BAN STRESSES ROLE OF ‘GROUP OF 77’ DEVELOPING NATIONS IN ADVANCING UN PRIORITIES
28 September - From achieving global anti-poverty targets to tackling climate change and other critical environmental issues, the bloc of developing nations known as the “Group of 77 and China” has a vital role to play in ensuring progress on a host of priorities on the United Nations agenda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“In all of these challenges, the strong leadership of the Group of 77 and China will be crucial,” Mr. Ban underscored at the Group's annual ministerial meeting, which took place at UN Headquarters on the margins of the high-level debate of the General Assembly.
“Your varied experiences… your rich perspectives all combine to enhance our debates and ensure that we build sustainable solutions for all,” he added.
The Group, commonly known as the G77, was established in 1964 by 77 States but now represents more than 130 countries, usually including China. Its chairmanship is currently held by Yemen.
Mr. Ban outlined the important role played by the Group in several areas, including their “crucial” participation in last week's summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the targets to slash hunger, poverty, disease and a host of other social and economic ills by 2015.
The active engagement of the G77 is also vital, he said, on sustainable development issues and in setting a clear, strong agenda for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012 – also called Rio+20.
“In the long-term, all governments must work to build environmentally friendly foundations of national economies,” added the Secretary-General.
He also cited the critical leadership of the G77 when it comes to reaffirming the role of the UN in global governance, a central theme of the Assembly's current session.
“Nothing matches the legitimacy and global presence of the United Nations,” said Mr. Ban. “We have the widest membership and can ensure that the smallest and least powerful nations retain a voice in international rules and decisions.”
Assembly President Joseph Deiss also underscored the vital role of the Group in working together in shaping better global governance.
“The strength of your group is not only in size – that represents almost two-thirds of the United Nations membership and which spans across world regions. Many members of your group are also increasingly being recognized as emerging economic powers,” he told the meeting.
Mr. Deiss noted that for many years the G77 has been an important driving force of many global economic and development issues on the Assembly's agenda, adding that the worldwide attention paid today to the MDGs and the issue of financing for development is due to the perseverance of the Group.