Thirty-First Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77
United Nations Headquarters, New York, 27 September 2007
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China, guided by the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter and by the provisions of the Havana Declaration and Plan of Action and the Doha Declaration and Plan of Action met on the occasion of the Thirty-first Annual Meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 27 September 2007, reviewed the developments in the international economic situation and the activities undertaken in the context of the development agenda of the United Nations and adopted the following declaration:
- The Ministers remained fully convinced of the imperative to continue to act in solidarity and unity for a peaceful and prosperous world that responds to their aspirations. They reaffirmed their full commitment to the principles and objectives of the Group of 77 and China, and to protect and promote their collective interests through genuine international cooperation for development.
- The Ministers examined the diverse challenges faced by Developing countries and noted with grave concern that the international economic environment continues to be unfavourable for the developing world. The Ministers expressed their concern about the expected deceleration in the world economy in 2007 and the vulnerability of developing countries to any slow down in the global economy and to the volatility of the international commodity and financial markets. The Ministers also noted that widening global macroeconomic imbalances and inequities in global economic governance have kept many of the world’s people and nations inside the vicious circle of poverty.
- The Ministers reaffirmed that economic and social development are the centerpiece of the objectives and operational activities of the UN. The achievement of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADG), including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), should continue to be the over-arching framework of the development activities of the UN system. The Ministers reiterated the need to fully implement all agreed commitments from all the major United Nations Summits and Conferences in the economic, social and related fields. The Ministers further emphasized the need for a strengthened global partnership for development, based on the recognition of national leadership and ownership of development strategies.
- The Ministers noted with deep concern that the lack of effective implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, remains the Achilles Heel of the development agenda and stressed that securing the effective and full implementation of the agreed goals and commitments must be the highest priority. Building on General Assembly resolution 60/265 the United Nations should develop an intergovernmental consensus for the establishment of effective mechanisms to review and follow-up the implementation of MDGs and IADGs.
- The Ministers welcomed the operationalization by the General Assembly of resolution 61/16 on the strengthening of ECOSOC and expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the Annual Ministerial Review and the launch of the Development Cooperation Forum during the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council held in Geneva from 1 to 28 July 2007. They took note of the presentations made by six developing countries in the first Annual Ministerial Review and invited the developed countries to make presentations on their MDGs strategies, particularly on Goal 8, during the Annual Ministerial Review 2008.
- The Ministers reiterated the significance of increased financing for development, including the need to meet the long-standing target of 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA to developing countries.
- The Ministers called upon developed countries to ensure that information on their efforts to increase the volume of Official Development Assistance is made available to the relevant United Nations intergovernmental bodies.
- The Ministers renewed the commitment to continuing to discuss innovative mechanisms for financing for development and acknowledged the progress made in this area and the value of developing innovative sources of financing from various sources on public, private, domestic and external bases in order to increase and supplement traditional sources of financing and invited countries to consider contributing in this regard.
- The Ministers reiterated the urgent need for the international community to adopt an effective, equitable, durable and development-oriented solution to the debt problems of developing countries, particularly through total debt cancellation and increased concessional financial flows.
- The Ministers reaffirmed the high priority that developing countries attach to the Financing for Development process as a valuable opportunity to secure support for our common vision and views for addressing global financial and trade constraints faced by most developing countries. The Ministers welcomed the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, scheduled to be held in Doha in the Second half of 2008. The Ministers reiterated their expectation that the Review Conference should assess progress made, reaffirm goals and commitments, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them and important measures for further implementation, as well as new challenges and emerging issues. They urged the Review conference to follow-up the implementation of the outcome of the first International Conference on Financing Development, held in Monterrey and adopt necessary measures for the strengthening of the review and follow-up mechanism for the realization of the commitments made.
- The Ministers stressed the commitment contained in the Monterrey Consensus to broaden and strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision making and norm setting and to that end stressed the importance of continuing efforts to reform the international financial architecture so as to enhance the effective participation of these countries in international decision making. They noted that enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods Institutions remains a continuous concern, and in this regard called for further and effective progress.
- The Ministers called for the reform of the global financial architecture and global economic governance to ensure that global policies and processes in finance, trade, investment and technology are development-oriented and fully address the needs and concerns of developing countries.
- The Ministers reiterated that developing countries should have the required policy space to formulate their development strategies in keeping with national development policies, strategies and priorities to reflect national priorities and the particular circumstances of each country.
