South Bulletin 81, 25 July 2014
G77 celebrates 50th anniversary
This is a special issue of the South Bulletin. It provides many reports on the celebrations held by the Group of 77 and China to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Group’s founding in 1964.
The Bulletin especially focuses on the G77 Summit of political leaders of the South, held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, in June. It was attended by many Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and other officials.
Reports are published on:
- An overview of the Summit
- The Summit Declaration
- The speech by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales
- G77 celebrations in the Chapters in Geneva, Nairobi, Rome and also in Bonn (during the UN climate talks)
The Bulletin also has articles on the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algiers, and the 50th anniversary celebration of UNCTAD.
To download the entire South Bulletin, please click here. To read individual articles, please see below.
G77 Summit celebrates the Group’s 50th anniversary
The Group of 77 was formed on 15 June 1964 during the first UNCTAD Conference. On 14-15 June 2014, the Group celebrated its 50th anniversary at an Extraordinary Summit held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and hosted by President Evo Morales, whose country is currently the Chair of the G77 and China. Below is an overview of the Summit by Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre.
The Extraordinary Summit of the G77 and China to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Group concluded on the night of 15 June after two days of high-spirited speeches by leaders of the South and discussions on past achievements and the present challenges facing developing countries.
The theme of the Summit, “Towards a New World Order for Living Well”, was elaborated in detail by Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma, at his opening speech, and the term “living well” was referred to often by several leaders during the course of the meeting.
President Morales impressed the participants not only with his quiet but eloquent statements and his immediate responses to the speeches of many leaders, but also by the fact that he personally chaired most of the plenary session on the second day that lasted 13 hours non-stop.
Present at the Summit were Presidents or Prime Ministers from Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Gabon, Namibia, Swaziland, Santa Lucia, and Vice Presidents from Iran (who also represented the Non-Aligned Movement), Algeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Costa Rica. China was represented by the Vice Chair of the National People’s Congress.
Also present were Ministers of Foreign Affairs or other departments from many countries including Uganda, Brazil, Malaysia, Nepal, Sudan, Botswana, East Timor, Qatar, Tunisia, Chile, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Laos, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Mozambique, Kenya, Dominica, Morocco, as well as Vice Ministers and Ambassadors of many other countries.
Also present were the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who spoke at the opening ceremony and stayed for almost the whole day at the plenary of the following day, as well as UN General Assembly President John Ashe, who also spoke at the opening and stayed for the plenary.
The Summit adopted a 39-page Declaration with 242 paragraphs, structured into five main parts, with the following themes: Overall Context; Development in the National Context; South-South Cooperation; Global Challenges; and Particular needs of developing countries in special situations.
The highlight of the Opening Ceremony, held on 14 June night, was a well-structured and rousing address by President Evo Morales who traced the political history of the G77 and China and the developing countries, gave details of the current crises facing the world and the developing countries, and presented the positive experience of Bolivian development in recent years.
He then enumerated “several tasks” that needed to be done to “build another world and establish the living-well society.” These included:
- Living well in harmony with Mother Earth;
- Sovereignty over natural resources and other areas;
- Well-being for everyone and provision of basic needs as a human right;
- Emancipation from the existing international financial system and construction of a new financial architecture;
- Build a major economic, scientific, technological and cultural partnership among members of the G77 and China;
- Eradicate hunger from around the world;
- Strengthen the sovereignty of states from foreign interference, intervention and espionage;
- Democratic renewal of developing states; and
- A new world rising from the South for the whole of humankind.
“The time has come for the nations of the South,” he stated in concluding his speech. “In the past we were colonised and enslaved. Today with every step we take for our liberation, the empires grow decadent and begin to crumble. However our liberation is not just the emancipation of the peoples of the South, it is also for the whole humanity.”
“Only we can save the source of life and society, Mother Earth. Our planet is under a death threat…Today another world is not only possible but indispensable. Today another world is indispensable because otherwise no world will be possible.”
“And that world of equality, complementarity and organic coexistence with Mother Earth can only emerge from the thousands of languages, colours and cultures existing in brotherhood among the peoples of the South.”
Morales also proposed establishing a Decolonisation and South-South Cooperation Institute, “charged with the provision of technical assistance to the Southern countries, as well as the further implementation of the proposals made by the G77 and China.”
The institute will also supply technical and capacity building assistance for development and self-determination, and it will help conduct research projects, and he proposed the institute be headquartered in Bolivia.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon in his opening speech said the G77 and China had given the South a global voice, and the Group provides an immense contribution to the UN. He told President Morales that he appreciated his vision of Living Well, as development based on living well is humanity living in harmony with Nature and with each other.
The Secretary General said the SDGs require Global Partnership and the G77 has a key role to ensure its effectiveness. The Group should press for a fair trade regime, technology transfer and so on. The G77 and China plays a key role in the UN to formulate a post 2015 Development Agenda.
General Assembly President John Ashe gave his appreciation of the role of the G77 and China, of which he had himself been the Chair some years ago, and stressed the importance of the Group in the UN, and he wished the Group success in the years ahead.
In the plenary session on 15 June, President Morales chaired a discussion by heads of states and governments, which often became an interactive exchange of views that combined remembrances of the formation and development of the Group, the present problems and crises faced by the developing countries in their national striving for development and in the turbulent global economy, and the need for better strategy and implementation of actions collectively by the Group.
One major theme, which was first introduced by Morales, was the need for developing countries to take back control over their mineral and natural resources, and to make use of the increased revenues for the country’s social and economic programmes.
He recalled the experience of Bolivia in the nationalisation of natural gas and hydrocarbon resources and how this had led to much increased state revenues that could drive social progress.
One head of government, in response, said that this story of Bolivia had been very inspiring, and that he would explore implementing a similar policy on his return to his country.
The Summit participants were also entertained at the opening and at the presidential dinner with many colourful traditional dance performances and by songs by famous Bolivian singers and bands.
The plenary and the Summit concluded at 10 p.m. on 15 June after hearing statements of almost a hundred countries, and the adoption of the Declaration.
Contact the author at: email@example.com .
G77 Summit Declaration a worthy marking of 50th anniversary
The G77 & China Extraordinary Summit adopted a lengthy Declaration to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Group of 77. This is the first part of a report on the Declaration.
By Martin Khor
The Declaration adopted on 15 June in Santa Cruz by the Group of 77 Summit is a valuable and quite remarkable document which encompasses the political state of thinking of leaders of the South as they commemorated the 50th anniversary of the founding of this umbrella grouping of developing countries. It is a document worthy of marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the G77.
As can be expected, the Declaration summarises the position of the Group on key issues of current international affairs, which can be expected in a declaration of the G77 and China since the Group’s main activity is to negotiate as the largest bloc of countries in multilateral and North-South settings in the United Nations.
This section on the international issues sets out the developing countries’ latest views on current negotiating themes such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as well as the global economic crisis, ODA, debt, trade, reforming the international financial system, the UN’s role, and increasing the South’s voice in global governance.
But the Declaration also breaks new ground with a lengthy section on “development in the national context”, in which the political leaders pledge to improve the performance of their governments in economic and social affairs at the national level.
The Declaration indicates that the leaders and other senior officials of developing countries have internalised the sustainable development framework, as it incorporates the economic issues (economic growth, industrialisation, infrastructure, agriculture) with social and environmental dimensions; it has a strong social inclusion or social protection element (particularly stressing the importance of the state ensuring basic services for all citizens); it stressed also the environmental aspects especially the need to respect Mother Earth; as well as the need for the state to claim control and ensure the sovereignty of natural resources so that benefits can properly accrue to the national economy and society. It also has a section on improving the practice of democracy.
The Declaration, which is mainly a product of 90 hours of negotiations by the Missions of G77 and China countries in New York, was presented to the Summit plenary session on 15 June first by Bolivia’s Ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti, and then by Bolivian President Evo Morales. (Bolivia holds the current Chairmanship of the Group). Both gave a summary and explanation of the Declaration, before the adoption.
The Summit was attended by several Presidents, Prime Ministers, Vice Presidents and Ministers as well as Ambassadors, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UN General Assembly President John Ashe, and the heads of several UN agencies, including DESA, UNESCO, and CEPAL.
In the Declaration’s Part I on Overall Context, the political leaders said they commemorate the formation of the Group on 15 June 1964 and recall the ideals and principles contained in the historic Joint Declaration. The first ever G77 statement pledged to promote equality in the international economic and social order and promote the interests of the developing world, declared their unity under a common interest and defined the Group as “an instrument for enlarging the area of cooperative endeavour in the international field and for securing mutually beneficent relationships with the rest of the world”.
They also recalled the first Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in Algiers in October 1964 which adopted the Charter of Algiers, which established the principles of unity, complementarity, cooperation and solidarity of the developing countries and their determination to strive for economic and social development, individually or collectively.
The Group has since provided the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective social and economic interests and enhanced their joint negotiating capacity within the United Nations system.
They also recalled the first and second G77 South Summits in Havana in 2000 and Doha in 2005, at which the status of the Group of 77 and China was elevated to the level of Heads of State and Government and whose declarations have guided the Group and constituted the fundamental basis for the construction of a new world order and an agenda owned by the countries of the South.
They pledged to continue the tradition of their countries on building national development and uniting at the international level, towards the establishment of a just international order in the world economy that supports developing countries in achieving their objectives of sustained economic growth, full employment, social equity, provision of basic goods and services to their people, protection of the environment and living in harmony with nature.
The leaders said they are proud of the legacy and great achievements of the Group of 77 and China in defending and promoting the interests of the developing countries over the past 50 years, and pledged to build on this foundation and continue making progress towards a world order that is just, equitable, stable and peaceful. They referred to the UN General Assembly Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order in 1974 and the Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986 as among major landmarks that address the needs and interests of developing countries.
Despite five decades of achievements, there are still serious shortfalls in fulfilling the Group’s objectives, and that developing countries now face ongoing and emerging challenges, including the slowdown of the global economy and its effects on them and the lack of adequate systemic action and accountability to address the causes and effects of the global financial and economic crises, thus creating the risk of continuing with the pattern of crisis cycles, said the Declaration.
It also noted the gaps in many developing countries in meeting the needs of employment, food, water, health care, education, housing, physical infrastructure and energy of their people, as well as the looming environmental crisis, including the negative impacts of climate change in developing countries, the increasing shortage of drinking water and the loss of biodiversity.
The leaders stressed that imbalances in the global economy and the inequitable structures and outcomes in the trading, financial, monetary and technological systems led to the establishment of the Group. Nevertheless, these imbalances still prevail today, in some ways with even more adverse effects on developing countries. “Therefore, we pledge to continue and intensify our efforts to strive for a fair, just and equitable international order oriented towards the fulfilment of the development needs of developing countries,” said the Declaration.
“We emphasize that the rationale for the establishment of our Group 50 years ago remains actual and valid, and indeed more valid, than at that time. We therefore rededicate ourselves and our countries to strengthening and expanding the unwavering efforts of the Group of 77 and China in all fields towards greater achievement and for the betterment of the lives of our people.
“We affirm that the twenty-first century is the time for the countries and the peoples from the South to develop their economies and societies in order to fulfil human needs sustainably, in harmony with nature and respect for Mother Earth and its ecosystems. We agree to build on our traditional values and practices of solidarity and collaboration for mutual benefit and on the strength of our people, to achieve progress in our countries and in South-South cooperation.
“We emphasize that our major priorities are promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges,” said the Declaration.
The leaders also reaffirmed that the main strength of the Group of 77 has been and will be its unity and solidarity, its vision of fair, just and equitable multilateral relations, the commitment of its member States to the well-being and prosperity of the peoples of the South as well as their commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Declaration then touched on the issue of “policy space”, a theme that permeates most of the later sections.
The leaders emphasized that each country has the sovereign right to decide its own development priorities and strategies and consider that there is no “one size fits all” approach.
“We stress the need for international rules to allow policy space and policy flexibility for developing countries, as they are directly related to the development strategies of national Governments. We further emphasize the need for policy space to enable our countries to formulate development strategies expressing national interests and differing needs which are not always taken into account by international economic policymaking in the process of integration with the global economy.”
The leaders made a strong statement on the state of the global economy and the need to reform the undemocratic state of global governance.
“We are concerned about the current state of the global economy and the state of global economic governance and the need for strong recovery. We believe that the world is confronted with the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we are alarmed by the adverse effects this crisis is having especially on developing countries.
“We believe the crisis has highlighted long-standing systemic fragilities and imbalances in the global economy, and further exposed the inadequacy and undemocratic nature of global economic governance. New attempts must now be made to establish proper global economic governance, with the full voice, representation and participation of developing countries in discussions and decision-making.”
The Declaration then focused on social issues, especially the leaders’ commitment to social protection and called for action against the “intolerable” inequalities at global and national levels.
It said: “We recognize the high importance of sustaining social protection and fostering job creation even in times of economic crisis, and take note with satisfaction of the encouraging examples of policies that allow countries to reduce poverty, increase social inclusion and create new and better jobs in recent years.
“We view with concern the increased concentration and the asymmetric distribution of wealth and income in the world, which have created wide inequality between developed and developing countries. This level of inequality is unjustifiable and cannot be tolerated in a world where poverty is still prevalent, resources are being depleted and environmental degradation is increasing. We call for global actions to reduce inequalities at all levels. We also pledge to address inequality in our own countries.”
The leaders also expressed concern with the power of large corporations, especially TNCs and asked for competition policies to curb their influence as well as actions on their environmental and social effects.
“We note with concern the influence of large corporations, mainly from developed countries, on the global economy, and its negative effects on the social, economic and environmental development of some developing countries, particularly regarding the barriers this may pose for the entry of new enterprises in the global market.
“We call for concrete measures from the international community to address these negative effects and to promote international competition and increased market access for developing countries, including policies that foster the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, the removal of trade barriers that inhibit value addition in origin countries, such as tariff peaks and tariff escalation, as well as capacity-building on competition law, tax policy regulations and social corporate responsibility.
“We emphasize that transnational corporations have a responsibility to respect all human rights and should refrain from causing environmental disasters and affecting the well-being of peoples.”
On the sustainable development agenda, the Declaration recognized the progress achieved and reaffirmed the importance of supporting developing countries “to eradicate poverty by empowering the poor and people in vulnerable situations, promoting developing sustainable agriculture as well as full and productive employment and decent work for all, complemented by effective social policies, including social protection floors.”
The leaders said they fully respect the UN Charter and international law, particularly as they relate to equality among States, respect for the independence of States, national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.
The Declaration stressed the continuing dependence of the South and pledged to strive for economic independence.
