Journal of the Group of 77 - Volume 18/2 - 2005 (Special Edition)


DOHA, June--(G77/IPS) Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson told delegates that developing nations have ''enjoyed some successes''in South-South cooperation since the first South Summit in Havana five years ago.

In his opening address to the Second South Summit in Doha, Patterson said there has been strengthening of regional economic groupings and cooperation arrangements, not only within regions, but across continents.

He said that trade among developing countries has increased from 40% to 50%. South-South bilateral projects in areas such as health, education, energy and construction are beginning to make a positive difference.

''We have to admit, however, that our level of cooperation has been much less than we expected in the Havana Programme of Action,'' he pointed out.

He singled out two major reasons for the limited success:- ''We lack the capacity or have simply failed to provide the financial resources to deliver on our objectives We did not provide the institutional mechanisms required at either the technical or political level to ensure or facilitate effective follow through''.

Additionally, the G77 chairman said, the global challenges confronting developing countries have expanded significantly in scope, ''thereby straining our resources and undermining our capacity to achieve our stated objectives''.

Unprecedented wealth is being created, but too many countries and too many people have been denied any share of it. They are also demanding a greater voice in the decision-making processes, he added.

The prime minster said that a review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has clearly established that ''we are not on target and a dramatic effort will be needed if our expectations are to be met''.

Overseas Development Assistance is now still less than 1/3 of the target of 0.7%. Since 1998, developing countries have become net transferors of capital flow to developed countries, with this estimated at $12 billion in 2004.

Direct Foreign Investment is still concentrated in few countries. The rules governing intellectual property continue to make access to technology, even for medicines to deal with the most critical pandemics, expensive and at times prohibitive.

He also said that developing countries remain marginalized, especially in respect of global economic governance. ''Our Group needs to intensify the struggle and meaningfully engage our partners in a renewed impetus for delivery''.

Much is said these days about good governance and it seems to have different meanings. For some, it means the adoption of one political template and a single economic model. As there is no one antidote for every malady, so there is no magic prescription that can be applied to every situation.

''We all readily subscribe to government which is transparent, accountable and ensures integrity. We are all committed to devising policies and economic programmes which achieve social development goals and promote sustainable growth for our people''.

''To realize this, we welcome a partnership with the donor community, but not with unacceptable restrictions or conditions. Developing countries must have the policy space to pursue development options appropriate to their own specific circumstances. Development co-operation must be based on respect for diversity and the proper exercise of sovereign choices'' he said.

He called for strengthening co-operation within the Group of 77.

''We have not adequately exploited the potential for cooperation. South South Cooperation should not be an empty slogan. Instead of more meetings, we need to establish contacts and identify avenues for greater cooperation. We also need to develop mechanisms for promotion and implementation of projects''.

These things do not happen by chance. It requires a renewed determination and greater activism to follow through viable programmes and prospects, including negotiating forms of triangulation. This should involve the business sector more actively especially as we seek to revive the operations of the G-77 Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

This is all the more important in the light of the new economic geography which is emerging, the G77 chairman said. There are new and important growth centers in the developing world providing stimulus as locomotives of development through demand and supply. We should confront collectively the negative conditions and tendencies in the global system.

There should be more equity and balance in the flow of resources whether it is through increased Overseas Development Assistance, through Foreign Direct Investment flows or through the benefits from trade.

He also said the G77 supports the initiative of the President of Brazil, to mobilize innovative sources of finance to address the issue of hunger and poverty.

''We welcome the commitment of the G8 Ministers of Finance to cancel $40 billion debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest countries and the promise of further relief to 20 additional countries. We also welcome the initiative of the British Prime Minister to create an International Finance Facility to front load official development assistance to facilitate achievement of the MDGs''.

This recent initiative towards debt relief, while timely and commendable, needs to be expanded. ''We also contend that the urgent requirements of other developing countries should not be forgotten, in particular, Small Island Developing States, because of their fragile economies and vulnerabilities to natural disasters''.

But there is more to be done beyond the pledging of new resources. There is need to deal with systemic issues which operate to the detriment of developing countries. In the trade regime, the financial and monetary system and the rules of access to technology there still remain severe inequities which restrict our development prospects.

''Unless the rules change, we will not be able to break free from the bondage of underdevelopment''.

The Development Round on trade which was launched in Doha held the promise of a focused development orientation. The negotiations have stalled. To maintain the momentum and credibility, meaningful progress must be made in the negotiations when the WTO Ministers meet in Hong Kong in December this year.

Nothing less will suffice than results which fulfill our expectations for reform in the trade regime to support development efforts.

He also called for improved market access for developing countries including, the reduction of agricultural subsidies in developed countries and trade arrangements based on special and differential treatment, are essential measures to promote economic growth and structural transformation in developing countries and fairer rules for access to technology should be the outcome.

Trade liberalization must be linked to development financing for trade capacity building, debt relief and increased investment flows, the chairman said.

The case for a new global financial architecture is compelling and irrefutable. ''We must manage in a more equitable and efficient way the operations of the international financial and monetary system''. This is important for stability, efficiency and the prevention of crisis.

''Let the word go forth from Doha that the demands of developing countries for an audible voice and full participation in international economic governance can no longer be resisted and ignored'', the chairman said.