- The Ministers expressed concern over the stalemate in the Doha Round of trade negotiations which jeopardizes the delivery of development promises for the developing countries. The Ministers called on developed countries to demonstrate the flexibility and political will required to break the current impasse in the negotiations. They recognized the mandates contained in the Doha Ministerial Declaration, the WTO General Council decision of August 1, 2004 and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to meaningfully integrate the developing countries into the multilateral trading system and called for the early resumption and timely completion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, with the fullest realization of the development dimensions of the Doha Work Programme.
- The Ministers stressed the importance of facilitating the accession of all developing countries, in particular the LDCs that apply for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), without political impediments, in an expeditious and transparent manner and with full observance of the principles of special and differential treatment for developing countries.
- The Ministers stressed the need to strengthen UNCTAD, the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development issues, as a vital component of the international economic system, to fully implement its mandate for policy analysis and policy advice, its indispensable role for forging consensus building on development matters, and its activities in technical assistance and capacity building. The Ministers looked forward to the convening of the UNCTAD XII from 20 to 25 April 2008 in Accra, Ghana.
- The Ministers emphasized that it is essential to adopt appropriate measures to overcome the technological gap between developing and developed countries and to work towards arrangements that facilitate the process of technology transfer. In this regard, the Ministers noted with concern the restraints imposed on access to technology, especially advanced technologies and certain aspects of TRIPS which are adversely affecting the developmental needs of developing countries, particularly in sectors such as health and education.
- The Ministers firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, and reiterate the urgent need to eliminate them immediately. They emphasized that such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment. They, therefore, called on the international community neither to recognize these measures nor apply them.
- The Ministers recognized the special needs of Africa, the only continent currently not on track to achieve the Internationally Agreed Development Goals including the Millennium Development Goals, and called for the full and timely implementation of all commitments made so as to enable African countries to enter the mainstream of the world economy.
- The Ministers reaffirmed the special needs of and underscored the need to address the challenges faced by Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States. In this regard, the Ministers urged the international community and the UN system to address those needs and vulnerabilities and take urgent and concrete action to fulfill their commitments, through the full and effective implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, for the Decade 2001-2010, the Almaty Programme of Action, the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
- The Ministers also reaffirmed the special needs and challenges faced by countries emerging from conflicts. In this regard, the Ministers urged the international community and the UN system to address these needs and challenges and take urgent and concrete action in the area of financial assistance and technical support and infrastructure development, in order to achieve the internationally agreed development goals including the MDGs.
- The Ministers also called for continued support for the development efforts of low-income developing countries in addressing their social, economic and developmental needs including through the provision of technical, financial and other forms of assistance, promotion of and strengthening of partnerships and cooperation arrangements at all levels.
- The Ministers called for continued support for the development efforts of middle-income developing countries, including through targeted and substantial technical assistance, and the promotion of new partnerships and cooperation arrangements, including bilateral arrangements, as well as by working in competent multilateral, regional and international fora, in support of national development strategies.
- The Ministers expressed their concern over the increased frequency and scale of natural disasters in recent years which have resulted in massive loss of life and long-term negative social, economic and environmental consequences for countries, particularly developing countries. They called upon the international community, particularly developed countries and the relevant international organizations to increase their assistance to affected States, including by supporting efforts towards enhancing their national and regional capacities for implementation of plans and strategies for preparedness, rapid response, recovery and development. The Ministers also reiterated that humanitarian assistance should be rendered upon the request of the affected States, and reaffirmed that in this regard the Guiding Principles for the provision of humanitarian assistance, as contained in the annex to General Assembly resolution 46/182, must be respected.
- The Ministers recognized that Climate Change poses serious risks and challenges particularly to developing countries and therefore demanded urgent global action and response. In this regard, the Ministers reaffirmed the Rio Principles, in particular Principle 7 on the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. All three pillars of sustainable development, namely economic development, social development and environmental protection, should be addressed in an integrated, coordinated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing manner. The ministers also recognized the need to identify new, additional and predictable resources, as well as additional innovative resources for financing for development, as a special assistance to those developing countries adversely affected by climate change.
- The Ministers looked forward to the 13th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Conventions on Climate Change and the Third Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007.
- The Ministers also welcomed the initiative of the President of the 61st session of the General Assembly to convene a thematic debate on climate change from 31st July to 2 August 2007 and the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene a High-level event on climate change on 24 September 2007.
- The Ministers recognized further the challenge posed by desertification and land degradation and resolve to support and strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa to address causes of desertification and land degradation, as well as poverty resulting from land degradation. The Ministers called upon the international community to increase its assistance to such countries by providing additional and predictable financial resources as well as technical support in order to combat desertification and land degradation.
