GROUP OF 77
GENEVA

SSTATEMENT DELIVERED BY H.E. MR. MARCELO CIMA, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC, AT THE HANDOVER CEREMONY OF THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE GENEVA CHAPTER GROUP OF 77
(Geneva, 10 January 2017)


Good morning dear colleagues and welcome to this important meeting.

1. Today we formally celebrate the handover of the Chairmanship of the Geneva Chapter of the Group of 77 and China. We have completed an eventful and important year including achieving a historic outcome at UNCTAD 14, and in the coming months we must work to ensure that we continue the good work we have begun especially by ensuring the full and faithful implementation of the Nairobi outcomes.

2. Highlighting the importance of this occasion, and the symbiotic relationship between the Group of 77 and China and UNCTAD, I would at the outset like to recognize the presence of Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and his colleagues. I wish to thank him for his participation today. I would also like to thank Mr. Martin Khor, the Executive Director of the South Centre, for also joining us today.

3. Before relinquishing this Chair that Argentina has had the honor of occupying, I would like to say a few words of thanks to you all.

4. In the period that Argentina has had the honor to Chair the G-77 and China in Geneva, we have faced many challenges, including the important task of beginning the implementation of the UNCTAD 14 outcomes. Those historic outcomes owe their existence in large part to the excellent work and dedication of my distinguished predecessor, Ambassador Wayne McCook who I would like to once again thank and congratulate.

5. Together, we made much progress in the task of defining the parameters for the operationalization of the newly-created Intergovernmental Groups of Experts and began our task of revitalizing the intergovernmental machinery of UNCTAD, perhaps the single most important mandate enshrined in the Maafikiano.

6. I am confident that the continued dedication and pragmatism of the group will lead to the revitalization not just of UNCTAD, but of the development discourse itself. While the promulgation of the SDGs was a major accomplishment, they are far from perfect and we have yet to see whether the political will exists for their realization. And we have yet to see whether the political will exists for multilateralism itself to be revitalized.

7. As I pass the baton to my successor, my colleague and brother Modest Mero, allow me to close with some unsolicited advice for the future.

8. First, the group needs to be focused on what it wants; all too often we fail to define our objectives and instead contextualize our efforts on what we do not want. We need to be proactive and visionary. That is how we succeeded in Nairobi.

9. Second, we must further reinforce our symbiotic relationship with the secretariat. Let us not forget that UNCTAD is our institution and that a strong UNCTAD requires a strong G-77 and China, and the reverse is also true. I therefore once again wish to thank Dr. Kituyi for all of the support we have and will continue to receive from UNCTAD. I especially wish to thank Mr. Miguel Bautista, Mispa Ewene, Yvette Fernandez, and Rima Kebbe for their unstinting support and dedication.

10. Third and finally, the G-77 and China in Geneva requires resources. I therefore strongly encourage my successor to continue the process necessary to operationalize the suggestion of my predecessor Ambassador Cecilia Rebong to institute a voluntary annual contribution per mission to the G-77 trust fund to finance our projects and initiatives.