It said: “We are deeply aware that decades after political independence, some developing countries are still in the grip of economic dependence on the structures and vagaries of the global economy and on the developed countries and their economic entities. Such dependence…limits the extent of our real political independence as well. Therefore, we pledge to unite our efforts to continue striving for economic independence and to gather under the umbrella of the G77 and China as well as other organizations of the South to make progress on this.”
The leaders recalled the decisions taken at the second South Summit in Doha (2005) to work to ensure that programmes and policies designed in the context of globalization fully respect the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and international law, particularly as they relate to equality among States, and national sovereignty, and stressed that those principles and purposes inspire their full commitment to multilateralism and the search for a more just and equitable international economic system.
They recalled the decision taken at the G77 and China Summit in Doha (2005) to work towards the realization of the right to self-determination of peoples living under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation and to call on the international community to take all necessary measures to bring an end to the continuation of foreign occupation.
They reaffirmed that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State. In this regard, “we emphasize the need to respect and safeguard indigenous cultural identities, knowledge and traditions in our countries”.
In Part II on Development in the national context, the Declaration first commented on approaches for sustainable development.
It stressed the need to further mainstream sustainable development at all levels, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects and recognizing their interlinkages, so as to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions.
It reaffirmed that there are different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country to achieve sustainable development and in some countries there is an approach of “living well” as holistic development aimed at achieving the material, cultural and spiritual needs of societies in a context of harmony with nature.
It acknowledged that the Earth and its ecosystems are our home and it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth. It also recognized that “Mother Earth” is a common expression for planet Earth, which reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit.
It reaffirmed the Declaration on the Right to Development, which is a major landmark document that establishes the right of developing countries to act to achieve development and the right of people to participate in and benefit from development, and that “the right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”
On improving the practice of democracy, the Declaration considered that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.
The leaders reaffirmed that while all democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region, and further reaffirmed the necessity of due respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the right to self-determination, and the rejection of any attempt to break down constitutional and democratic order legitimately established by the peoples.
“We call for an end to the use of media in any way that might disseminate distorted information against States members of the Group of 77 in complete disregard of the principle of international law,” added the Declaration.
The leaders expressed deep indignation and rejection with regard to the withdrawal of overflight and landing permits for the presidential aircraft on which Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma and his party were travelling on 2 July 2013. These facts constitute unfriendly and unjustifiable acts that have also put at serious risk the safety of President Morales. “We make public our greater solidarity and demand clarification of facts,” said the Declaration.
On National sovereignty and benefits over natural resources, the Declaration reaffirmed that States have the sovereign right to exploit their own resources and the responsibility to ensure that activities do not cause damage to the environment of other States. They reaffirmed that “the right of peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over the natural wealth and resources must be exercised in the interest of their national development and of the well-being of the people of the State concerned.”
While emphasizing this sovereignty over natural wealth, the leaders said they are also “aware of our duty to conserve and sustainably manage and use these resources and ensure the conditions for nature and ecosystems to have the capacity to regenerate, for the benefit of present and future generations. We also recognize that the sustainable use of natural resources is an effective way to achieve economic growth while reducing poverty and environmental degradation.”
The leaders “respected the decisions of some countries that decided to nationalize or to reclaim control of their natural resources in order to obtain greater benefits for their people, especially the poor, and to invest in the economic diversification, industrialization and social programmes.”
On the Eradication of poverty, the Declaration recognized that poverty is an affront to human dignity and stressed that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today. The leaders attached the highest priority to poverty eradication in the United Nations post-2015 development agenda to be supported by effective and adequate means of implementation and strengthened global partnership for development, and which entails, among other objectives, the promotion of employment and decent work for all, the improvement of access to social services, the eradication of illiteracy and diseases as well as integrated, coordinated and coherent national and regional strategies.
They expressed deep concern for the constraints on the fight against poverty arising from the crises, in particular the world financial and economic crisis, the continuing food insecurity, the volatility of capital flows and the extreme volatility of commodity prices, energy accessibility and the challenges posed by climate change to developing countries.
They stressed that to enable poverty eradication, developing countries must ensure national ownership of their own development agenda, which entails preserving their own policy space backed by a strong political commitment to reduce poverty in line with their national priorities and circumstances.
Developing countries must formulate their own development strategies to assist the poor through policies and actions, including strong, sustained and inclusive economic growth, the generation of employment as a priority, the improvement of the provision of universal and affordable access to basic services, the provision of a well-designed social protection system, the empowerment of individuals to seize economic opportunities, and measures to ensure the protection of the environment.
The Declaration also recognized that fighting corruption is a priority and as it is a serious barrier to effective resource mobilization and allocation and diverts resources away from poverty eradication and sustainable development.
On reducing inequality, the Declaration emphasized that the problem of inequality is even more acute today than ever because of the prevalence of extreme wealth while poverty and hunger continue to exist and this is aggravated, inter alia, by unsustainable patterns of consumption and production mainly in developed countries.
“We affirm that any benefit from economic growth has to be equitably shared and must benefit the people in vulnerable situations in our communities, and we therefore call once again for concerted actions to reduce inequalities at all levels.
“We are gravely concerned at the inadequacy of measures to narrow the widening gap between the developed and the developing countries, and within countries, which has contributed to, inter alia, deepening poverty and has adversely affected the full enjoyment of all human rights, in particular in developing countries.
“We also note with concern that high levels of inequality within and among countries continue to have a negative impact on all aspects of human development and are especially harmful to people in vulnerable situations who are affected by intersecting inequalities. We therefore urge countries, including through the support of international cooperation, to scale up efforts to provide equal access to opportunities and outcomes to all levels of society in accordance with national policies.
“We understand that sustainable development involves a change in the order of priorities from the generation of material wealth to the satisfaction of human needs in harmony with nature. The excessive orientation towards profit neither respects Mother Earth nor takes into account human needs. The continuation of this unequal system will lead to further inequality.”
On sustained and inclusive economic growth, the Declaration affirmed that sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth is necessary to eradicate poverty, provide jobs and raise the living standards of people and generate public revenues to finance social policies.
“We note that historical evidence has shown that no country has ever achieved constant improvements in living standards and human development without sustaining a steady pace of economic growth. We therefore urge the international community and the United Nations to assist developing countries in attaining high and adequate economic growth over a sustained period,” said the Declaration.
“We also realize that high economic growth, although necessary, is not sufficient in itself. It must generate jobs and lift the incomes of peoples especially the poor and the most in need. Economic growth should also be environmentally and socially sound and, to achieve this, developing countries require financial and technological support from developed countries.”
On the Creation of employment, the Declaration said the capacity to generate full employment and decent work is fundamentally linked to reviving and enhancing productive development strategies, through adequate finance, investment and trade policies. It reaffirmed the need for significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources and the effective use of financing, in order to give strong support to developing countries in their efforts to promote sustainable development. It stressed the need for coherence between macroeconomic and job creation policies in order to ensure economic growth.
The Declaration stressed deep concern about the continuing high levels of unemployment and underemployment, particularly among young people, and affirmed commitment to reducing unemployment through employment-intensive macroeconomic and development policies. “We affirm the need to launch a UN intergovernmental process to include the issue of youth employment and youth concerns in the post-2015 development agenda and the importance of ensuring decent livelihoods for farmers in our countries.”
On providing basic services for our people, the leaders said the increasing gap between the world’s rich and poor is due not only to unequal income distribution but also to unequal access to basic resources and services.
“We recognize that the State has an essential role to play to ensure that basic services are accessible to all and to address the unequal and discriminatory distribution of and access to them. We reaffirm our resolve to act to implement the right of our people to access basic services.”
The leaders reaffirmed their commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and called on donor countries and international organizations to provide resources to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.
On Access to public health and medicines, the leaders recognized that universal health coverage means that everyone has access to basic medical services of promotion, prevention, cure and rehabilitation as well as to essential quality, safe, affordable and effective medicines.
It recognized that many developing countries do not have the financial or human resources or the infrastructure to implement the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and called on developed countries to provide the adequate financial resources and technology to complement developing countries’ efforts to have policies and measures that provide universal health coverage and basic health services for all.
The leaders noted with great concern that non-communicable diseases have become an epidemic of significant proportions, acknowledged the effectiveness of tobacco control measures for the improvement of health.
They reaffirmed the right of member States to protect public health and, in particular, to ensure universal access to medicines and medical diagnostic technologies, if necessary, including through the full use of the flexibilities in the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
They recalled paragraph 142 of the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, in which Heads of State and Government reaffirmed the right to use, to the fullest extent, the provisions contained in the TRIPS Agreement, the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, the decision of the General Council of the WTO of 30 August 2003 and the amendment to article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement, which provide flexibilities for the protection of public health, and in particular to promote access to medicines for all and encourage the provision of assistance to developing countries in this regard.
“We affirm the importance of taking advantage of the use of TRIPS flexibilities in order to promote the people’s health and access to medicines. We call upon developed countries to fully respect the right of developing countries to make full use of TRIPS flexibilities and to refrain from taking actions, including trade measures, to prevent or dissuade developing countries from exercising this right.”
The leaders also said they are “concerned about the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance to existing drugs, including those against tuberculosis and malaria. As a result, increasing numbers of patients, especially in developing countries, face the prospect of dying from preventable and/or treatable diseases. We urge the international health authorities and organizations, especially the World Health Organization (WHO), to take urgent action and to work together upon request with developing countries that do not have adequate resources to address this problem.”
G77: Summit Declaration on national development, South-South cooperation
The Declaration adopted by the G77 Extraordinary Summit on 14-15 June in Santa Cruz has five sections. Its second section on “development in the national context” deals with poverty eradication, inequality, provision of basic services and access to health, among other issues (as described in the first article on the Declaration).
This second article deals with other aspects of Part II (agriculture and food security, industrialisation and infrastructure, women in development and indigenous peoples) as well as Part III on South-South Cooperation.
The Declaration contains a lengthy section on Agricultural development and food security. The leaders recalled that food security and nutrition are essential elements for achieving sustainable development and expressed concern that developing countries are vulnerable to, among others, the adverse impacts of climate change, further threatening food security.
They reaffirmed that hunger is a violation of human dignity and called for urgent measures to be taken to eliminate it. They also reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food in accordance with their right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger, in order to develop and maintain their full physical and mental capacities.
“We denounce that subsidies and other market distortions driven by developed countries have seriously affected the agricultural sector of developing countries, limiting the ability of this key sector to significantly contribute to the eradication of poverty and to sustained, inclusive economic growth and equitable, sustainable development, food security and rural development,” said the Declaration. “We call for the immediate elimination of all forms of agricultural subsidies and other market-distorting measures taken by developed countries that are not in compliance with WTO rules. We urge developed countries to show flexibility and political will to adequately address these fundamental concerns of developing countries in the Doha Round of trade negotiations.”
They reiterated their commitment to conclude multilateral disciplines on fisheries subsidies including through the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.
Stressing that food security and agriculture development are an integral part of the international development agenda, they demanded sustained funding and increased targeted investment to enhance world food production and called for new and additional financial resources for sustainable agriculture development and food security.
Strengthening the agricultural sector should be part of the post-2015 agenda with its means of implementation, to achieve food security. They also stressed the importance of including the knowledge, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples, rural communities and small- and medium-scale farmers in national, regional and international strategies aimed at achieving food security.
They reaffirmed that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value make it central to providing food security and nutrition and to eradicating poverty, as well as to promoting the traditional knowledge of the Andean indigenous peoples.
They called for the creation of conditions for the development of economic opportunities for the benefit of small-scale and family farmers, peasant and indigenous peoples and communities, and the creation of options for connecting them with consumers, as part of the national strategies for the realization of the right to food.
They recognized the positive role of small-scale and family farmers, including women, cooperatives, indigenous peoples and local communities in developing countries, and their knowledge and practices, in the conservation and sustainable use of seeds, agro-biodiversity and biodiversity associated with food production of present and future generations.
They stressed the need to address the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including its structural causes, at all levels, and the need to manage the risks linked to excessively volatile prices in agricultural commodities.
“We call for the prioritization of development in the WTO Doha Round of negotiations in accordance with the Doha Development Agenda, including food security. We call for the promotion of the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and rural development in developing countries. In this context, we urge WTO members to adopt a permanent solution to the issue of public stock holding and food security for developing countries, as agreed by the WTO Ministerial Decision adopted in Bali, Indonesia, in 2013, as soon as possible.”
On Sustainable family farming, the leaders declared that family farms and small farms are an important basis for sustainable food production aimed at achieving food security and that support should be given to the economic activities of sustainable family farming, in particular promoting their access to financial services, productive resources and agricultural inputs such as land, seeds, appropriate technology, transport and information.
“We will promote comprehensive and complementary national and regional actions for production, access and consumption based on integral, multi-sectoral and participatory planning, reassessing and strengthening sustainable family farming, small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants,” said the Declaration.
In a section on Industrialization and infrastructure, the Declaration affirmed that industrial development and value addition, together with science, technology and innovation, are essential elements for developing countries to attain higher development levels in a sustained way, as the industrialization process can generate higher productivity, more jobs and skills and positive spill-over effects on the economy. Therefore, they urged developed countries to assist developing countries in boosting industrialization in their development strategies and policies and in promoting inclusive sustainable industrial development.
They noted that many developing countries are still overly dependent on commodities and that they should explore industrial diversification strategies by enhancing value-adding productive capacities.
They called on international organizations and requested international cooperation mechanisms to assist developing countries, including through technology transfer, to develop their capacities to design and implement industrialization strategies and policies.
On the issue of policy space and trade rules, the Declaration stated: “We call for the international trading system to respect and reinforce the policy space of developing countries for the promotion and growth of our industrial development and for the design and implementation of our industrial strategies. In this regard, we call for the revision of all rules within the world trading system that affect the policy space of developing countries.”
On infrastructure, the Declaration affirmed that the development of reliable and affordable infrastructure, regional connectivity, including transport, roads, energy and telecommunications, are essential.
They urged developed countries to provide technical assistance, technology transfer and financial resources to enable developing countries to industrialize and develop their infrastructure in ways that are environmentally sustainable, including adopting cleaner, resource-based and energy-efficient sustainable consumption and production patterns, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies.
On the Inclusion of women in development, the Declaration reaffirmed the vital role of women and the need for full and equal opportunities for their participation and leadership in all areas of sustainable development. They decided to accelerate the implementation of their commitments in various relevant Conventions and Declarations pertaining to women.
They recognized that the potential of women in sustainable development has not been fully realized, supported prioritizing measures to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all spheres, and resolved to unlock the potential of women as drivers of sustainable development through many measures and through creating an enabling environment.
