NEW YORK, 7 June (UN Department of Public Information) -– The fortieth anniversary of the “Group of 77” developing countries, the coordinating body for developing countries at the United Nations, will take place on 11 and 12 June, just ahead of the opening of a major global economic conference that will recognize the increasing role of these countries as a force in world trade and economic affairs.

The ministerial-level Group of 77 commemoration precedes the 13-18 June eleventh session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XI), in São Paulo, Brazil.  The Group of 77 was formed 40 years earlier, on 15 June 1964, through a joint declaration issued at the first-ever meeting of UNCTAD.

Ministers from developing countries coming to São Paulo to attend the UNCTAD meeting will review the evolution of the Group of 77, mark its achievements and adopt a new strategy of action for developing countries.

“During these 40 years, the Group of 77 and its individual members have made key contributions in advancing the global development agenda”, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said to Group of 77 representatives at a meeting in late April in New York.  “You have played an important role in supporting the work of the United Nations on social, economic and environmental issues.”

At an advance press briefing in New York, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations and Chairman of the Group of 77, said that “it is the firm conviction of the Group that the anniversary meeting would allow the developing countries to come up not only with a common assessment on the latest developments on the international scene, but also to better coordinate their positions on important issues such as the multilateral trade negotiations, the digital divide, the strengthening of South-South cooperation, and the advancement of North-South partnership and dialogue”.

With 132 members, the Group of 77 is the largest grouping of governments from the South.  It has worked in the field of international economic relations towards narrowing the gap between developing and developed countries.  Group of 77 headquarters are at the United Nations in New York, and it has chapters at UN centres in Geneva, Nairobi, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Washington, D.C. The Group’s vision for its work was adopted in the Charter of Algiers, 25 October 1967, at its first ministerial meeting.  The number of member countries has since increased from 77, but the original name is retained because of its historic significance.

For more information, visit the Group of 77 Web site at; or contact Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the Group of 77, 1-212-963-0192, e-mail:; or Tim Wall of the Development Section of the UN Department of Public Information, 1-212-963-5851.

* *** *