Forty-first Meeting of the Chairmen/Coordinators of the Group of 77 Chapters
Rome, 26-27 February 2007
(Rome, 26 February 2007)

Your Excellency, Madame Chairperson of Rome Chapter,
Your Excellencies, Chairmen/Coordinators of the G77 Chapters,
Heads of International Institutions,
Distinguished Delegates,
Distinguished Guests,

          In my capacity as Chairman of the Group of 77, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this Forty-first meeting of the Chairs/Coordinators of the Chapters of the Group of 77. I would like to particularly thank Her Excellency, Dr. Lamya Ahmed Al-Saqqaf, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations Organizations based in Rome, and Chairperson of the Rome Chapter, as well as the FAO, IFAD and WFP, for their warm hospitality and support in hosting this meeting.

2.       Let me also express our deep appreciation to the Chairs/Coordinators as well as to the Heads of various organizations for their positive response and participation. I would like to acknowledge specially the participation of Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), whose organization with which G77 has a symbiotic relationship since birth. I also wish to welcome the Director-General of OPEC Fund who is participating with us for the first time as well as the representatives of UNDP, UNESCO, UNEP and Habitat.

3.       During these past few years we have made important strides in building on the normative framework for global development cooperation established through the commitments made at the major UN Summits and Conferences, encapsulated in the MDGs and other IADGs.

4.       Unfortunately, implementation has remained the Achilles Heel of the development agenda. Securing the effective and full implementation of the agreed goals and commitments must therefore be the highest priority of the Group during 2007. The development follow up resolution (60/265), adopted by the General Assembly last year, provides a good legislative framework for pursuing a more structured and coherent approach to implementation of the MDGs and the IADGs. Building on Resolution 60/265 we should develop an intergovernmental consensus for the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to track and encourage the implementation of MDGs and IADGs.

5.       In this context, there are several other vital goals that need to be simultaneously pursued. First, assuring adequate financing for development. In this context, the fulfillment of the 0.7 ODA target remains a central objective. Debt cancellation and adjustment needs to be much more broad and generous for the poorest countries. Foreign Direct Investment Flows should be more consciously directed towards the weaker economies, through various measures, such as investment guarantee schemes. Bolder and more general efforts are required to mobilize additional development finance through innovative measures.

6.       Second, despite the present impasse, a determined effort is required to revive and conclude the Doha round of trade negotiations as soon as possible. The huge agricultural subsidies and support resorted to by the rich must be quickly, if progressively, eliminated. Neo-protectionism must be eschewed. Trade capacity creation in the poorest countries is vital. At the same time, efforts to promote commodity price stabilization at fair levels must continue.

7.       Third, in an increasingly knowledge – based world economy, access to technology has become a vital component of any viable development strategy. Building on the decisions of the 2005 Summit and the WSIS Summit, the restrictions on technology transfer and acquisition, including under the TRIPS agreement, need to be reviewed and revised. Incentives should be provided for research, including by the private sector, into the problems of the poor which presently attract only 10% of R&D expenditure.

8.       Fourth, sustainable development should become a central policy for both the advanced and developing countries. Global warming and environmental disasters are a growing reality. Efforts are required to revive implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio principles.

9.       Fifth, it is now essential to evolve agreed approaches to the issue of migration and development. The recent High Level Dialogue should lead to more active international cooperation and a coherent approach to enhance the development benefits of migration and reduce its negative political and human rights dimensions.

10.     Another key priority for the G-77 and China is to secure an active voice and equitable representation for the developing countries in international economic governance. This is essential for shaping the global economic environment for development and promoting the relevance and effectiveness of the international financial system. In particular, the decision–making structures of the Bretton Woods Institutions need to be reviewed and made more democratic.

11.     We also need to revitalize the dialogue between G-8 and G-77. This is critical in view of the widening trust deficit between the developed and developing countries, which has emerged as a major impediment to a stable economic order and poses a critical challenge to the UN today. We are committed, as G-77 Chair, to contribute to such a dialogue at the forthcoming G8 Summit, consistent with the mandates of the South Summits.

12.     The third major priority, and perhaps one  that offers the most exciting opportunities, is in the area of South-South Cooperation. Our share in international trade is rising spectacularly. Regional trade and economic integration is proceeding apace in virtually every region and sub-region. South-South investment flows are rising significantly. And, developing countries are acting together to address technological and human resource constraints on growth and development. We should actively exploit our existing and potential economic complementarities and intensify our efforts to expand, accelerate and institutionalize these trends.