- The Ministers recalled the discussions that took place during the High Level Dialogue on Migration held at the UN Headquarters in September 2006 and took note of the First Global Forum on Migration and Development held in Brussels in July 2007. The Ministers welcomed the initiative of the Government of the Philippines to host the Second Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in Manila in October 2008 and strongly urged all countries to strengthen the protection of the human rights of all migrants and reiterated their determination to continue to address the challenges and opportunities that migration presents to countries of origin, transit and destination.
- The Ministers expressed their grave concern at the continuing devastation caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly in developing countries and call for the full implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS “Global Crisis – Global Action” adopted at the twenty-sixth special session of the General Assembly in 2001 and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted at the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2006.
- The Ministers emphasized the critical importance of both national and international efforts to achieve universal access to prevention, treatment and care, stressed the need for funding at the international level to help developing countries overcome lack of resources and reaffirmed the right of countries to employ the flexibilities outlined in the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to promote access to medicines for all including the production of generic antiretroviral drugs and other essential drugs for AIDS-related infections.
- The Ministers reaffirmed their strong support to the United Nations, and to all collective efforts aiming at enhancing its ability to fully implement its mandates and to ensure the effective delivery of all its programmes, in particular in the social and economic development field. The Ministers firmly believed that the legitimacy and viability of any reform measures depended ultimately on the approval of Member States of the United Nations. The Ministers emphasized that measures to reform the United Nations should respond to the unique intergovernmental, multilateral and international character of the United Nations.
- The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities, through which the General Assembly establishes key system wide policy orientation for the development cooperation and country-level modalities of the UN system. The Ministers also reaffirmed that the TCPR should determine the course of action for UN operational activities and should not be superceded or preempted by other processes.
- The Ministers firmly rejected attempts to politicize the operational activities for development of the UN system and underscored the importance of the principles of neutrality and impartiality in the provision of development assistance.
- The Ministers affirmed their willingness to remain constructively engaged in the ongoing intergovernmental integrated consideration of the report of the High-Level Panel on the United Nations system wide coherence and the report of the Secretary General on its recommendations.
- The Ministers affirmed that the sovereign equality of Member States, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, must be respected, including throughout the reform processes, irrespective of the contributions that individual Member States make to the budget of the Organization. Governance arrangements and decision making process exercised through the General Assembly, its main committees and subsidiary bodies are the sole responsibility of Member States in accordance with the United Nations Charter. They upheld the role of Member States, through the relevant Main Committees of the General Assembly, in the consideration of budgetary and administrative matters.
- The Ministers strongly supported the oversight role performed by the General Assembly, as well as its relevant intergovernmental and expert bodies, in the planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.
- The Ministers reaffirmed that the financial stability of the United Nations should not be jeopardized by arbitrary measures. The Ministers stressed that any efforts to use financial contributions to push for the adoption of certain proposals are counterproductive and violate the obligations of Member States to provide resources for the Organization, as enshrined in its Charter, and in accordance with the principle of capacity to pay.
- The Ministers noted with deep concern that the United Nations Development Account represents only 0.37% of the overall proposed regular budget for the biennium 2008-2009 and the Ministers therefore decided to increase it significantly during the 62nd session of the General Assembly and thereon.
- The Ministers stressed the importance of ensuring that the Secretariat meets the highest standards of accountability, transparency, integrity and ethical conduct. The Ministers therefore urged the Secretary-General as a matter of priority to define accountability in the Organization, establish clear accountability mechanisms to the General Assembly, and proposed parameters for the application of accountability and instruments for its rigorous enforcement.
- The Ministers stressed the need for transparency and clear mechanisms in the recruitment process and to increase the representation of developing countries in the Secretariat, in particular at the senior level with due respect to equitable geographical distribution.
- The Ministers recognized the increased relevance of South-South Cooperation in the current international economic environment and reiterated their support for South-South Cooperation both as a strategy in support of the development efforts of developing countries and as a means of enhancing the participation of developing countries in the emerging global economy. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitments to fully implement the Havana Programme of Action, the Marrakech Plan of Implementation of South-South cooperation and the Doha Plan of Action that, taken together represent a comprehensive framework for intensified cooperation among developing countries.
- The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of strengthening South-South Cooperation in the United Nations system, including in the funds, programmes and specialized agencies involved in South-South Cooperation and in this regard, the Ministers supported the strengthening of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and called on the UNDP to provide the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation with necessary support to enable it to fulfill its mandate.