“We are committed to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women in political and economic decision-making and resource allocation, to give women equal rights with men to economic resources, and to ensure access to education, finance, information and communications technologies, markets, legal assistance and other basic services, including health-care services, including safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning,” said the Declaration.
They recognized that violence against women seriously violates all human rights of women, and agreed to take action to eliminate all forms of violence, including feminicide and discrimination against women and girls, through a more systematic, comprehensive approach, mechanisms and national action plans. They also reaffirmed the commitment to work towards a post-2015 development agenda with a gender perspective and supported the gender issue as a stand-alone sustainable development goal.
On Indigenous peoples, the Declaration urged efforts towards the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, natural resources, identity and culture, in accordance with national legislation. The leaders reaffirmed their commitments to implement their legal obligations, including, as appropriate, Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization, as well as to promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
They reaffirmed the value and the diversity of the cultures and the forms of social organization of indigenous peoples and their holistic traditional scientific knowledge, innovations and practices, which play a significant role in strengthening the livelihoods of the local populations, ensuring food security and addressing climate change.
They stressed the importance of indigenous peoples in sustainable development and their critical role in the social, economic and political processes of their countries, while strengthening the local views and values referred to as the holistic views of Mother Earth.
They reaffirmed the importance of the role of collective action and the efforts of indigenous and local communities in conserving biodiversity, considering their critical role in the stewardship and sustainable management of natural renewable resources.
They considered that mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are contingent upon different sociocultural contexts, taking particular account of indigenous peoples and local communities and their traditional knowledge systems and practices, including their holistic view of community and environment, as a major means of adapting to climate change.
They called for strengthening the inter-scientific dialogue between traditional and indigenous knowledge systems with modern sciences in the context of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and of the conceptual framework of “Living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth”, approved by the Platform.
They welcomed the convening of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held in New York on 22 and 23 September 2014 and the outcome document should contribute to the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and the pursuit of the objectives of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
They also took note of the Special Declaration on the Coca Leaf of the Heads of State and Government of the Latin American and Caribbean States in Havana on 29 January 2014, which acknowledged the importance of preserving the cultural and traditional practices of indigenous peoples and recognized coca leaf chewing as an ancestral cultural manifestation of the people of the Andean region that must be respected by the international community.
In Part III on South-South cooperation, the Declaration reaffirmed their view of South-South cooperation as a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and that South-South cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South and should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.
The leaders reaffirmed the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation, especially in the current international economic environment, and reiterated that it is a strategy to sustain the development efforts of developing countries and a means of enhancing their participation in the global economy.
The Declaration stated: “We reiterate the position of the Group that South-South cooperation is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation and reaffirmed that South-South cooperation is a collective endeavour of developing countries based on the principle of solidarity and premises, conditions and objectives that are specific to the historic and political context of developing countries and to their needs and expectations, and that as such, South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion, as reaffirmed in the Nairobi outcome document.
“In this context, we stress that South-South cooperation and its agenda must be driven by the countries of the South. As such, South-South cooperation, which is critical for developing countries, requires long-term vision and a global institutional arrangement, as envisioned by the Second South Summit”.
The Declaration welcomed the convening of the High-level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South in Fiji in May 2013, and its conclusions on the future landscape of South-South cooperation and they reiterated the framework and principles of South-South cooperation first endorsed by the G77 Foreign Ministers in New York on 26 September 2008.
They welcomed the conclusion of the third round of the Global System of Trade Preferences, and called upon more developing countries to participate in it.
They welcomed the increase in South-South regional cooperation initiatives in various areas, such as finance, banking, trade, health care and food production and called for further initiatives as well as concrete ways in which developing countries can share experiences and good practices so as to spread these South-South initiatives. They also encouraged their countries to exchange experiences and best practices with regard to the equal access by all to basic services.
They stressed that the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation of the General Assembly is the central multilateral policymaking body in the United Nations system to review and assess global and system-wide progress and support for South-South development cooperation.
They supported the system-wide provision of additional resources to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, and recognized that the Office, currently hosted by the UNDP, constitutes a separate entity with a distinct legal nature, entrusted with the coordination on a global and United Nations system-wide basis for promoting and facilitating initiatives related to South-South cooperation for development. They requested a more formalized and strengthened inter-agency mechanism for the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.
They called upon the UN development system to promote transfer of technologies from developed countries for the benefit of developing countries and encouraged technology cooperation among the countries of the South.
“We acknowledge the role played by the South Centre in supporting the Group of 77. We call upon the members of the Group to further support the Centre and call upon the Centre to expand its activities for the benefit of developing countries,” said the Declaration. “We encourage organizations of developing countries, including the South Centre, to come up with ideas and suggest action plans to further operationalize South-South cooperation.”
By Martin Khor
G77 Summit Declaration addresses “global challenges”
Below is another instalment of a report on the Declaration adopted by the G77 Summit in Santa Cruz on 15 June. This instalment is on the “Global Challenges” part of the Declaration, which deals with the global issues being negotiated at the UN and other venues.
The G77 Summit Declaration, adopted by the Extraordinary Summit to mark the 50th anniversary of the Group of 77, in Santa Cruz on 15 June, has a major Part IV on “Global Challenges” which deals with the main issues that are the subject of international discussion.
The Declaration sets out the G77 and China political leaders’ current positions on these issues, many of which are presently under multilateral negotiations in the UN in New York, in the WTO, in the UNCTAD, IMF, WIPO and other fora.
The “Global Challenges” dealt with the global partnership for development, ODA, debt, trade, technology transfer, migration, a strong critique of the international financial system and calling for reforms, the credit rating system, the need to democratise the global economic governance, and the role of the UN.
The Declaration also deals with environmental issues including climate change, biodiversity, forests, desertification and land degradation and oceans.
Significantly, the Declaration also has a section on an emerging issue of internet governance and the invasion of privacy. The leaders condemned the misuse of communications technology (by some countries) to conduct surveillance on developing countries’ leaders and citizens, and calling for an end to such activities and ensuring that cyberspace is used for peaceful ends.
The Declaration is an important reference for the views of the developing countries, at the highest political level, on the current international issues.
In a section on “Global partnership for development”, the Declaration stressed the need for a new and stronger commitment by developed countries to international cooperation to support the fulfilment of the development aspirations of developing countries.
As part of the Millennium Development Goals, a commitment was made to a global partnership for development. “However, we note with concern the significant shortfall in the partnership under the Goals, which contributed to the lack of achievement of many goals and targets. We therefore call for the urgent implementation of all commitments under the global partnership for development so as to overcome the gaps identified”, said the leaders.
“We also call upon leaders of the developed countries to agree and commit to a new phase of international cooperation through a strengthened and scaled-up global partnership for development, which should be the centrepiece and anchor for both the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda.
“Such an enhanced global partnership should include the issues of providing financial resources to developing countries, official development assistance, debt relief and debt restructuring, trade, technology transfer and greater participation of developing countries in global economic governance.”
On Official development assistance, the leaders reaffirmed that ODA remains the main source of international financing for many developing countries and that it is essential as a catalyst for development, including for fulfilling the MDGs, SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.
“We stress that developed countries must meet and scale up their existing official development assistance commitments and targets made,” said the Declaration. “An enhanced predictable and sustainable flow of ODA is essential to meet the regular development challenges as well as the new and emerging challenges in developing countries.” It recalled the unfulfilled commitment made by developed countries at Gleneagles.
It urged the developed countries to fulfil their commitment to provide 0.7 per cent of GNI for ODA and the target of 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of GNI to the LDCs, and to increase the target to 1 per cent of GNI by 2030. It expressed deep concern that ODA commitments remain unfulfilled.
The leaders stressed that the global financial and economic crisis cannot be an excuse to avoid fulfilling existing aid commitments by developed countries and making further commitments. They therefore called upon developed countries collectively to fulfil their ODA commitments and to raise overall levels further, keeping in mind that the developing countries will require new, additional and sustainable financial resources to a significant extent and amount in order to implement a wide range of development activities.
They stressed the need for ensuring new and additional financial support to developing countries as a key means of implementation for achieving the MDGs and the forthcoming SDGs. ODA should be used in accordance with national developmental priorities without conditionalities. The leaders expressed “deep concern about the attempt made by donor countries, outside UN forums, to redefine ODA by including other sources of financing that are not linked or related to the development of developing countries, with the objective of disguising the drop in ODA flows not based on their agreed commitments.”
On External debt, the leaders were concerned that, with the global economic crisis, some countries are becoming more vulnerable to new external debt problems or even crises. Addressing the external debt problems of developing countries is thus an important part of international cooperation and the enhanced global partnership for development.
“We recognize the importance of debt relief, including debt cancellation, debt restructuring, debt moratorium and debt audit procedures. Debt restructuring processes should have as their core element a determination of real payment capacity so that they may not adversely affect economic growth and the fulfilment of the unfinished business of the MDGs, the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.
“In this regard, we reiterate the urgent need for the international community to examine options for an effective, equitable, durable, independent and development-oriented international debt resolution mechanism, and call upon all countries to promote and contribute to the discussions within the United Nations and other appropriate forums with that objective.”
The Declaration pointed to a new concern on vulture funds. Recent examples of the actions of vulture funds in international courts have revealed their highly speculative nature. “Such funds pose a risk to all future debt-restructuring processes, both for developing and developed countries,” it added. “We therefore stress the importance of not allowing vulture funds to paralyse the debt-restructuring efforts of developing countries, and that these funds should not supersede a State’s right to protect its people under international law.
“We stress the need to ensure that the economic and monetary policies implemented by developed countries do not affect global aggregate demand and liquidity, owing to the objective of finding surplus in their balance of payments, with negative results in the reduction of global revenues in developing countries.”
On Reforming the global financial architecture, the leaders affirmed the need for reform of the international financial architecture so that we have a financial and monetary system that reflects the realities of the twenty-first century, including a properly regulated international financial sector that reduces and discourages speculative investment, in order for capital markets to be mobilized to achieve sustainable development and play a constructive role in the global development agenda.
They added: “We also note the continuation of fundamental problems in the global financial and monetary system, including lack of regulation to ensure financial stability, the problems of the reserve currencies, the volatility in currency exchange rates, the speculative and large cross-border flows of capital and the insufficiency or unavailability of liquidity for developing countries in need of financial resources that face foreign exchange shortfalls or require resources to generate sustainable growth and development. We call for a programme of reforms, with full voice, representation and participation of developing countries, to address these problems.
“We note with concern that financial deregulation and financial liberalization have given rise to the massive expansion of speculative financial flows and derivatives trading. The financial and economic crisis of 2008 has illustrated that international finance has created an economy of its own, which has become increasingly disconnected from the real economy of production, direct investment, job creation and wage growth. The adverse effects of financialization include volatile capital flows, excessive commodity and food price fluctuations, rapid shifts in exchange rates and boom-bust cycles of financial crisis and economic recession.
“We urge that the reform process of the governance structure of the Bretton Woods institutions be finalized as soon as possible and be much more ambitious, and that an accelerated plan be established for further reforms in representation, participation and parity of voting power for developing countries in the decision-making process within the Bretton Woods institutions and in all discussions on international monetary reform and in the operation of the new arrangements for special drawing rights in the IMF, on the basis of criteria that truly reflect its mandate in the field of development and with the participation of all stakeholders in an equitable, transparent, consultative and inclusive process. In this regard, we call on the General Assembly to launch a process to reform the international financial and monetary system.
“We support exploration of the establishment of a United Nations intergovernmental mechanism under the General Assembly, as an entity responsible for monitoring the performance of the global economic and financial system in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. It is important that this mechanism monitor the impact of certain international financial flows and policies that are systemically important to prevent the spread of economic and financial crisis among countries.”
On Reforming the credit rating system, the Declaration called for regulating credit rating agencies. Governments should limit their regulatory reliance on credit rating agencies and reform legal regimes to hold them liable for negligent behaviour in order to suppress conflicts of interest and ensure integrity, accountability and transparency.
It stressed the need for a more transparent international credit rating system that takes fully into account the needs, concerns and peculiarities of developing countries. It expressed concern about the methodology used by the major credit rating agencies and called for greater transparency and competition among rating agencies to avoid oligopolistic tendencies and their negative effects. It also called for discussions at the UN and other venues on policies to reduce dependency on them by enhancing their supervision and increasing transparency and competition through the establishment of independent assessment mechanisms.
On Global economic governance, the leaders affirmed that the world financial and economic crisis and its consequences for development have exposed the gaps and failures in global economic governance, including within the international financial institutions, and the urgent need for a global, universal and integrated response by the international community.
“We note with deep concern that seven years after the outbreak of the global crisis, there has been little progress made to strengthen the systemic, regulatory and structural aspects of the global financial system. Moreover, the lack of participation by developing countries in general in global economic issues and governance persists; this is a matter of grave concern because the workings of the global system affect all countries, and this democratic deficit has even more serious consequences for developing countries when the global economy is slowing down or in recession.
“We strongly call on the international community to redress the democratic deficit in global economic governance and provide developing countries their rightful place and participation in the governance and decision-making of all the institutions and forums where discussions and decisions are taken on global economic and financial issues.”
They affirmed that efforts to reform the international financial architecture should be seriously strengthened, leading to the full participation of developing countries in international financial and economic decision-making and norm-setting.
“We call for comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, including enhancement of the voting powers of developing countries in a time-bound manner, in order to enable greater equity between developed and developing countries and to eliminate all types of conditionalities tied to aid.
“We call for the urgent completion of the 2010 IMF quota formula reform in order to ensure that the quotas and governance of IMF better reflect the relative weight of emerging and developing countries in the global economy.”
Noting that the redistribution of voting rights alone is not enough, the leaders said the reform should encompass liquidity creation, including improvement in the special drawing rights for developing countries, and the IMF must provide more comprehensive and flexible financial responses to the needs of developing countries, without imposing pro-cyclical conditionalities and respecting their need for adequate policy space.
Furthermore, leading personnel of the Bretton Woods institutions must be designated on the basis of their individual merits, through an open and fair process of selection. As long as IMF does not reflect the new realities in the global economy and its Director General keeps being designated through a process that lacks any transparency, its legitimacy will remain questionable.
They also stressed the need to hold a follow-up international conference on financing for development in 2015 to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda process. They recognized the important role of the UN and the central position of the General Assembly.
On Strengthening and reorienting the United Nations, the Declaration stressed the importance of the central role of the UN in global economic governance, which aims at enhancing the global partnership for development. The General Assembly and a strengthened ECOSOC could both act to mitigate the impact of the international financial and economic crisis and to ensure the right of developing countries to policy space for sustainable development.
