STATEMENT BY MR. DANIEL BIAU DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GROUP OF 77 (Nairobi, Kenya, 17 June 2004)
Your Excellency Mr. Moody Awori, Vice-President of the Republic of Kenya and
Minister of Home Affairs,
Your Excellency, Mr. Najib Balala, Minister for Gender, Culture, Sports and Social Services,
Your Excellency Mr. Syed Zahid Hussain, Chairman of the Group of 77, Nairobi Chapter,
Your Excellency Mr. Guo Chongli, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China to UN-HABITAT and UNEP,
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Today we are celebrating four decades of solidarity for the development of the South, we are celebrating the birth of the G77 in June 1964.
On this occasion, let us remember the historical Bandung Conference of April 1955 where 29 leaders of Africa and Asia initiated a process which, through the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, led to the emergence of the G77 at the end of the first session of UNCTAD 40 years ago.
Today the membership of the G77 has increased to 130 countries. The G77 and China represent approximately 80% of the world population. The G77 has played a major role in the history of UN-HABITAT since the Vancouver Conference of 1976. It was instrumental in the choice of Nairobi as our headquarters in 1978. More recently in 2001 it has strongly supported the elevation of UN-HABITAT to programme status in the U.N. System.
To give you only one example of the excellent collaboration between the G77 and the secretariat of UN-HABITAT and of the strong political support provided by the G77 to our activities, I wish to read one paragraph of the Communiqué adopted in Geneva one year ago by the Chairpersons of all G77 chapters at the end of their annual meeting. I quote:
"We emphasize that UN-HABITAT, as the leading agency in the implementation of HABITAT Agenda, needs to give as much impetus as possible to the Global Campaigns on Security of Tenure and Urban Governance as an ongoing process of consultation with national Governments and in accordance with the spirit of Istanbul+5. We would also expect that UN-HABITAT will further focus on the implementation of development goals of the Millennium Declaration and the WSSD Plan of Implementation related to Water, Sanitation and Slum Upgrading and on capacity-building in support of sustainable urbanization policies and programmes. We also support the establishment of the proposed Human Settlement Fund for the Palestinian People."
As you can see the Group of 77 has been close to UN-HABITAT for more than 25 years, particularly its Nairobi Chapter which deals with us on a daily basis. Your commitment to the cause of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development has been wonderful. Your commitment to multilateralism and to the UN has made a real difference.
On behalf of our Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, and of all our staff, I wish you the very best anniversary and I congratulate all Permanent Representatives of the Group of 77 for a job well done, as well as for your friendship and for your continuous support to UN-HABITAT and to the UN presence in Nairobi, our host city.
Thank you for your kind attention.