- The Ministers stressed that South-South Cooperation is not a substitute for North-South Cooperation and reiterated that South-South cooperation is an imperative to complement North-South Cooperation in order to contribute to the achievement of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The Ministers recognized that it is also an effective tool to maintain and strengthen solidarity and unity in order to enhance the welfare of developing countries.
- The Ministers welcomed the recommendation made by the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation held in New York from 29 May to 1st June 2007, to convene a United Nations Conference on South-South cooperation in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, and in this regard the Ministers welcomed the generous offer made by the Government of Argentina to host the Conference.
- The Ministers looked forward to the early operationalization of the South Fund for Humanitarian Assistance and Development and called for greater efforts in this regard.
- The Ministers noted the efforts for the elaboration of the Development Platform of the South in accordance with the relevant mandate of the Second South Summit and welcomed the convening of the Second Meeting of Experts on the Development Platform to be held in New York from 18 to 19 October 2007.
- The Ministers welcomed the ongoing preparations for the Ministerial Forum on Water to be held in Muscat, (Sultanate of Oman) from 22 to 24 March 2008.
- The Ministers welcomed the generous offer by the Government of the Dominican Republic to host a Ministerial Forum on Sports, Culture and Development in 2008.
- The Ministers approved the Report of the Twenty-second Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for ECDC/TCDC (PGTF) contained in document G-77/AM(XIX)/2007/2 and endorsed its recommendations. The Ministers commended the Chairman of the PGTF for his continued commitment and expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved by the PGTF and invited Member States to participate in the UN Pledging Conference to be held in New York on 12 November 2007.
- The Ministers approved the Financial Statement of the ECDC Account of the Group of 77 contained in document G-77/AM(XIX)/2007/4, as presented by the Chairman of the Group of 77 and urged those Member States that have not yet done so to make special efforts to pay their outstanding contributions.
- The Ministers reiterated their call for the immediate withdrawal of Israel, the occupying Power, from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 and from other occupied Arab territories. They reaffirmed their support for the Middle East peace process begun in Madrid in 1991 and aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) and the principle of land for peace. In this context, they also reaffirmed their support for the Arab Peace Initiative, renewed by the Arab Summit in Riyadh in March 2007 and for all the positive efforts being exerted in this regard.
- The Ministers condemned the ongoing Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which has resulted in the loss of civilian lives and the vast destruction of Palestinian properties, infrastructure and agricultural lands. The Ministers expressed deep concern about the further decline of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people over the past year particularly in the Gaza strip, as a result of the illegal Israeli practices including its illegitimate construction of settlements, wall and bypass roads. They called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease immediately all illegal measures impairing the Palestinian economy, including in particular restrictions on the movement of persons and goods throughout and into and out of the Occupied Territory and to release all remaining tax revenues due to the Palestinian Authority and to make reparation for all damages caused to Palestinian properties, institutions and infrastructure. They reiterated their call upon the international community to provide much-needed assistance to the Palestinian people during this critical period.
- The Ministers expressed support for the assistance in the demining efforts and cluster bombs clearance in the south of Lebanon and called on Israel to provide the United Nations with all the maps and information on the location of the landmines that it has planted in the south of Lebanon during its occupation and its 2006 aggression against Lebanon, as well as to provide information on the cluster bomb strike locations, which are hindering the development and rehabilitation of the south of Lebanon and preventing the agricultural exploitation of vast areas of rich agrarian land. The ministers request Israel to assume responsibility for the landmines laying and cluster bombs usage in the south of Lebanon and assume defraying the cost of clearance as well as providing compensation for Lebanon for any ensuing losses and for reclaiming the affected areas in the south of Lebanon for productive purposes.
- The Ministers supported the inalienable right of Lebanon to utilize its waters in accordance with international law, in particular to ensure the social and economic needs of its population in the liberated areas and villages. They called on Israel to end its air violations of Lebanese sovereignty and other violation that severely damage the security situation which is a critical factor in promoting the tourism industry and the economy. The Ministers emphasized Lebanon's concerns resulting from the continued detention of Lebanese prisoners and detainees by Israel and the related security risks that could set back the development efforts of Lebanon.
- The Ministers expressed their deep appreciation to Pakistan for the excellent work and tireless efforts as the Chair country of the Group of 77 and China.
- The Ministers welcomed the election of Antigua and Barbuda to the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China in 2008.