The Group of 77 held a High Level Conference on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries, in Caracas, Venezuela, from 13 to 19 of May, 1981.

The Conference is convinced that, amidst the difficulties and uncertainties arising from the present world situation, this is the appropriate moment to renew, accelerate and strengthen cooperative efforts and solidarity among developing countries, based on mutual interest and a more rational use of available resources. In this context, the Group of 77 reiterated its firm commitment to the principle of collective self-reliance, and stressed that economic cooperation among developing countries is an integral part of the collective action of the Group for the restructuring of international economic relations and the establishment of the New International Economic Order.

The current global economic crisis is a reflection of the underlying structural maladjustment and the persisting lack of equity in international economic relations. The lack of progress in negotiations on the restructuring of international economic relations and the establishment of the New International Economic Order is due to the intransigent attitudes adopted by some developed countries which have shown a regrettable lack of political will. This has been manifested particularly in the state of negotiations to launch the new round of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development. This same attitude was also adopted by one developed country at the last session of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. Against this background, it is all the more timely and necessary for the developing countries to strengthen the cohesion and solidarity among themselves.

The Conference reaffirmed that economic cooperation among developing countries is not a substitute to global economic cooperation between developing and developed countries, nor should it in any way replace or relieve the industrialized countries from their responsibilities and commitments towards developing countries. As long as the industrialized world persists in its present attitudes and policies, which do not respond to the needs of the developing countries, the present international economic system, which is based on injustice, inequality, exploitation and dependence, will continue to adversely affect the development prospects of the developing countries as well as the future of the whole world.

The world economic crisis places severe constraints on the development prospects of developing countries. The policy of the developed countries has been to seek to overcome their chronic economic difficulties by passing on the costs of their adjustment to the developing countries, causing instability and disruption in the economies of the latter and compelling many of them to resort, among other measures, to additional and onerous indebtedness merely to survive.

At the same time, most of the developed countries have strongly resisted the structural changes in their economies that are necessary to eliminate the underlying causes of the present crisis.

Deterioration of relations between the great powers, aggravation of international tensions, the intensification of the arms race, colonialism, interference in internal affairs, apartheid, racism, racial discrimination and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, hegemony, expansionism and exploitation are having a further negative impact on the grave structural problems that afflict the economies of the developing countries.

Economic cooperation among developing countries offers the opportunity to take full advantage of existing and potential complementarities in their economies. The program of cooperation identifies these possibilities in the fields of trade, technology, food and agriculture, energy, raw materials, finance, industrialization and technical cooperation. All developing countries should be in a position to benefit equitably from a practical evidence of solidarity. In this regard, special attention should be paid to countries in greater need, particularly the Least Developed Countries, so that they can effectively participate and benefit from programmes of economic cooperation among developing countries in all fields of such cooperation. The success of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries is, therefore, of particular importance to the Group of 77.

Cooperative efforts among developing countries are by no means new. Several programme have already been agreed upon and implemented to varying degrees, as evidenced in the actions taken in the various subregional, regional and interregional groupings.

Resolute action is now required to ensue the implementation of the Programme of Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries adopted at this meeting in a concrete, coherent, integrate4d and time-bound manner, a programme that will have mutually beneficial results for all developing countries members of the Group of 77.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of the Programme of Action agreed upon, the Conference has decided to set up appropriate mechanisms of coordination, monitoring, follow-up and evaluation as reflected in detail in this document.

These efforts appear ambitious as is the enterprise to which the Group of 77 is now giving a new and sustained impulse. This Conference is a manifestation of the developing countries’ recognition of the potential of cooperation among themselves. Many indeed are the potentially important fields that naturally lend themselves to fruitful action at the subregional, regional and interregional levels. The implementation and follow-up of the Programme agreed upon by the Conference will give developing countries a better knowledge of where the possibilities of practical and balanced results lie, in order to achieve the balanced development of their countries and to improve the economic and social conditions of their peoples.

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