The UN needs to improve its capabilities and capacities to fully implement its mandates and to ensure the effective delivery of its programmes in the social and economic development fields. The leaders urged the Secretary-General to further strengthen the development pillar of the whole Organization, including its Development Account and urged developed countries to show real political will to enable the UN to improve its capabilities in the social, environmental and economic development fields.
They expressed concern over the growing imbalance between assessed and voluntary contributions in the proposed programme budgets of the Organization and that any UN reform efforts, including on the budget process, must not seek to change the intergovernmental, multilateral and international nature of the Organization, but must strengthen the ability of Member States to perform their oversight and monitoring role.
They also expressed concern over budget cuts that have a negative impact on the implementation of mandates approved by the intergovernmental bodies of the United Nations, particularly in the development pillar.
They underscored the central role of the United Nations in global economic governance, as a truly universal and inclusive multilateral forum. They emphasized the important role the General Assembly should play in the appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and that the process of selection of the Secretary-General should be inclusive of all Member States, as well as more transparent.
On Technology transfer, science and innovation for development, the leaders expressed concern that science, technology and innovation can be abused as instruments to limit and undermine countries’ sovereignty, sustainable development and poverty eradication. They called for an end to the use of information and communication technologies, including social networks, in contravention of international law and in detriment to any State, in particular members of the Group of 77 or their citizens.
They reaffirmed that technology transfer, technology integration and the development and promotion of endogenous technologies are important for developing countries and called on developed countries to implement their commitments to transfer technology to developing countries and provide access to technology on favourable terms, including concessional and preferential terms, to enable the developing countries to shift to a more sustainable development path.
They added that it is imperative that developed countries recommit themselves to the objective of technology transfer as one of the major components of provision of the means of implementation for developing countries, and to take actions to bridge the technological gap.
The Declaration stated: “We call for the early establishment by the United Nations system of a technology facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies.
“We call for regulations and policies on intellectual property to be placed within a development framework, whereby intellectual property rights are oriented towards the promotion of balanced social, economic and environmental development. In this regard, we support the measures taken by developing countries to promote the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda recommendations of 2007.”
They reiterated their call at the second South Summit of the G77, for WIPO to continue to include in its future plans and activities, including legal advice, a development dimension that includes promoting development and access to knowledge for all, pro-development norm-setting, harmonization with the Convention on Biological Diversity rules, establishing development-friendly principles, and the transfer and dissemination of technology.
“We also reiterate that the TRIPS Agreement of WTO contains flexibilities, and that it is the right of developing States members of WTO to make use of such flexibilities, as confirmed in the 2001 Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of WTO, and we support the use of these flexibilities in our countries, with the aim of promoting health, education and economic and social development. We note with great interest and appreciation that some developing countries have successfully made use of some TRIPS flexibilities to promote the use of generic medicines, which are lower in cost and thus greatly increase access to medicines at affordable prices.
“We reject attempts by any developed country or business interest to pressure developing countries not to exercise their right to make use of TRIPS Agreement flexibilities for social and development purposes and express our solidarity with those developing countries that have come under such pressure.
“We stress the need to protect the knowledge of developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities with regard to genetic resources, biodiversity and traditional knowledge, and especially from continuing attempts by persons or companies to patent such resources and knowledge without the approval of the countries, indigenous peoples and communities concerned.
“We call for intensified efforts by our negotiators and policymakers to establish legal mechanisms, internationally or nationally, to prevent biopiracy by requiring disclosure of the country of origin and proof of benefit-sharing arrangements by applicants for such patents.
“We also call for strong provisions and effective mechanisms for technology transfer, including appropriate treatment of intellectual property, in the international climate change regime in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
On Trade, the leaders believed that trade in the context of appropriate policies and rules can be an important tool for economic development. “It is essential to establish and uphold a universal, fair, rules-based, open, pro-development, non‑discriminatory, inclusive and equitable multilateral trading system that contributes to growth, sustainable development and employment, particularly for developing countries.
“We call for a timely and successful conclusion to the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which must fully respect its development mandate and place the needs and priorities of developing countries at its centre. Following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013, we call for an inclusive and transparent negotiating process and the prioritizing of the interests and issues of developing countries in the post-Bali programme.
“We view with concern that some developed countries members of WTO are more interested in gaining market access to developing countries, while they are themselves not willing to take adequate measures to eliminate or reduce protectionism in their agriculture sector or to provide more market access to developing countries.”
The leaders said they believe that “trade rules, in WTO or in bilateral and regional trade agreements, should enable developing countries to have sufficient policy space so that they can make use of policy instruments and measures that are required for their economic and social development.
“We reiterate our call for the effective strengthening of the special and differential treatment and less than full reciprocity principles and provisions in WTO so as to broaden the policy space of developing countries and enable them to benefit more from the multilateral trading system. We also call for bilateral trade and investment agreements involving developed and developing countries to have sufficient special and differential treatment for developing countries to enable them to retain adequate policy space for social and economic development.”
On Migration, the leaders recognized the need to address this issue through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue and through a comprehensive, balanced, coordinated and coherent approach, recognizing the role and responsibilities of countries of origin, transit and destination in promoting and protecting effectively the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants and their families, especially those of women and children, regardless of their migration status.
They noted that migration remains inadequately reflected in development frameworks at both the national and global levels. “Therefore, we are exploring the possibility of a legally binding convention on migration and development to improve the governance of international migration and to protect and promote the human rights of migrants and their contribution to development, regardless of their migratory status.”
They acknowledged the need to enhance the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrant workers and their families and to consider the recognition of the qualifications and competencies of migrants and their access to low-cost financial services for remittances.
On Climate change, the leaders affirmed that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change and that the international response to climate change must fully respect the principles, provisions and ultimate objective of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
They reaffirmed “the importance of continuing the negotiations on climate change under the Convention in accordance with its principles and provisions and of adopting, in 2015, a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties.”
They underscored that developing countries continue to suffer the most from the adverse impacts of climate change, even though they are the least responsible for climate change. “Accordingly, we call for developed countries to take the lead in responding to climate change.”
They added: “We recognize that low-lying and other small island countries, developing countries with low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas or areas liable to floods, drought and desertification, and developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.”
They reaffirmed the importance of implementing the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts adopted at the nineteenth session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in November 2013 and the urgency of taking concrete steps during this year for the immediate operationalization of the mechanism.
The leaders also stated: “We stress that the developed countries, given their historical responsibility, need to take the lead in addressing this challenge in accordance with the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, particularly the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and equity, and provide financial and technological support to developing countries in a transparent, adequate and predictable manner under a modality of monitoring, reporting and verification.
“We reiterate that the extent to which developing countries will effectively implement their commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will depend on the effective implementation by developed countries of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries.
“We stress the need to urgently close the ambition gap, and express concern about the lack of fulfilment of commitments by developed countries. In addressing this gap, the focus must not be limited to mitigation only but also address gaps relating to finance, technology and support for capacity-building, balanced with a focus on adaptation to climate change. We emphasize that developed countries must take robust and ambitious mitigation commitments, with ambitious quantitative targets for limiting and reducing emissions, as required by science and mandated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“We reiterate the urgency of expediting the process of operationalizing the Green Climate Fund and for its early capitalization, and call upon developed countries to meet the goal of mobilizing $100 billion each year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.”
On Biological diversity, the Declaration recognised the severity of global biodiversity loss and degradation of ecosystems, and the importance of the role of the collective actions of the indigenous people and local communities for the protection, use and conservation of biodiversity.
They welcomed the outcomes of the CBD’s eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in Hyderabad in 2012, especially the commitment to doubling biodiversity-related international financial flows to developing countries by 2015 and at least maintaining this level until 2020 to contribute to the achievement of the Convention’s three objectives, and called for a review of progress on this at the COP’s twelfth meeting towards adopting a final target for resource mobilization.
On Forests, the Declaration noted the outcome of the tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests in 2013, and underscored the importance of the four global objectives on forests and especially the fourth objective since it identifies the need to reverse the reduction in ODA and to mobilize new and additional financial resources for the implementation of sustainable forest management.
It called for the establishment of a new global forest fund in line with the principles of sustainable development, and in order to channel the funds needed by developing countries to sustainably manage their forests.
On Desertification, land degradation and drought, the Declaration reaffirmed these are serious concerns for developing countries and that international action is urgently required. There is the need for cooperation through the sharing of climate and weather information and forecasting and early warning systems related to desertification, land degradation and drought, as well as to dust storms and sandstorms, at the global, regional and subregional levels.
On Oceans and seas, the Declaration stressed the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development, and committed to protect and restore the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems, to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use.
On Internet governance, including the right to privacy, the leaders stated: “We view with dismay that some countries have recently been undertaking extensive, arbitrary and unlawful surveillance and/or interception of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance and/or interception of communications as well as the collection of personal data, including on a mass scale, on people and institutions in other countries, including on political leaders, senior officials and various government departments and agencies, as well as citizens.
“We call for the ending of such activities, which violate the human right to privacy of individuals and have a negative impact on the relations between countries. In this regard, we all call for intergovernmental entities to discuss and review the use of information and communications technologies to ensure that they fully comply with international law, including human rights law, in accordance with the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
They emphasized the important opportunities provided by information and communications technologies, including social media and related infrastructure, but also recognised that the illegal use of these technologies has a negative impact on nations and their citizens.
“In this regard, we express our strong rejection of the use of information and communications technologies in violation of international law, including the right to privacy, and of any action of this nature directed against any Member State, in particular a State member of the Group of 77.
“We further underscore the importance of ensuring that the use of such technologies should be fully compatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular the principles of sovereignty, the non-interference in internal matters and the internationally recognized rules of civil coexistence among States.
“In this regard, we take note with concern of the information published in international media about the objectives of the so-called “ZunZuneo” network, which would constitute an illicit use of new information and communications technologies.
“We therefore reiterate our commitment to intensifying international efforts directed at safeguarding cyberspace and promoting its exclusive use for the achievement of peaceful purposes and as a vehicle to contribute to both economic and social development, and highlight that international cooperation, in full respect of human rights, is the only viable option for fostering the positive effects of information and communications technologies, preventing their potential negative effects, promoting their peaceful and legitimate use and guaranteeing that both scientific and technological progress is directed at preserving peace and promoting the welfare and development of our societies.”
By Martin Khor
G77: Summit addresses MDGs, SDGs and Post-2015 Development Agenda
The Declaration of the G77 Summit held in Santa Cruz on 14-15 June has sections on three prominent issues that are presently the subject of negotiations at the United Nations – the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Declaration should have significant influence on the UN negotiations since it reflects the positions of the G77 and China, at the highest political level, and these positions can be expected to be maintained by the Group during the negotiations on MDGs, SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The negotiations on the SDGs are now taking place in New York and have reached their critical phase, with the report of the Open Working Group scheduled to be presented to the General Assembly this September. The inter-governmental negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda are expected to begin soon after September 2014 when a working group is established for this issue.
The Development Agenda negotiations will culminate in a Development Summit that is expected to be held in September 2015 or later.
Some of the key points made in the Declaration are as follows:
- There are unevenness and gaps in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Many developing countries are not on track to achieving them by 2015. Goal 8 on global partnership for development is key and without international support and systemic changes, several of the Goals will not be achieved in many developing countries by 2015.
- Poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
- SDGs should focus on integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental), and the outcome document of the Rio+20 summit is the basis for the work of the Open Working Group on SDGs.
- Progress in realizing the MDGs, SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda will depend on a pro-development, international, enabling environment and delivering the means of implementation, particularly in the areas of finance, trade, technology and capacity-building, to developing countries.
- The process and outcome of the SDGs Open Working Group should fully respect all the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- The need to define adequate means of implementation for each and every sustainable development goal, as well as the need for a dedicated sustainable development goal on the strengthened global partnership for sustainable development containing broader commitments on the means of implementation and international cooperation for sustainable development.
- The central importance of a just, transparent and inclusive intergovernmental negotiation process in the establishment of the post-2015 agenda; this process will need to focus on its modalities and substantive aspects to arrive at a negotiated and agreed outcome document.
- Poverty eradication must remain the central and overarching objective of the post-2015 development agenda, which should aim to eradicate poverty by 2030.
- The post-2015 development agenda must fully adhere to the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- The importance in the post-2015 Development Agenda of strengthening the global partnership for development, to be based on quantified and time-bound targets, consistent with MDG No. 8 and in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- North-South cooperation remains the core of this partnership and strengthened commitment from developed countries is therefore required to enhance international cooperation and scale up support for developing countries.
- The post-2015 development agenda must address issues of reform of the institutions of global economic governance, to strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in decision-making in these institutions.
- The global economic, financial and trading systems remain imbalanced, to the disadvantage of developing countries; it is important to identify, in the post-2015 development agenda, the weaknesses and imbalances of these global systems and propose actions for improvements.
- The need for a sound implementation mechanism for the post-2015 agenda to ensure development resources for the attainment of goals.
- The need for a responsible accountability approach to be adopted on partnerships involving the UN, particularly as regards participation of the private sector, civil society and philanthropic entities, and for procedures to consider and approve any such initiatives by Member States in the General Assembly, in order to preserve the intergovernmental nature of the UN.
- The importance for the post-2015 development agenda to fully respect the development policy space of developing countries to make use of policy tools and measures that are required to implement their policies.
- The post-2015 development agenda should promote rapid, sustained and inclusive economic growth in developing countries as a key requirement for eradicating poverty and hunger and reducing inequalities within and among countries.
In the Declaration’s section on Millennium Development Goals, the political leaders expressed their commitment to strengthen efforts to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and to take a leading role in shaping the international development agenda during the post-2015 period. They called upon the international community to redouble all efforts for the accelerated achievement of the Goals by 2015 through concrete measures.
They noted the progress achieved so far on the MDGs but were concerned about the unevenness and gaps in achievement and about the vast challenges that remain in developing countries, many of which are not on track to achieving them by 2015.
They underscored the central role of the global partnership for development and the importance of MDG No. 8 in achieving all the Goals and that without substantial international support and systemic changes, several of the Goals will not be achieved in many developing countries by 2015.
They called on the international community to “intensify its efforts to provide enhanced means of implementation to developing countries through a renewed global partnership based on the collective quest to eradicate poverty and deprivation.”
On Sustainable development and sustainable development goals, the Declaration reaffirmed the statement by world leaders in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, “The future we want”, that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
“We reiterate that eradicating poverty, changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production, and protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development are the overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development,” said the statement.
“We also reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development by promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, creating greater opportunities for all, reducing inequalities, raising basic standards of living, fostering equitable social development and inclusion, and promoting integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems that supports, inter alia, economic, social and human development while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration and restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges.”
