poverty, focusing social services on the most needy, modernizing the public sector, strengthening governance, and improving donor coordination. According to Nicaraguan officials, the PND would constitute a “second generation” of the enhanced poverty reduction and growth strategy (ERCERP) it is currently implementing.


Delegates also welcomed the constructive comments on the proposed plan from civil society and private sector leaders, mayors and governors of Nicaragua’s autonomous regions.


The international community delegates expressed their support for the PND’s proposed framework and goals and made recommendations to enrich the initiative. One of their key points was that the process of consultations with political parties, civil society and the private sector should be expanded and deepened to ensure a broad participation in the setting of priorities for its implementation.


Delegates commended the PND’s broad sector approach and the introduction of a territorial dimension that will help advance the process of decentralization and pay particular attention to the needs of the autonomous regions and areas with high concentrations of poverty. They suggested that cross-cutting issues concerning equity, gender and natural resources management be strengthened to ensure that the plan’s development impact is sustainable and that its benefits are shared by the most disadvantaged groups of the population.


Participants welcomed news that Nicaragua is close to obtaining the full benefits of debt relief under the initiative for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). They encouraged the government to maintain macroeconomic stability, an indispensable condition for achieving higher growth rates and a lasting reduction of poverty levels.


Nicaragua is also preparing to take advantage of other potential opportunities at regional and international levels. The proposed PND takes into account the need to boost the economy’s competitiveness and create conditions to attract more investments and generate more jobs. Donors noted Nicaragua’s efforts to advance in its integration with other Central American economies and major foreign markets through instruments such as the free trade agreements it is negotiating with several countries in the Americas and Europe.


The Consultative Group’s delegates welcomed the Managua Declaration, which puts forward a shared vision of development and an agreement between Nicaragua and the international community to use aid resources more efficiently. Donors recognized that there is ample room for harmonizing their procedures to gain flexibility, avoid duplication and cut costs.


The international community, encouraged by Nicaragua’s progress, stated that it will continue with its strong financial and technical support for Nicaragua in coming years.


The Nicaraguan government proposed that the Consultative Group meet in mid-2005 to analyze the progress on the issues addressed at the Managua meeting.


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