13.     To enlarge trade and economic integration, we may consider reviving and reinvigorating the South’s Trade and Commerce Organizations; promote greater interaction with the private sector; prepare a list of MDG-based R&D projects for financing; promote coordination between the South’s development Funds and Programmes e.g. through a G-77 Development Assistance Committee; establish a mechanism for coordination among G-77 “Think Tanks” and development policy institutions. The Group may also consider setting up an Eminent Persons Group to further elaborate the “South Platform” formulated at the initiative of Jamaica, our Chair for 2005. To promote these and other aspects of South-South Cooperation, we need a strengthened G-77 Secretariat in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Havana Programme of Action and the Doha Plan of Action. We also look to the UN System to provide support to the Group, both financial and personnel.

14.     It is equally important to consolidate the ongoing efforts to further increase the support and resources required for implementation of the discussions of the Second South Summit on South-South cooperation. These discussions include the strengthening of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, as a separate entity and a focal point for South-South cooperation within the United Nations.

15.     As you may recall, during the Second South Summit of the Group of 77 in Doha, Qatar, the Heads of State and Government supported the efforts of the Trieste System, especially the Academy of Sciences for the Third World (TWAS), to establish the G-77 Consortium on Science, Technology, and Innovation. In response to this mandate, the Ministers of Science and Technology of the Group of 77 met in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, in September 2006 and launched the G77-Consortium on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the South (COSTIS) with the support of the Academy of Science for the Developing World (TWAS). As a global independent scientific organization of the South, COSTIS will promote the development of collaborative programmes between scientific institutions and organizations of the South and their counterparts in the North through the development of bilateral links and cooperative programmes. I wish to seize this opportunity to call on our development partners as well as various institutions to provide necessary support to COSTIS. 

16.     The issue of water resources management is critical for our countries. We welcome the convening of the Ministerial Forum on Water Resources Management scheduled to take place in Muscat, Oman in March 2008 and we look forward to receiving the support of the relevant UN and other entities in the substantive preparations of the regional technical meetings to be held prior to the Forum.

17.     The year 2006 was marked by enhanced collaboration between the G-77 and other chapters, particularly the G-24 in Washington D.C. The finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding last year between the G-77 and G-24 offers us another opportunity to strengthen our coordination. In order to promote close collaboration between the G-77 and the G-24 and to strengthen our negotiating capacity on the issue of financing for development, a Joint Technical Group meeting will be held on 12 March 2007 in New York.

18.     Last, let me say a few words on the important issue of institutional reform in the UN system. At the intergovernmental level, in New York, we shall need to take the lead in ensuring an effective role for the ECOSOC’s Annual Ministerial Review and its new role as Development Cooperation Forum. The Annual Ministerial Review should identify the gaps, shortcomings and successes, both at the national level and international level by developing and developed countries, and develop policy recommendations to advance the process of implementation of the MDGs and IADGs. The biennial Development Cooperation Forum should address: one, multilateral cooperation (involving the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes; BWIs); two, bilateral North-South Cooperation (with developed countries partners (OECDs/DAC), and three, South-South Cooperation.

19.     The UN General Assembly will also consider the Report of the High Level Panel on UN System Wide Coherence on which the Group of 77 is evolving its views. The Report contains some important recommendations although some of them may have exceeded the mandate of the report. Some major issues, e.g. adequate quantity and quality of financing of development cooperation, intergovernmental governance, need to be more fully addressed.

20.     Ensuring the financial stability of the United Nations and other International Organizations and provision of adequate resources to implement approved mandates, in accordance with the principle of capacity to pay, is a fundamental importance to the Group of 77 & China.   In the past, we have opposed the withholding of assessed contributions to the United Nations as an instrument for influencing the nature and pace of reform. 

21.     The G-77 and China is committed to UN Secretariat reforms which are consistent with the United Nations Charter and its principles and purposes, specially the principle of sovereign equality. We have sought equitable decisions and processes in the management and governance of the UN Secretariat. We displayed solidarity on the scale of assessments last year. We will endeavour to maintain unity and safeguard our collective interests in the reform process including the comprehensive review of governance and oversight; human resources management; the mandate review exercise, as well as the programme-budget for 2008-2009. The Group believes that the UN reform processes should lead to further consolidating the democratic character of the UN, ensure transparency and inclusion in its processes, and enhance its capacity to respond effectively and efficiently to the interests of the developing countries, its largest constituency.