They stressed that sustainable development goals should address and be focused on the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) and be guided by the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, respecting all the Rio Principles and taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and priorities. They also reaffirmed that the outcome document of that UN Conference is the basis for the work of the Open Working Group on SDGs.
They also stressed that progress in realizing the MDGs, SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda “will depend on progress in creating a pro-development, international, enabling environment and delivering the relevant means of implementation, particularly in the areas of finance, trade, technology and capacity-building, to developing countries.”
They reaffirmed that the guiding principles of the SDGs must be based on all principles set out at the major United Nations summits and conferences in the social, environmental and economic fields and be consistent with international law. The process and outcome of the SDGs Open Working Group should fully respect all the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The SDGs should contribute to the full implementation of the outcomes of all the major summits in the economic, social and environmental fields.
They reaffirmed that “planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that “Mother Earth” is a common expression in a number of countries and regions, and note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of the promotion of sustainable development.”
They were convinced that to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environment needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature. They called for a holistic, integrated approach to sustainable development, which may include, among others, the recognition by some countries of the principles mentioned above, to guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems.
They welcomed the General Assembly dialogue on Harmony with Nature in April 2013, to commemorate International Mother Earth Day. They stressed that the report of the Open Working Group must be the result of an inclusive intergovernmental process.
They underscored the need to define adequate means of implementation for each and every sustainable development goal, as well as the need for a dedicated sustainable development goal on the strengthened global partnership for sustainable development containing broader commitments on the means of implementation and international cooperation for sustainable development.
On the Post-2015 development agenda, the leaders reaffirmed the centrality of a just, transparent and inclusive intergovernmental negotiation process in the establishment of the post-2015 agenda, as decided at the special event towards achieving the MDGs in 2013.
They stressed that this intergovernmental process will need to focus on its modalities and substantive aspects to arrive at a negotiated and agreed outcome document, taking fully into account the outcomes of the various follow-up processes mandated at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development as well as of the major summits and conferences related to the social, economic and environmental fields.
Recalling the statement made at the Rio+20 summit, that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, the leaders emphasized that “poverty eradication must remain the central and overarching objective of the post-2015 development agenda. We strongly support the view that the post-2015 development agenda should reinforce the commitment of the international community to eradicate poverty by 2030.”
The Declaration underlined the need for a coherent approach to the post-2015 development agenda, which should reinforce the commitment of the international community to poverty eradication and the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner with the contributions of the SDGs Open Working Group, the financing for development process, the Intergovernmental Committee on Experts for Sustainable Development Financing, the process to develop options for a UN technology facilitation mechanism and other relevant processes.
The leaders reaffirmed that the post-2015 development agenda must fully adhere to the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
They underscored the importance of strengthening the global partnership for development, to be based on quantified and time-bound targets, consistent with MDG No. 8 and in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in the post-2015 development agenda.
North-South cooperation remains the core of this partnership and South-South and triangular cooperation are a useful complement to North-South cooperation.
“Strengthened commitment from developed countries is therefore required to enhance international cooperation and scale up support for developing countries”, stated the Declaration.
“We emphasize the need for developed countries to urgently fulfil the ODA commitments they have made, individually and collectively, including the target of allocating 0.7 per cent of their GNP to ODA by 2015 and the target of allocating between 0.15 and 0.20 per cent of their GNP for LDCs.
“We emphasize that the post-2015 development agenda must meaningfully address issues of reform of the institutions of global economic governance in order to strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in decision-making in these institutions.
“We also note that the global economic, financial and trading systems remain imbalanced, to the disadvantage of developing countries, and in this regard we stress the importance of identifying, in the post-2015 development agenda, the weaknesses and imbalances of these global systems and of proposing actions for improvements with the aim of supporting the development agenda and the programmes of developing countries.
“We affirm the need for a sound implementation mechanism for the post-2015 agenda to ensure development resources for the attainment of goals. In this regard, we call for the intensification of development financing, for the establishment and improvement of mechanisms of technology transfer and for the enhancement of efforts to build the capacities of developing countries.
“We call for a responsible accountability approach to be adopted on the question of partnerships involving the UN, particularly as regards participation of the private sector, civil society and philanthropic entities. In this regard, we reaffirm the need to enhance transparency, coherence and sustainability, as well as accountability to Member States, in UN partnerships, and stress the need to ensure that procedures exist for the consideration and approval of any such initiatives by Member States in the General Assembly, in order to preserve the intergovernmental nature of the UN.
“We emphasize that the post-2015 development agenda should be an agenda for development, and in this context it is important to advance economic, social and environmental development in a comprehensive, balanced and coordinated manner. This agenda should be broader than that of the Millennium Development Goals and aim to include areas, issues and groups of populations that are key to achieving sustainable development.
“We also stress the importance for the post-2015 development agenda, if it is to be global in nature and universally applicable to all, to fully respect the development policy space of developing countries to make use of policy tools and measures that are required to implement their policies for poverty eradication and other developmental plans and programmes.
“We also stress that the post-2015 development agenda should promote rapid, sustained and inclusive economic growth in developing countries as a key requirement for eradicating poverty and hunger and reducing inequalities within and among countries.“
The Declaration also has a Part V on “Particular needs of developing countries in special situations.”
This Part contains summary descriptions of the needs and challenges faced by various categories of developing countries, and proposals for actions for each of them.
The categories of countries covered in Part V include Africa, the least developed countries, the small island developing States, the landlocked developing countries, and middle-income countries.
The Declaration also dealt with and called for action in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Palestinian people; the issue of Argentina and the United Kingdom on the question of the Malvinas Islands; the sovereignty issues facing developing countries, including the dispute over the Chagos archipelago, including Diego Garcia; the rejection of imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures including unilateral sanctions against developing countries; the embargo of the US against Cuba and the economic sanctions imposed on the Sudan.
By Martin Khor
Towards a New World Order for Living Well: For a Global Brotherhood Among the Peoples
Address by President Evo Morales at the opening of the G77 Special Summit of Heads of States and Governments.
Fifty years ago, great leaders raised the flags of the anticolonial struggle and decided to join their peoples in a march along the path of sovereignty and independence.
Those were the times when the world superpowers and multinationals were battling with each other over the control of territories and natural resources in order to feed their growth at the expense of the poverty of the peoples of the south.
In this context, on June 15, 1964, by the end of an UNCTAD meeting, 77 countries (currently 133 plus China) from the south met to enhance their trade bargaining capacities, by acting in a block that advanced their collective interests and respected their individual sovereign decisions.
During the past 50 years, these countries went beyond their statements and promoted resolutions at the UN and embarked on shared actions in favor of development underpinned by South-South cooperation, a new world economic order, a responsibility for climate change and economic relations based on preferential treatment.
In this journey, the struggle for decolonization, as well as for the peoples’ self-determination and sovereignty over their natural resources must be underscored.
In spite of these efforts and struggles for equality and justice for the peoples around the world, the hierarchies and inequalities have grown in the world.
Today, 10 countries in the world control 40% of the world’s total wealth and 15 multinational corporations control 50% of the global output.
Today, like 100 years ago, acting in the name of the free market and democracy, a handful of imperial powers invades countries, blocks trade, imposes prices on the rest of the world, chokes national economies, plots against progressive governments and applies espionage to the population worldwide.
A tiny elite of countries and multinational corporations control, in an authoritarian fashion, the destinies of the world, its economies and its natural resources.
The economic and social inequality among regions, among countries, among social classes and among individuals has grown abusively.
About 0.1% of the world’s population owns 20% of the asset base of mankind. In 1920, a US business manager made 20 fold the wage of a worker; at present, the difference is 331 fold.
This unfair manner of concentrating wealth and this predatory way of destroying nature are also giving rise to a structural crisis that is becoming unsustainable over time.
It is indeed a structural crisis. It impacts every component of capitalist development; in other words, it is a mutually nurtured crisis involving finances, energy, climate, water, food, institutions and values. It is a crisis inherent to the capitalist civilization.
The financial crisis was prompted by the greedy pursuit of financial capital, which led to profound international financial speculation, a practice that favored certain groups, multinational corporations or power centers that amassed wealth.
These financial bubbles that generate speculative gains eventually burst, and in the process, they plunge into poverty the workers who received inexpensive credits, the middle-class saving-account holders who trusted their savings to greedy speculators, who overnight went bankrupt or took their capital to other foreign countries, thus leading entire nations into bankruptcy.
We are also faced with an energy crisis that is driven by the excessive consumption in developed countries, the pollution of energy sources and the energy hording practices by multinational corporations.
In parallel, we witness a drop in reserves worldwide and high costs of oil and gas development, while production capacity drops due to the gradual depletion of fossil fuels and global climate change.
The climate crisis is caused by the anarchical capitalist production, the consumption levels and unharnessed industrialization of which, have given rise to excess emissions of polluting gases that in turn have led to global warming and natural disasters with effects on the world all over.
For more than 15 000 years prior to the era of capitalist industrialization, the load of green-house gases did not exceed 250 particles per million of molecules in the air.
Since the 19th century, and in particular the 20th and 21st centuries, thanks to the actions of predatory capitalism, this count has risen to 400 particles, and as a result, global warming has become an irreversible process with its aftermath of weather disasters the primary impacts of which are felt in the poorest and most vulnerable countries of the south; specially, the island nations that are being hit by the thawing glaciers.
In turn, global warming is giving rise to a water supply crisis that is compounded by the privatization, source depletion and commercialization of fresh water. As a consequence, the number of people without access to running water is growing fast.
The water shortage in many parts of the planet is causing armed conflicts and wars that further worsen the availability of this non-renewable resource.
The world population is growing, while food production is dropping, and these trends are leading to a food crisis. Add to these issues the reduction of food-growing lands, the imbalances between urban and rural areas, the monopoly exercised by multinational corporations over the distribution of seeds and agricultural inputs, and the food pricing speculation.
The imperial model of concentration and speculation also caused an institutional crisis that is described as an unequal and unjust distribution of power in the world; in particular, within the UN system; including, without limitation, the IMF and the WTO.
As a result of all these issues, the peoples’ social rights are at stake. The promise of equality and justice for the whole world is increasingly distant, and the survival of nature is being threatened by extinction.
We have come to a limit, and global actions must be taken urgently to save society, humanity and Mother Earth.
Bolivia has started to take steps to address these issues. Up to 2005, Bolivia applied a neoliberal policy that gave rise to wealth concentration, social inequality and poverty. As a result, marginalization, discrimination and social exclusion rose. In Bolivia, the historic struggles waged by social movements; in particular, the native, indigenous peasant movement, have helped us launch a Democratic and Cultural Revolution, through ballot win and without the use of violence. This revolution is rooting out exclusion, exploitation, hunger and hatred, and it is rebuilding the path of balance, complementarity, consensus with home-grown identity; i.e., the live-well model.
In 2006, the Bolivian government introduced a new economic and social policy, as enshrined in a new Community-based socioeconomic and productive model, the pillars of which are the nationalization of natural resources, the recovery of the financial profits for application in the benefit of the entire Bolivian people, the redistribution of the wealth, and the active involvement of the State in the economic activity.
In 2006, the Bolivian State and people made their most significant political, economic and social decision; i.e., the nationalization of the country’s hydrocarbons, a core decision of our revolution. As a result of this measure, the State participates in and controls the ownership of our hydrocarbons and processes our natural gas.
Contrary to the neoliberal prescription that economic growth ought to be based on external market demand (“export or die”), our new model has relied on a combination of exports with a domestic market growth that is primarily driven by income-redistribution policies, relaxation and successive raises of the national minimum wage, annual salary increases in excess of the inflation rate, cross subsidies, and transfer vouchers to the neediest.
As a consequence, the Bolivian GDP grew from $9.0 bn. to over $30.0 bn. in the past eight years.
Our nationalized hydrocarbons, economic growth and cost austerity policy have helped the country generate budget surpluses for eight years in a row, in sharp contrast with the recurrent budget deficits experienced by Bolivia for more than 66 years.
When we took over the country’s administration, the ratio between the wealthiest and poorest Bolivians was 128 fold. This ratio has been cut down to 46 fold. At present, Bolivia ranks among the top six countries with the best income distribution in our region.
It has been shown that the peoples have options and we can defeat the fate imposed by colonialism and neoliberalism.
These achievements produced in such a short span are attributable to the social and political awareness of the Bolivian people.
We have recovered our nation for all of us. Ours was a nation that had been alienated by the neoliberal model, a nation that lived under the old and evil system of political parties, a nation that was ruled from abroad, as if we were a colony.
We are no longer the unviable country we were described as by the international financial institutions. We are no longer an ungovernable country as the US empire would have us believe.
Today, the Bolivian people have recovered their dignity and pride, and we believe in our strength, our destiny and our own selves.
I want to tell the entire world in the most humble terms that the only wise architects that can change their future are the peoples themselves.
Therefore, we intend to build another world, and several tasks have been designed to establish the live-well society.
FIRST: WE MUST MOVE FROM SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TO COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT SO THAT WE CAN LIVE WELL AND IN HARMONY AND BALANCE WITH MOTHER EARTH.
We need to conceive a vision that is different from the western capitalist development model. We must move from the sustainable development paradigm to the live-well comprehensive development approach that seeks not only a balance among human beings, but also a balance and harmony with our Mother Earth.
No development model can be sustainable if production destroys Mother Earth as a source of life and our own existence. No economy can be long lasting if it generates inequalities and exclusions.
No progress is just and desirable if the well-being of some is at the expense of the exploitation and impoverishment of others.
“Live-Well Comprehensive Development” means the supply of wellbeing for everyone, without exclusions. It means respect for the diverse economies of our societies. It means respect for local knowledge. It means respect for Mother Earth and its biodiversity as a source of nurture for future generations.
Live-Well Comprehensive Development also means production to satisfy actual needs, rather than to expand profits infinitely.
It means to distribute wealth and to heal the wound caused by inequality, rather than widening the injustice.
It means combining modern science with the age-old technological wisdom held by the indigenous, native and peasant peoples that interact with nature respectfully.
It means listening to the people, rather than the financial markets.
It means placing Nature at the core of life and regarding the human being as just another creature of Nature.
The Live-Well Comprehensive Development model of respect for Mother Earth is not an environmentalist economy for poor countries, while the rich nations expand inequality and destroy Nature.
Comprehensive development is only viable if applied worldwide, if the States, in conjunction with their respective peoples, exercise control over their energy resources.
