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G-77 commemorates its 40th anniversary of establishment

The Group of 77 commemorated 40th anniversary of its establishment at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi on 17th June, 2004.

Syed Zahid Hussain, Chairman of the G-77 & High Commissioner for Pakistan to Kenya hosted a reception on this occasion. Mr. Moody Awori, Vice President and Minister for Home Affairs of the Republic of Kenya was chief guest. Minister for Gender Sports & Culture, Mr. Najib Balala, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Members of diplomatic community attended the function.

In his statement, Chairman of G-77, Syed Zahid Hussain stated that G77 remained committed to the Millennium Development Goals and other Internationally agreed targets. He stated that the G77 & China, being the largest grouping in the world, attached high priority to issues relating to the Environment and Human Settlements in the contexts of Sustainable Development. Expressing concerned at the slow pace of progress in achieving Millennium Development Goals, Syed Zahid Hussain emphasized the need for urgent action at international level to address the issues of environmental degradation, poverty and economic development.

Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori in his address said that the G77 has made valuable contribution to efforts aimed at narrowing the gap between the developing and the developed world. He stated that in order to create an equitable international economic order, it was important to have a fair, balanced, open and transparent international trade regime.

The Dean of Diplomatic Corps Archbishop Giovani Tonucci, the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Mr. Guo Chongli and Representatives of UNEP and UN-HABITAT also spoke on this occasion.

The Group of 77 was created on 15 June 1964 when 77 developing countries adopted a joint declaration at the conclusion of the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The Group of 77 has 132 member countries now, representing four-fifth of the world population.

18th June 2004, Nairobi.

H. E Mr Moody Awori, Vice President & Minister of Home Affairs,
Honorable Ministers,
H.E. Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all today as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77.

2. In the past 40 years, the Group of 77 has passed through a number of significant phases. It has covered a lot of ground in moving towards its primary objective of securing and safeguarding the interests of the developing nations.

From 77 founding members in 1964, the Group now has 132 member states representing four-fifth of the world population today.

This is a key indicator of the enormous responsibilities shouldered by the Group.

3. At the time of its formation, the Group's main objectives revolved around protecting the economic interests of the developing and under developed parts of the world through boosting unity and cooperation among member countries.

It strove for the establishment of a new economic order which would guarantee development for all.

4. Over the past four decades, the world has gone through profound and complex transformation.

We now have a broad and more inclusive concept of development which encompasses the entire gamut of human life.

Sustainable Development, as we call it, requires an undiluted commitment from all of us if we were to tackle and resolve the complexity of problems faced by human beings today.

Social and economic inequalities have increased in the era of Globalization.

To quote UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "The said truth is that the world today is a much more unequal place than it was 40 years ago".

Growing poverty and insecurity pose daunting challenges to any effort aimed at Sustainable Development.

5. The G-77& China has all along been pro-active in international fora for a just and equitable international economic order.

6. As the largest grouping in the world, the G-77 has contributed significantly in furthering the cause of Sustainable Development.

Being a prime mover of initiatives relating to development and international economic cooperation among developing countries, the Group of 77 & China has strengthened efforts of the international community for narrowing the gap between the developing and developed countries.

7. An ardent advocate of the South-South Cooperation on the one hand and North-South partnership on the other, the G-77 & China has evolved an intimate link with the UN system by demonstrating an unflinching dedication to the goals and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations.

The G-77 remains fully committed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed initiatives. This commitment was once again renewed at the G77 Special Ministerial meeting in Sao Paulo, last week.

8. We attach high priority to issues relating to the Environment and Human Settlements in the context of Sustainable Development.

The inextricable link between poverty eradication as well as insecurity and protection of the environment can not be ignored.

However, we remain concerned at the slow pace of progress in achieving the MDGs.

Much more will need be done and rather urgently, in addressing the problems of Environmental degradation, poverty, disease and economic development if we were to retain a minimum degree of optimism that was generated after the Rio Summit and the WSSD.

9. Here in Nairobi, the G77 has been supportive of both, UNEP and UN-HABITAT in developing and implementing their programmes of work in a more action oriented manner.

We believe that these two important UN bodies, within their mandates, can serve as effective vehicles in providing momentum for achieving the MDGs and other targets.

I am confident that our cooperative relationship with UNEP and UN-HABITAT will sail at a faster pace in future.

10. It is also a matter of satisfaction for us that the G77 in Nairobi maintains a good working interaction with our counterparts from the North.

This is an experience which facilitate meaningful deliberations among ourselves and for which I must express our appreciation to all partners.

In conclusion, I would like to express special thanks to His Excellency Mr. Moody Awori and Honourable Mr. Najib Balala for being with us this evening.

Their presence has greatly encouraged us.

I am also thankful to the Dean of Diplomatic Corps and to all distinguished guests who accepted our invitation and have taken time out from their busy schedules to attend this reception.

Thank you very much.