STATEMENT BY MR. AHMED DJOGHLAF, ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNEP ON BEHALF OF MR. KLAUS TÖPFER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNEP ON THE OCCASION OF THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GROUP OF 77 NAIROBI CHAPTER (Nairobi, Kenya, 17 June 2004)
Addressing, last week, the special ministerial meeting of the Group of 77 in Sao Paulo, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Koffi Annan, stated that 'the unity is one of the greatest assets of the Group of 77'. Indeed unity and solidarity are the two pillars of the Group of 77 and China. The joint declaration, which marked the birth of the Group of 77, adopted in Geneva on 15 June 1964 at the closure of the first meeting of UNCTAD, stated that 'the unity of developing countries was the outstanding feature of the entire conference, an event of historical significance".
Meeting here today in Nairobi to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Group of 77, we can all agree that the vision of Raul Prebish, Perrez Gueguero and other founding members, was absolutely correct. The establishment of the Group of 77 was an historical event. On behalf of the Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Klaus Töpfer, it gives me great pleasure to convey through you, Mr. President, to all the members of the Group of 77, our sincere congratulations for this important event.
The fact that this important event is being held in Nairobi with the participation of H.E. Mr. Moody Awori, the Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, is another testimony of the commitment at the highest political level of Kenya to the Group of 77. Indeed the Nairobi Chapter, is the only Group of 77 Chapter located in a developing country and in Africa. It is also the only G77 Chapter whose modus operandi is aligned to the New York Chapter. Therefore today's celebration here in Gigiri, blessed by the participation of His Excellency Vice President Awori and H.E. Mr. Najib Balala, is of special significance.
The fact, also, that this celebration is being held under the Chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Sayed Zahid Hussain, Ambassador of Pakistan, is not a mere coincidence. It reflects the unique contribution of Pakistan in advancing the ideals of the Group of 77. The original proposal for a Summit of the Group of 77 was submitted by Pakistan. It took time for the idea to mature, and the first Summit of the Group of 77 was held in April 2000 in Havana. The Rio Summit was held while the Group of 77 was chaired by Pakistan. The preparation of a UNEP strategic action plan on capacity building and technology support, is being actively pursued by the Group of 77, under your able Chairmanship. Mr. President, let me therefore take this opportunity for conveying to you our appreciation for hosting this important event and for the role played by your country as an active member of this unique grouping in the United Nations System.
Indeed, the history and existence of the Group of 77 have been closely associated with the United Nations Organization. Addressing the Group of 77 earlier this year, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Koffi Annan, reflected, "During these 40 years, the Group of 77 and its individual members have made a key contribution in advancing the global development agenda….. you have played an important role in supporting the work of the United Nations on social, economic and environmental issues".
On behalf of the Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Klaus Töpfer, I would like to assure you that this statement applies fully to the unique contribution of the Group of 77 Chapter in Nairobi, in furthering the objectives for which UNEP was established.
Thank you for this unique contribution and I would like on behalf of all UNEP staff to wish you individually and collectively additional successes in your search for justice, equity and shared prosperity.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.