We need technologies, investments, production and credits, as well as companies and markets, but we shall not subordinate them to the dictatorship of profit gain and luxury. Instead, we must place them at the service of the peoples in the satisfaction of their needs and for the expansion of the shared goods and assets.
SECONDLY: SOVEREIGNTY EXERCISED OVER NATURAL RESOURCES AND STRATEGIC AREAS.
The countries that have raw materials should and can take sovereign control over the production and processing of their raw materials.
The nationalization of strategic companies and areas can help the State take over the management of production, exercise sovereign control over its wealth, embark on a planning process that leads to the processing of raw materials, and distribute the profit among its people.
Exercising sovereignty over natural resources and strategic areas does not mean isolation from global markets; rather, it means connecting to those markets in the benefits of our countries, and not in the benefit of few private owners. Sovereignty over natural resources and strategic areas does not mean preventing foreign capital and technologies from participating. It means subordinating these capital and technologies to the needs of each country.
THIRDLY: WELLBEING FOR EVERYONE AND THE PROVISION OF BASIC SERVICES AS A HUMAN RIGHT.
The worst tyranny faced by humankind is the basic services under the control of multinational corporations. This practice subjugates humanity to the specific interests and commercial aims of a minority that becomes rich and powerful at the expense of the life and security of other persons.
This is why we claim that basic services are inherent to the human condition. How can a human being live without running water, power supply or communications? If human rights make us all equal, this equality can only be realized if access to basic services is universal. Access to water, light and communications makes us all equal.
The resolution of social inequities requires that both the international law and the national legislation of each country define basic services (such as water, power supply, communications and basic health care) as a fundamental human right of every individual.
This means that the States have a legal obligation to secure the universal provision of basic services, irrespective of their costs or margins.
FOURTHLY: EMANCIPATION FROM THE EXISTING INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FINANCIAL ARCHITECTURE.
We propose that we rid ourselves from the international financial yoke by building a new financial system that prioritizes the requirements of the productive operations in the countries of the South, within the context of comprehensive development.
We must incorporate and enhance banks of the South that support industrial development projects, reinforce regional and domestic markets, and promote trade among our countries, but on the basis of complementarity and solidarity.
We also need to promote sovereign regulation over the global financial transactions that threaten the stability of our national economies.
We must design an international mechanism for the restructure of our debts that help reinforce the dependence of the peoples of the south and strangle our chances of development.
We must replace the international financial institutions, such as the IMF, for other entities that provide for a better and broader participation of the countries of the South in their decision-making structures that are currently managed by imperial powers.
We also need to define limits to the gains from speculation and to the excessive accumulation of wealth.
FIFTHLY: BUILD A MAJOR ECONOMIC, SCIENTIFIC, TECHNOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL PARTNERSHIP AMONG THE MEMBERS OF G-77 PLUS CHINA.
After centuries under colonial rule, transfer of wealth to imperial metropolises and impoverishment of our economies, the southern countries are once again gaining critical importance in the performance of the world economy.
Asia, Africa and Latin America are not only home to 77% of the world’s population, but also account for nearly 43% share in the world economy. And this importance is on the rise. The peoples of the South are the future of the world.
Immediate actions must be taken to reinforce and plan this inescapable global trend.
We need to expand trade among the southern countries. We also need to gear our productive operations to the requirements of other economies in the South, on the basis of complementarity necessities and capacities.
We need to implement technology transfer programs among the southern countries. Technological sovereignty and leadership that are critical for a new global economy based on justice will not be obtained by any country acting on its own.
Science must be an asset held by the entire humankind. Science must be placed at the service of everyone’s wellbeing, without exclusions or hegemony. A decent future for all the peoples around the world will require integration for liberation, rather than cooperation for domination.
For the purpose of discharging these worthy tasks in the benefit of the peoples around the world, we have invited Russia and other foreign countries that are our brothers in needs and commitments to join the G-77.
Our G-77 partnership does not have an institution of its own that gives effect to the remarks, statements and action plans of our countries. For this reason, Bolivia proposes that a decolonization and South-South cooperation institute be established.
This institute will be charged with the provision of technical assistance to the southern countries, as well as the further implementation of the proposals made by the G-77 plus China.
The institute will also supply technical and capacity-building assistance for development and self-determination, and it will help conduct research projects. We propose that this institute be headquartered in Bolivia.
SIXTHLY: ERADICATE HUNGER FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
It is imperative that hunger be eradicated and the human right to food be fully exercised and enforced.
Food production must be prioritized with the involvement of small growers and the indigenous peasant communities that hold age-old knowledge in regards this activity.
To be successful in hunger eradication, the southern countries must lay down the conditions for democratic and equitable access to land ownership, in a manner that monopolies over this resource are not authorized to exist in the form of latifundia. Notwithstanding, acreage fragmentation into small and unproductive plots must not be allowed either.
Food sovereignty and security must be enhanced through access to healthy foods in the benefit of the people.
The monopoly held by multinational corporations over the supply of farm supplies must be eliminated as a way to foster food security and sovereignty.
Each country must make sure that the supply of the basic food staples consumed by its people is secured by enhancing production, cultural and environmental practices, and by promoting people-to-people exchanges on the basis of solidarity. The States have an obligation to ensure the supply of power, the availability of road connections and the access to water and organic fertilizers.
SEVENTH: STRENGTHEN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATES, FREE FROM FOREIGN INTERFERENCE, INTERVENTION AND/OR ESPIONAGE.
Within the framework of the UN, a new institutional structure must be propitiated in support of a new world order to live well.
The institutions that emerged after World War II, including the UN, are in need of a thorough reform today.
International agencies that promote peace, eliminate global hegemony and advance equality among states are required.
For this reason, the UN Security Council must be removed. Rather than fostering peace among nations, this body has promoted wars and invasions by imperial powers in their quest for the natural resources available in the invaded countries. Instead of a Security Council, today we witness an insecurity council of imperial wars.
No country, no institution and no interest can justify the invasion of a country by another nation. The sovereignty of the States and the internal resolution of the conflicts existing in any country are the foundation of peace and the UN.
I stand here to denounce the unjust economic blockade imposed on Cuba and the aggressive and illegal policies pursued by the US government against Venezuela, including a legislative initiative offered at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee designed to apply sanctions to this country to the detriment of its sovereignty and political independence; a clear breach of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
These forms of persecution and internationally driven overthrows are the traits of modern colonialism, the colonial practices of our era.
These are our times, the times of the South. We must be able to overcome and heal the wounds caused by fratricidal wars stirred by foreign capitalistic interests. We must strengthen our integration schemes in support of our peaceful coexistence, our development and our faith in shared values, such as justice.
Only by standing together will we be able to give our peoples a decent life.
EIGHTH: DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL OF OUR STATES.
The era of the empires, colonial hierarchies and financial oligarchies is coming to an end. Everywhere we look, we see the peoples around the world calling for their right to play their leading role in history.
The 21st century must be one of the peoples, the workers, the farmers, the indigenous communities, the youth and the women. In other words, it must be the century of the oppressed.
The realization of the peoples’ leading role requires that democracy be renewed and strengthened. We must supplement the electoral democracy with participatory and community-based democracy.
We must move away from the limited parliamentary and party-based governance and into the social governance of democracy.
This means that the decision-making process in any State must take into consideration its parliamentary deliberations, as well as the deliberations held by the social movements that carry the life-giving energy of our peoples.
The renovation of democracy in this century also requires that any political action represents a permanent and full service to life. This service constitutes an ethical, humane and moral commitment to our peoples, to the humblest masses.
For this purpose, we must reinstate the codes of our forefathers; i.e., “thou shall not steal or lie and thou shall not be soft or toady.”
Democracy also means the distribution of wealth and the expansion of the common goods shared by the society.
Democracy means the subordination of rulers to the decisions of the ruled.
Democracy is not a personal benefit vested in the rulers, let alone abuse of power. Democracy means serving the people with love and self-sacrifice. Democracy means dedication of time, knowledge, effort and even life in the pursuit of the wellbeing of the peoples and humanity.
NINTH: A NEW WORLD RISING FROM THE SOUTH FOR THE WHOLE OF HUMANKIND.
The time has come for the nations of the south.
In the past, we were colonized and enslaved. Our stolen labor built empires in the North.
Today, with every step we take for our liberation, the empires grow decadent and begin to crumble.
However, our liberation is not just the emancipation of the peoples of the south. Our liberation is also for the whole humanity. We are not fighting to dominate anyone. We are fighting to make sure that no one becomes dominated.
Only we can save the source of life and society: Mother Earth. Our planet is under a death threat by the greed of predatory and insane capitalism.
Today, another world is not only possible, but also indispensable.
Today, another world is indispensable because, otherwise, no world will be possible.
And that other world of equality, complementarity and organic coexistence with Mother Earth can only emerge from the thousands of languages, colors and cultures existing in brotherhood among the peoples of the south.
Algiers NAM Ministerial Conference reviews existing, new and emerging challenges to the developing world
A Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was successfully held in Algiers on 26-29 May 2014. Below is a report of the conference by Adriano José Timossi of the South Centre, who was a participant at the meeting.
The XVII Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in the Palace of Nations, Algiers (Algeria) from 26 to 29 May 2014, under the theme of: “Enhanced Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity”. A ministerial segment was held from 28 to 29 May with the participation of representatives from more than 100 countries, including over 80 ministers. The NAM represents 120 countries, about two thirds of the UN membership.
The mid-term NAM ministerial meeting served to review the progress and implementation of the Tehran Plan of Action adopted at the XVI NAM Summit of Heads of State and Governments held in 2012 in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to prepare for the upcoming NAM Summit to be held in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in September 2015. The ministerial conference in Algiers also addressed existing, new and emerging issues of concern and interest to the group. The Post-2015 Development Agenda was also discussed, with the African Union’s common position at the core of the discussions.
The Ministerial Conference was opened by Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal in a statement delivered on behalf of the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which urged the non-aligned countries to join efforts for the strengthening of the role of the United Nations General Assembly and the reform of the Security Council. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, current chair of the G77, attended the opening session and urged the countries present to attend the G77 Summit, scheduled for June 14 and 15 2014 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which will celebrate the Group’s 50th anniversary. Ramtane Lamamra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, chair of the 17th NAM Ministerial Conference, said that “in the globalization era and a world that is more and more complex, NAM’s call for a new international order remains a requirement”.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the current chair of NAM, said that the success of the NAM “hinges on unity, solidarity and cohesion of member states of the Non-Aligned Movement and a sober realization of the challenges and the opportunities that bind them together”. He said that the international community has been undergoing profound and rapid changes in the past two decades; and unprecedented opportunities and challenges have presented themselves. “While members of the Movement like the rest of the world have different views and perspectives and at times divergent interests on some issues, what brings us together is far greater than those differences”.
Minister Lamamra organized a special breakfast session where the African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), led a discussion on the Post-2015 development agenda.
The day after the NAM Ministerial Meeting, the first meeting of the NAM-G77 Joint Coordination Committee at the Ministerial Level was held at the Palace of Nations in Algiers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the creation of G77. Minister Lamamra said on opening the meeting that the forthcoming end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era and the ongoing drafting of the Post-2015 Development Agenda is a double reason for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 to coordinate efforts.
Minister Lamamra stressed the importance of joint efforts between the NAM and the G77 “to make these two organizations influence the decision making and able to reshape the future economy for the welfare and development of our peoples.” He also said that “the African common position will be at the heart of the positions of NAM and G-77 in next September’s meeting”. In his capacity as chair of the G77, Sacha Llorenti, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations in New York, was critical of the developed countries’ role in the achievement of the millennium development goals. “The developed countries often tried to hinder the achievement of the millennium goals for development, as they did not respect all of their commitments in terms of development aid.” Ambassador Llorenti stated that “colonization still exists, but under other forms and through international economic and financial bodies, including the International Monetary Fund.”
A joint communiqué was adopted, acknowledging the importance of the vision, principles and objectives of the rationale for the creation of the G77 and NAM that are indispensable today, and indeed, “more valid, than at that time”, in a world of continued deterioration of the political, social, economic, financial, environmental situation which is increasingly affecting the countries of the South. The statement called on the 133 heads of state and government of the G77 to attend the upcoming G77 Summit, to be held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on 14-15 June. It also endorsed Algeria’s initiative to convene a ministerial meeting of the NAM-G77 Joint Coordination Committee in New York in September 2015, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations and to shape an enhanced coordination on economic and environmental issues, including climate change, on the agenda of the UN system.
The week of meetings in Algiers ended with the High Level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South with the view of updating the Platform for the Development of the South, as well as to reiterate the commitments of the group to the promotion of South-South Cooperation. The meeting was a follow-up to the Panel meeting held in Fiji, in May 2013. Eminent personalities taking part in the event included former South African President Thabo Mbeki; Lakhdar Brahimi, a well known Algerian diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and who had attended the Belgrade Summit in 1961 which created the NAM; the AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, among others. The chairs of the G77 chapters were also present in the meeting. Dr. Manuel Montes, Senior Advisor on Finance and Development at the South Centre, introduced the two background papers prepared by the South Centre to the Panel of Eminent Personalities on the issues of Climate Change and Sustainable Development and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In a speech, former President Mbeki recalled that the G77+China was established to ‘provide the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.’
Talking on the global financial and economic crises, President Mbeki referred to the South Centre papers “The Staggering Rise of the South?” and “Waving or Drowning: Developing Countries after the Financial Crisis” which have argued that in the aftermath of the 2008 financial and economic crisis the favourable conditions which facilitated the rapid growth of the South will no longer exist.
Extract of former South African President H. E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki’s speech at the XVII NAM Ministerial Conference
More recently, the South Centre has argued that in the aftermath of the 2008 financial and economic crisis the favourable conditions which facilitated the rapid growth of the South will no longer exist.
Accordingly, to adjust to this, in a 2012 article entitled “The Staggering Rise of the South?”, Yılmaz Akyüz of the South Centre has suggested that:
“Emerging economies such as BRICS and others need to reconsider their development strategies in order to gain considerable autonomy in growth and become major players in the global economy…First, starting with China, the East Asian surplus economies need to reduce their dependence on markets in Advanced Economies by promoting national and regional markets. They need to expand domestic consumption rapidly and this calls for a significant increase in the share of household income in GDP”
“Deficit Developing and Emerging Economies need to reduce their dependence on foreign capital. Most of them also need to increase investment significantly. The majority of these countries are commodity exporters and the two key determinants of their economic performance, capital flows and commodity prices, are largely beyond their control. Reducing vulnerability on both fronts crucially depends on their progress in industrialisation.”
