(Geneva, 8 January 2016)

Mr. Taffere Tesfachew, Officer-in-charge of the UNCTAD Secretariat,
H.E. Wayne McCook, Vice-Chair of the Group of 77 and China,
Distinguished delegates,

1. At the outset I wish to thank Mr. Taffere Tesfachew, Officer-in-charge of the UNCTAD Secretariat, for his important statement. I also wish to pay tribute to my predecessor H.E. Mr. Bamanga Abbas, Permanent Representative of Chad, who ably steered the group at a challenging time and led us to repeated successes throughout his chairmanship in 2014.

2. I am proud of what we, as a Group, accomplished in the past year. I am proud that my country was entrusted with the great honor and responsibility of shepherding the Group at a crucial time in its history. At the same time, I am confident in the year ahead, specifically in the leadership of H.E. Mr. Wayne McCook and his colleague Ms. Simara Howell, as we move towards the even more difficult task of Nairobi in July 2016 and a meaningful outcome document that will chart the course of UNCTAD for the next four years.

3. I need not remind colleagues that UNCTAD is our organization, it is an organization borne out of the Group of 77 and China. This gives UNCTAD a very special place and yet, colleagues, I wish to assure you that it is not merely nostalgia that makes me utter these words. It is the fact that the developing world still needs UNCTAD, because even 51 years after its founding, the conditions that existed then, such as the lack of an enabling environment, the imbalances, the vulnerabilities, the lack of resilience, the external shocks, still to this day threaten all of us. It is true that some of us have developed and we have created our own institutions and our own safety nets, yet we still live in a world where the ideas, institutions, and systems of the North dominate the economic trade and development system that we are all supposed to benefit from. We still do not have that level playing field that we set out to establish 51 years ago. In other words, the Group of 77 and China still needs UNCTAD and the UNCTAD needs the Group of 77 and China. This symbiotic relationship has become even more necessary in light of the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

4. That is why the year 2015 was so important, because I believe what the Group accomplished in the past year laid the foundation for our success in this coming year. Although the Philippine Chairmanship was one filled with challenges, I believe our Group achieved much in what was a banner year in the field of development. We started 2015 preparing the Geneva Chapter paper, which provided our own unique perspective on the negotiations on the Third International Conference on Financing for Development which was used by our New York Chapter colleagues when they negotiated what is now the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

5. This was followed with lengthy and very difficult negotiations with our partners on the theme and subthemes for UNCTAD XIV. Although the negotiations started in the spring and only concluded in early fall, we managed to secure a theme and subthemes that we as a Group can be proud of and more importantly, served as an effective outline for the position paper of the Group of 77 and China that we submitted to the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIV. I believe the theme and subthemes cover the multifaceted concerns of the developing South ranging from the lack of an enabling environment, an ineffective multilateralism, the importance of resilience, up to the role of UNCTAD in implementing development agreements including the 2030 Agenda.

6. This brings me to what I feel is the most significant accomplishment of the Philippine Chairmanship and that is the position paper that we adopted at an ambassadorial level meeting last 1 December. It was a very comprehensive and thorough document listing the numerous concerns of 134 member States of our Group. I believe it is a good starting point and an excellent basis from which Ambassador Pedro D'Alotto, Permanent Representative of Argentina, in his capacity as PrepCom Chair can prepare the zero draft. In fact he can just delete G77 and China logo from the heading of our paper and submit the comprehensive text as the zero draft in the coming weeks. In all seriousness colleagues that is how confident I am in the document that we prepared and submitted. It is a balanced, logically organized text which explains the current situation with analysis, lays out a policy response, and then provides for UNCTAD's role based on its complementary three pillars.

7. Aside from the preparatory work for UNCTAD XIV, there was also our active participation in Working Party negotiations throughout the year, the multi-year expert meetings, and of course the 62nd Session of the TDB, which featured a high level segment that included an issue of importance to the Group, namely that of sovereign debt. I also participated in one Chapters meeting in New York, which enhanced the ability of the different chapters to coordinate and work with one another.

8. There were other accomplishments as well, which I believe enhanced our negotiating capacity and built up our knowledge base such as the Gamani Corea Forum, wherein we featured Professor Ha Joon-chang. We also held the Paris retreat at the UNESCO building, which was a team building exercise and featured notable speakers and experts who have been working in the development field for several decades. These activities enhanced our negotiating skills and more importantly improved the camaraderie of the Group, which will be crucial, especially as we approach Nairobi.

9. This brings me to my next point and that is any success the Philippine Chairmanship achieved was because of the strong support and solidarity of the Group. If we, as a Group, are to be successful in Nairobi we need to build on the spirit of camaraderie and we need to remain united. We cannot let issues within the group divide or break us. We must always present a united front. This is no easy task given the diversity and divergences within our Group, but for our collective benefit, we must resolve all our differences internally and always present a united front when negotiating with our partners. That is my last piece of advice as outgoing chair.

10. Finally, I wish to thank all those that supported the Philippine Chairmanship and I would like to begin by acknowledging all the members of the Group of 77 and China. I also wish to thank wholeheartedly the South Centre, which has been an important partner of our Group. The South Centre hosted several of our meetings in their offices, more importantly its personnel were a source of insight and expert analysis on the crucial development issues that we dealt with in 2015. Aside from South Centre, UNITAR also effectively supported the Philippine Chairmanship by co-organizing two workshops in the Philippines on development. Finally, I wish to thank Secretary-General Kituyi and through him, the entire UNCTAD Secretariat for the tremendous support that it provided throughout the whole year. Many of our activities and events would not have been possible without Dr. Kituyi's assistance.

11. I wish to reiterate my special thanks to Mr. Miguel Bautista and the members of his team for their full support, guidance, and assistance. Lastly, I thank our expert Mr. Raphael Hermoso and all the UNCTAD experts from the Group of 77 and China for their hard work, dedication, and commitment.

12. In closing, I wish to assure Ambassador Wayne McCook of my delegation's strong support throughout his chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China. He has a difficult task ahead, but if we show him the same support that you all provided the Philippines in the past year, I have no doubt that his G77 Chairmanship will be a big success.

I thank you.