More generally, the South Centre has proposed that:
“Dependence on foreign markets and capital should be reduced. There is also a need to redefine the role of the state and markets, not only in finance but also in all key areas affecting industrialization and development, keeping in mind that there is no industrialisation without active policy.”
(Waving or Drowning: Developing Countries after the Financial Crisis: Yılmaz Akyüz, Paper 48, June 2013).
The preceding remarks and recommendations, which relate to strengthening South-South Cooperation, about diverse matters such as trade, foreign capital, industrialisation, mobilisation of domestic investment resources, domestic and regional markets, and income distribution make a critically important statement.
That statement is that if we are indeed serious about South-South Cooperation, as we are, we must be ready to fashion our domestic policies in a manner that promotes this Cooperation.
Naturally this poses the question whether we have the effective institutions accepted by all of us, members of the G77+China, which have the authority and capacity to help drive these and other policy initiatives!
South Centre Statement delivered by Dr. Manuel Montes, Special Advisor on Finance and Development, on behalf of the Executive Director, Mr. Martin Khor, at the XVII NAM Ministerial Conference
The world economy is facing bleak prospects largely because the systemic shortcomings in the global economic and financial architecture that gave rise to the most serious post-war crisis remain unresolved. This scenario poses serious risks to peace and security globally. The Non-Aligned Movement has a vital role to play in ensuring that the actions and commitments undertaken to respond to the crisis, which must include a fundamental transformation of the international economic system, are realized in a timely manner. Particular attention must be paid to disciplining policy measures by the developed world, which are greatly harming the South. The unity of the Movement and a constant generation of mutual political support with its sister organization, the Group of 77, are crucial. Developing countries, both through the NAM and the G77 as well as through their respective regional institutions and groupings, are now deeply engaged on a daily basis in critical international governance and negotiation processes in a variety of issues, including the economic and financial crisis, the multilateral trading system, sustainable development and post-2015 agendas, global health, and climate change, all of which will involve crucial decisions either by the end of this year and during the coming year.
With the global economy mired in the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s and in light of the harmful, self-interested, policies of the North, cooperation among developing countries at all levels and in all spaces of international and domestic relations is critical for meeting the challenges of the times.
For far too long, many have had their fortunes determined by the few who benefited from the days of empires and colonization. The situation of ongoing crises is an opportunity to intensify efforts to restructure the rules and arrangements of the global economic system towards the interests of developing countries. These are crises that, in large part, are due to the policies and actions of those that would seek to continue to dominate the world. In the midst of the multiple crises that buffet our global community lie the seeds for the rearrangement of international affairs into more equitable forms.
Thoroughgoing changes in global economic policy and architecture will be necessary to reflect the interests of developing countries, removing unfair and unbalanced processes in existing institutions, strengthening others to make them more development-oriented and introducing mechanisms and regulations that are required to sustain development efforts.
Eliminating monopoly and hegemonic control over global resources and markets will require domestic initiatives and coordinated actions among disadvantaged nations at the international level. Through legal manoeuvring and the exercise of domineering economic power, the developed world blocks the ability of nations to apply their own resources toward their own development and obstructs poor nations’ access to knowledge and technologies needed to upgrade the capabilities of their peoples. Developing countries must turn back this unfavourable tide through a fundamental reshaping of free trade agreements and multilateral obligations.
The South Centre was born as a result of a conscious understanding by our Member States that developing countries need to have their own independent multilateral intergovernmental think tank.
The South Centre is, like the NAM and its sister, the Group of 77, a genuine multilateral institution of the South, for the South, and by the South. It is therefore my honor to invite those Member States of the NAM that are not yet Member States of the South Centre to consider joining the Centre by acceding to our Intergovernmental Agreement.
The South Centre will continue working tirelessly to assist developing countries on major policy issues and generate ideas and action-oriented proposals for consideration by their governments and formal and informal groups such as the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.
These transformations will no doubt be resisted by those who currently benefit from the present policies and architecture. Hence, the most important prerequisite for us as developing countries to be able to effect real changes in the rules and relations that govern us is for us to work collectively – to enlarge South-South cooperation at all levels, on all issues, and in all forums. In this regard, the NAM will find the South Centre to be a reliable partner.
The G77 Geneva celebrates 50th anniversary with the launch of the Gamani Corea Forum
By Adriano José Timossi
A High Level Meeting of the Group of 77 and China to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary was held on 18 June 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. H.E. Mr. Bamanga Abbas Malloum, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Chad and Chairperson of the Geneva Chapter of the Group of 77 for 2014 opened the meeting noting that a half-century ago the founding fathers of the group met in Geneva with the noble ambition to change the world for the better. “They sought to remedy the wrongs of centuries and realize a world of fairness, justice, and equity, in which developing countries would take their rightful place among the ranks of the prosperous countries”. The Chair of the G77 and China said that for some members of the group, that dream came true. Others are on the threshold of success. Many others remain as they were 50 years ago. What has not changed is the undisputed fact that what unites developing countries is more than their individual level of development; this is their solidarity and commitment to bring prosperity for all.
Speaking on the new initiative of the group, the Gamani Corea Forum, Ambassador Malloum said that “a man who embodied the finest principles of the confident South that gave birth to our group and to our movement was Gamani Corea. His contributions to the cause are many, and it is fitting that we name in his honor our major initiative for the strengthening of the group.” The Gamani Corea forum, he said, is “a simple yet potentially powerful initiative to strengthen our group: it seeks to harness the experience and knowledge of former UNCTAD officials and diplomats in order to enhance the capacity of the Geneva chapter”.
The Geneva Chapter also launched the G77 Geneva occasional paper series. The intention is to provide a platform for intellectual inputs from the South to be distributed to negotiators of the group. The Chair of the G77 Geneva Chapter invited all delegations to submit documents and other similar intellectual inputs they wish to share with other group members. Both initiatives will “greatly enrich the intellectual efforts of the group and indeed serve as a contribution to the finalization of the Geneva Platform on Development which we should finish by the end of this year,” he said.
Two key statements were made by Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and Mr. Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre.
Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi stressed that fifty years ago, at the Palais des Nations, a group of nations came together with the firm determination to confront and tackle the problems faced by developing countries. This determination is part of the genesis of UNCTAD and the G77. He stressed that “our institutions have different mandates, but our DNA is similar and our history intertwined: half a century ago, both institutions were created for advancing the development process”. The group succeeded in becoming the “voice of developing nations”. Mr. Kituyi also said, “since its foundation the group has provided the means for your countries to articulate and promote your collective economic interests, enhancing your joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues”.
He congratulated the group for setting up the Gamani Corea Forum as it will serve as an important venue for a reflection of constant efforts of developing countries to find ways to address development challenges, and in particular, how to better harness international trade for development. “The choice of the Forum’s name reflects the interconnections between our institutions: Gamani Corea, a giant of development thinking, was a true champion of the South and was also an essential pillar in the foundations of UNCTAD”.
Mr. Martin Khor stated that fifty years ago the Group of 77 was formed with the goal to promote international economic equality and the interests of the developing world. He also said that the past fifty years have seen great success including initiating the New International Economic Order, the Right to Development, and advancing the cause of development in UNCTAD and many United Nations Conferences and Declarations. He welcomed the new initiative by the Geneva Chapter of the Group of 77 and China noting that it is “most fitting to establish the Gamani Corea Forum at this meeting as he was a great thinker, fighter and organizer for the developing world in all his capacities as delegate, UNCTAD Secretary-General and Chair of the South Centre”. Mr Khor concluded by wishing the G77 an “even greater success ahead in the many endeavors and battles for development in the world economy and for the developing world’s interests in the year ahead”.
Delegations from various member states took the floor to deliver statements to the commemorative meeting. H.E. Ambassador Rajab M. Sukayri, Permanent Representative of Jordan, spoke on behalf of the Asian Group, saying that it was impossible to address the history of the United Nations without understanding the impact of the Group of 77. Fifty years from the inception of the G77, he called upon its membership to continue to pursue their broader objectives and always remain focused on their core value of solidarity. “Despite the odds and despite the differences that may mark the individual members of the group, at the end of the day we unite and defend each other, and advance the collective interests of developing countries”. Speaking on the Gamani Corea Forum and its upcoming first session to be held in July he encouraged to “focus on how to recapture the spirit of ‘64 to better address the realities of today. We must recapture the spirit of UNCTAD as an institution with a broad transformative agenda for a profoundly noble objective: to reform the international economic system to bring prosperity for all.” He identified the post-2015 development agenda and the implementation of the Santa Cruz outcomes as two key issues to be addressed in the first Forum.
H.E. Mr. Nkopane Monyane of the Kingdom of Lesotho on behalf of the African Group commended the G77 members for the various achievements, principles and values they have systematically defended during these past 50 years, “especially the various endeavours aimed at vindicating the interests of the Group for years to come”. Ambassador Monyane also said that the creation of the Group, on June 15, 1964 in Geneva at the end of UNCTAD I, remains a historic turning point in the multilateral system. “It allowed developing countries to establish a common platform to express its principal concerns and consensually defend the economic interests of developing countries. Through collective action, member countries as a whole have acquired the capacity to influence the content of international discussions. The Group was initially made up of 77 members but now stands at 133 members”.
“During its fifty years of commitment to development, the G77 and China has continued to expend efforts in the context of a rapidly changing global economy and the transformation of international economic relations. Faced with new challenges and the new opportunities lying ahead, much remains to be done. In fact, the G77 and China, has become a symbol of the unity of developing countries, has focused on mitigating the vulnerability of our countries, and empowering all towards a collective development. What is required, henceforth, is to strengthen our common will and individual commitments, commensurate with the expectations of our countries and our people, in favour of sustained economic growth and development of our respective regions.”
“Given that the celebration of the anniversary of the G77 coincides with the launch of the Gamani Corea Forum, the African Group stands ready to rise to the challenges and contribute to the success of this Forum especially as Africa engages in discussions on the “Agenda 2063” of the African Union where the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years”.
Ms. Merlana Henry, representative of Trinidad and Tobago, delivered the speech on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), and said that the establishment of the G77 and China in 1964 was a pivotal moment for multilateralism. “Countries of the South, notwithstanding their size, wealth and economic and social systems, combined their efforts to pursue their vision for a fair and equitable global economic system with development and improved social welfare of their citizens at the heart of their initiative”, she said. She also said that throughout its history the G77 and China has been a pillar of South-South solidarity and cooperation. Though there have been moments of divergence due to the Group’s diversity, through negotiation and cooperation, the Group has managed to maintain its solidarity and successfully functions as a unit bound by common objectives.
“With a strong partner in the UNCTAD Secretariat, the G77 and China lobbied for initiatives that addressed the key concerns of the South. These included initiatives to address debt relief; negotiations on a code of conduct for the transfer of technology; the launch of the Generalized System of Trade Preferences; and, of key importance, negotiations on the Declaration on the New International Economic Order. All these are crucial issues promoted by Dr. Gamani Corea, author of the first declaration of the Group of 77 and UNCTAD’s third Secretary-General”.
The representative of GRULAC also reiterated that over the years the G77 and China has expanded beyond the focus on trade to include, among others, issues such as global governance, migration, climate change, intellectual property, and access to knowledge. The Group’s ability to negotiate on these issues was strengthened with the establishment of the South Centre, think thank for the South, in 1995. The South Centre, guided by its two principles – South unity in diversity and South progress through cooperation, provides sound policy advice to the G77 on a range of major development related issues.
She noted that the Post-2015 agenda is another key issue upon which we should reflect as a Group: what value-addition could be derived from the post-2015 agenda? How can South-South solidarity and cooperation be enhanced to influence the implementation of the sustainable development goals?
Mr. Jesus Domingo, Assistant Secretary of the Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, the upcoming Chair of the Group of 77 and China Geneva Chapter in 2015 welcomed the initiative to create an intellectual space for further strengthening the intellectual capacity of the Group at this important and historic time. “The cumulative outcome of this work would form the basis of our substantive preparations for UNCTAD XIV, which begin in earnest next year with the elaboration of the theme and sub-themes of the conference”.
His Excellency Mr. Séraphin Lissassi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Benin spoke on behalf of the LDC Group, and reaffirmed support of his group and said the meeting was an opportunity not only to revisit the past actions of the Group of 77 and China but also to look forward to medium and long term deadlines such as the conclusion of the Doha Round, the Sustainable Development and Post-2015 Agenda, preparations for UNCTAD XIV, the preparative process for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the climate conference.
H.E. Mr. Raul Silvero, Deputy Permanent Representative of Paraguay, on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), stressed the need for a comprehensive agenda, more than a sectorial one. The LLDCs need to develop productive capacity to trade and participate more actively in the international market, not only with commodities but with value-added goods. “We still need huge investment flows to establish transport links and improve them as well in a regional cooperation scheme, including matters related to border trade. We ask for the continued G77 and China support and understanding in the development challenges and difficulties faced by the LLDCs.”
H.E. Ms. Angélica Navarro Llanos, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, host country of the G77 Summit, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the group, reiterated the words of President Evo Morales at the Santa Cruz Summit of the G77 where he said that “50 years ago, great leaders raised the flags of the anti-colonial struggle and decided to march with their people down the path of sovereignty and independence…” In this context, she said, on the 15th of June 1964, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 77 countries of the South met to improve their trade negotiations capacity, forming a group of countries aiming to promote their collective interests and respecting their sovereign decisions. However, despite all the efforts and struggles for equality and justice of people around the world, hierarchies and planetary inequalities have increased. But this unfair concentration of wealth, this predatory way to destroy nature, is also generating a structural crisis that is becoming untenable in time. It is becoming a structural crisis, because it affects all components of the development of capitalism itself. This means that it is a crisis of finance, energy, climate, water, food, institutions and values, several crises which are linked to each other.
Ambassador Navarro Llanos also said, “We have reached a limit and we must take urgent action to save society, humanity and Mother Earth. We need to build a different view than that of Western capitalist development, and move from the paradigm of sustainable development to the paradigm of Integral Development for Living Well, which seeks not only the balance between human beings, but the balance and harmony with our Mother Earth.” In this regard, she suggested the following tasks to build the live-well society: To move from sustainable development to a holistic development for living well, in harmony and balance with Mother Earth; Sovereignty over natural resources and strategic areas; Welfare for all including basic services as a human right; The emancipation of the current international financial system and building a new financial architecture; Build a reinforced economic, scientific, technological and cultural partnership of the G77 + China; Eradicate hunger in the world; Strengthen the sovereignty of states without intervention, interference or espionage; The democratic renewal of States; and A new world from the South for all mankind. “Today another world is necessary because otherwise there will be no possible world (at all). And this other world of equality, complementarity, and holistic coexistence with Mother Earth, can only arise from the thousand languages, the thousand colors, and the thousand cultures of the peoples of the South.”
The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement said that the global economic crisis is a great economic challenge which has been compounded by long-standing and emerging challenges such as food security, underdevelopment, climate change, and more, which should all be addressed in a holistic manner and be tackled through concerted efforts. He also said that “despite challenges we were faced with in recent years, we also witnessed successes. These successes were a result of the cohesion and unity of the Group. Our unity, solidarity and collective efforts should remain as the guiding principles in promoting our common interests”.
H.E. Mrs. Rebeca Sanchez Bello, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, upcoming Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement in 2015 said that over the past 50 years, the G77 has promoted resolutions at the United Nations and embarked on shared actions in favor of development underpinned by South-South cooperation, a new world economic order, a responsibility for climate change and economic relations based on preferential treatment. She emphasized the need to build on these foundations and continue to make progress towards a world order that is just, equitable, stable and peaceful. In other words: a New World Order for living well.
“Today, the G77 represents the greatest coalition of humanity and remains a vital negotiating instrument in economic multilateral diplomacy, as well as in ensuring peace and justice through international cooperation for development within the framework of the United Nations. This has been the thrust of the joint expression of South-South solidarity since the Group’s creation, and its collective voice has spread to every institution and international organization representing the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the world’s population”.
Sanchez Bello noted that despite five decades of achievements in the struggle for equality and justice for the peoples around the world, there are still serious shortfalls in the fulfilling of our Group’s objectives. Indeed, there is much progress still to be made in many of our countries in meeting the needs of our people.
“These ongoing and emerging challenges must be overcome within the framework of South-South and North-South cooperation. The G77 has an important role to play in the years to come, notably through the promotion and implementation of its noble ideas, which are multilateralism, and not bilateralism; peace and not conflict; law as the basis for international relations; and trade and finance at the service of humankind and not just a powerful minority, are the values on which we must find a consensus if we are to reach a world that is stable, just and peaceful.”
H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of China said that 50 years ago, the Group of 77 was born in Geneva at the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development with the mandate of establishing a more fair and equitable international order and promoting the collective interests of the developing world. Since then the Group has been striving to speak with one voice in the international arena and fighting strenuously for the legitimate rights of its members. It has burgeoned into a banner of unity and cooperation among developing countries.
“Over the past 50 years, the world has undergone profound and complex changes. As economic globalization gathers pace, deep changes are brewing in the international system. Many developing countries have embarked on the fast track of development, the international balance of power is moving towards greater equilibrium, and the representation and voice of developing countries in global governance have been raised”.
“Developing countries should pool their efforts to strengthen coordination to maintain unity as a Group. In the face of the new developments in North-South relations, developing countries should be on guard against any attempt of sowing discord among us. We have to seek common ground while reserving differences, come to each other’s support readily, and defend our interests better, through a further strengthened G77 +China mechanism. We should work together to be more vocal and effective in the global debate on development, enhance South-South cooperation, in order to shape globalization in a more balanced, inclusive and mutually beneficial manner”.
“As we are moving towards the post-2015 development agenda, it is time to renew past glory of the Group and to revitalize international development cooperation, building on past achievements to make new progress. As a member of the developing world, China shares a common destiny as well as the same aspiration and vision with other developing countries. China values the G77+China mechanism, and we will further strengthen cooperation with other developing countries so as to help them achieve faster development”.
Adriano José Timossi is Programme Officer of the Global Governance for Development Programme (GGDP) of the South Centre.
G77 50th anniversary celebrations in Nairobi
By Manuel Montes
The 50th anniversary of the founding of the G77 was celebrated in Nairobi on 13 June 2014 in an event organised by the G77 Nairobi chapter. H.E. Mr. Ittiporn Boonpracong, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand and Chair of the Group of 77 and China, organised and hosted the program.
There were two sessions. The first session comprised messages from UN entities and the second was a panel on current issues relevant to the G77. The meeting was held in a big hall, and there were at the highest point at least 70 people in the audience. The major delegations of the G77 and China in Nairobi participated in the event. There were also some non-G77 countries present such as Italy.
Ambassador Ittiporn’s welcoming remarks highlighted the role of the G77 in the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its location in Kenya, a developing country, after the Earth Summit.
In the first panel, the speech by Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, was read by Dr. Karanja Kibicho, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Kenya. She underscored the critical role that G77 played in the development agenda including in Rio in 1992 and Rio+20 in 2012.
Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), greeted the gathering through a recorded video message. He congratulated the G77, emphasizing how UNCTAD and G77 had grown together in analyzing and proposing reforms to overcome the inequities and imbalances in the global economic system.
Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive-Director of UNEP, thanked the G77 for its support for UNEP, both in its founding and continuing activities. He traced the changes in the environmental discourse from Rio in 1992 when he said the question from the point of view of G77 countries was “their pollution” (meaning the pollution caused by the developed countries) to the present time when the problem is a case of “our pollution.” Mr. Steiner also highlighted the upcoming UN Environment Assembly.
Dr. Joan Close, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), highlighted the fact that the coming growth in the urban population will be mostly in the developing countries and the G77 has a critical role to play in this challenge.
The second session was a technical panel. The first speaker was Dr. Alex O. Awiti, Director of the East African Institute of the Aga Khan University. He challenged the audience on how serious the commitment is and the courage that can be mustered in averting climate change. He said that one problem was the over-obsession with growth.
Dr. Manuel Montes of the South Centre spoke next, where he made the point that without finance and technology developing countries will find it prohibitive to do their part in combatting climate change. Combatting climate change will require major reforms in the global intellectual property regime and the global financial system.
Mr. Li Bin, bureau chief of China Central Television (CCTV) Africa spoke about the role of media in mobilizing populations to act responsibly in environmental matters, protecting habitats and biodiversity.
Mr. Sherif Dawoud, Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt spoke about the critical role of the youth in development and in safeguarding the environment.
The final panelist was H.E. Dr. Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations Office at Nairobi, UNEP, and UN-Habitat. A senior Kenyan diplomat, Dr. Kimani highlighted two issues – (1) the question of violence and conflict that causes development reversals and (2) the issue of foreign debt and the inequities and development reversals debt crises can inflict.
The open forum elicited a few comments. The Venezuelan Permanent Representative asked about whether the current model is behind the shortfalls in development and in environmental protection. The Colombian Permanent Representative brought up the problem of growth and youth unemployment.
A reception followed the celebration. This was also well-attended by delegations in Nairobi.
The Group of 77 and China also held a Ministerial Commemorative Luncheon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the group on Friday, 27 June 2014 on the sidelines of the first United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. The lunch was hosted by Ambassador Ittiporn and had speeches from the UNCTAD Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.
Manuel Montes is Senior Advisor of Finance and Development at the South Centre.
G77 Ministerial meeting in Rome celebrates with theme on agriculture and food security
The commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Group of 77 and China in Rome began with a Ministerial Meeting on the theme of “The Group of 77 & China in 2014: Realities and Prospects” held at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters on 17 June 2014. In his welcoming remarks, H.E. Dominique Awono Essama, Ambassador of the Republic of Cameroon and Chairperson of the Group of 77 and China – Rome Chapter said that the choice of this theme had been driven by the ambition to take a look back at the successes achieved by the group, but also the difficulties encountered since its creation on the one hand, and on the other hand, to look to the future to deal with the new socio-economic development challenges of its members.
Dr. José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, said that the diversity of the group is what gives the strength to stand united behind a common purpose and share the same commitment to build a common and constructive agenda for sustainable development. “The role that the G77 and China plays has received widespread recognition in the international arena. I also want to manifest my appreciation for your efforts” he said. Referring to the G77 Summit held in June in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, the FAO Director-General highlighted three key points of the declaration which related to the work of the institution. Firstly, he highlighted the importance of South-South Cooperation in areas such as promoting food security and nutrition, and facing climate change. Secondly, he highlighted the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), to be jointly organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) next November, as a major forum to define how to tackle malnutrition.
Thirdly, he highlighted the fact that the declaration acknowledges the re-appointment of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, His Excellency Evo Morales Ayma, and the First Lady of Peru, Her Excellency Nadine Heredia De Humala, as FAO Special Ambassadors for the International Year of Quinoa. “Their advocacy in favor of quinoa and food security will continue to be relevant as we celebrate the International Year of Family Farming in 2014” he said. Dr. Graziano da Silva ended by acknowledging that the Group of 77 and China has been a strong supporter of FAO and that both share an understanding of the role that FAO plays in helping reach food security and sustainable development goals.
H.E. Essimi Menye, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Cameroon, said that the Group of 77 and China has succeeded to constitute an unavoidable negotiating force on international forums. The group succeeded in many cases, particularly, at FAO. He mentioned the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; the reform of FAO and its governance bodies; reform of the Committee on World Food Security; the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment which is under negotiation; the successive consultations for the replenishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development resources; South-South cooperation among others.
H.E. Abdullah Al-Islam Jakob, Deputy Minister of Environment and Forest of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, stated that the G77 and China Rome Chapter fulfilled its mandate by playing an effective role in the three Rome based UN agencies to promote food security, agriculture and rural development and thanked the group for its capacity for negotiating different issues particularly in the fields of agriculture, food security and nutrition.
H.E. Antolín Ayaviri Gómez, Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to FAO, IFAD and WFP, also spoke during the meeting, and provided a briefing of the key outcomes of the declaration of the Santa Cruz Summit of the G77 and China on the issues related to the mandate of the Rome Chapter.
H.E. Gladys Urbaneja Durán, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to FAO, IFAD and WFP, on behalf of the former Chairpersons of the G77 & China – Rome Chapter said that the G77 now has 133 members and has become a major player in diplomacy in economic, political and social issues. The group has improved their bargaining, strengthening multilateralism and ideas, concepts and initiatives that they promote to implement the Charter of the United Nations and therefore, for the realization of fundamental human rights, based on the broader concept of “erga omnes”, ie obligations “must be met with respect to the whole world and all its inhabitants”. She also said that through this collective action, the group has gained strength to influence at international level, which would be impossible to achieve individually.
Mr. Rasit Pertev on behalf of Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), congratulated the G77 and China for reaching this important 50-year milestone. “The ability of the G77 and China – which now consists of some 133 Member States – to act collectively is a powerful tool for eliminating the poverty that so often lies at the root of this devastating hunger” he said. In a speech with strong emphasis on the role of the 500 million smallholder family farms (mostly in the developing world), he stressed the need to have a broad response to the key issues facing smallholders and poor rural people, and to mobilize cofinancing for rural development programmes. The IFAD representative ended by stressing that the G77 and China has an essential role to play in creating the conditions for inclusive economic growth and food and nutrition security for all.
The Director of the South-South and Resource Mobilization Division at FAO, Mr. Jong-Jin Kim, reiterated that FAO is “strongly committed to promote and facilitate South-South Cooperation as a means to ensuring food security for all”. FAO has a key role to play as facilitator of South-South Cooperation: acting as a neutral broker; connecting Southern partners; and ensuring the quality of the cooperation. He highlighted the aims of FAO strategy on South-South Cooperation which includes: 1. facilitating the exchange and uptake of development solutions; 2. promoting platforms for knowledge sharing; 3. mobilizing upstream policy support; and 4. fostering an enabling environment for South-South Cooperation.
By Adriano José Timossi
UNCTAD celebrates 50th anniversary
By Anna Bernardo
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) commemorated its 50th anniversary with a week of public celebration events on 16-20 June 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Fifty years ago, UNCTAD convened its first historic meeting in 1964 in Geneva, “to address inequalities in a global trading system that left newly independent nations and those of the global south at a disadvantage to the rich, industrialized countries”.
It was within this first UNCTAD session that a group of developing countries gathered and issued their Declaration of 77 Countries on 15 June 1964, and thus gave birth to the G77. UNCTAD and the G77 were thus linked at birth.
The 50th year celebrations began on 16 June. At the opening session, the impact of UNCTAD, its present contribution to trade and development, and the way forward were discussed. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi in his statement said that that the world we live in is more complex, with global problems needing global solutions. Like predecessors in UNCTAD I, he asked whether the structures of global economic governance are really fit for purpose, and also questioned how we can build a truly multilateral system that effectively provides global public goods.
Kituyi also relayed an essential message in his speech when he mentioned that “the establishment of UNCTAD signalled an important move beyond the principles that regulated the Bretton Woods institutions and the GATT, when it was agreed that: “Economic development and social progress should be the common concern of the whole international community, and should, by increasing economic prosperity and well-being, help strengthen peaceful relations and cooperation among nations.” Since then, the entire United Nations family has built on this vision”.
A new book, UNCTAD at 50: A Short History, authored by Oxford University economic historian Prof. John Toye, was presented at the opening session. The session was also honoured with the presence of three UNCTAD veterans representing three continents who were present during the early days of UNCTAD.
A round table discussion on the challenges ahead, named in honour of UNCTAD’s founding Secretary-General, Raúl Prebisch, followed. Speakers included development experts Jose Antonio Ocampo, former UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Jayati Ghosh, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Jan Pronk, former Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD. They called for the need for a strong UNCTAD to address development challenges.
On 17 June, the 28th Special Session of the Trade and Development Board (TDB) of UNCTAD was held. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed UNCTAD’s contribution to the UN’s development work as “vital”. He also held that UNCTAD has a vital role to play in helping to deliver the post-2015 agenda. In order to achieve sustainable development, he called to strengthen multilateral cooperation and global partnerships. The Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, and Member States of UNCTAD also addressed the special session of the TDB.
On 18 June, the Third Geneva Dialogue explored trade as a means of implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Various stakeholders actively participated in the event including Member States, international organizations, and representatives of civil society.
Also on June 18, the G77 and China held a high-level anniversary event, including the launch of the Gamani Corea Forum, in honour of Gamani Corea, former UNCTAD Secretary-General and also former Chair of the Board of the South Centre, who died last year.
On 18-19 June, UNCTAD’s annual Public Symposium discussed Macroeconomic Dimensions of Inequality and From Best Policy Practices to Global Transformation. At the latter roundtable, South Centre Executive Director Martin Khor was a speaker. Former UNCTAD Secretary-Generals Supachai Panitchpakdi and Rubens Ricupero also spoke during these debates.
The last day of UNCTAD’s celebratory week, on 20 June, featured a number of special events, including on cutting the cost of remittances and a round table discussion on prospects for small island developing states.
In the words of UNCTAD Secretary-General Kituyi, these events were held “with the constructive aim of leveraging our successes and learning from our missteps, so that we can together chart a course for a worthwhile and fruitful future.”
Anna Bernardo is Editorial Assistant of the South Centre.