Journal of the Group of 77 - Volume 19/1 (2007) (Spring Edition)


UNITED NATIONS, (G77/IPS) — Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, the chairman of the Group of 77 and China, said there are three areas of importance for developing countries this year.

Firstly, governance and budget. “Money should follow the mandates, not the other way around”, he said.

“The primary purpose is to implement decisions of member states. And you cannot implement mandates on the basis of availability of money. Therefore, we have resisted attempts to utilize budget as a method to try to determine prioirties,” Ambassador Akram said, in an interview with the JOURNAL OF THE GROUP OF 77.

Secondly, he said, the UN’s human resources management is another of the G77’s priorities. These include recruitment policies, performance evaluation, accountability, quality of staff and equity in treatment of staff.

Thirdly, the Secretariat’s management practices, including oversight, the role of board of auditors and the issue of procurement.

Overall, he said, development is one of the G77’s major priorities.

Asked about the standoff between the G77 and the Secretary-General on several issues relating to UN reform and Secretariat restructuring, he said: “The G77 very much wishes to support the Secretary-General. We wish him to succeed and seen to be successful in the operation of the organization.”

“Secondly, we have our own priorities— our priorities are developmental priorities. We would wish that the issue of Millennium Development Goals, receives the highest priority.”

Ambassador Akram said that some of the Secretary-General’s initial proposals on UN restructuring have been modified in the light of discussions.

“Our concern is that the established process and the rules of the house should be followed, including consultations with the Fifth Committee and the Advisory Committe on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)— and thereafter decisions can be taken.”

The secretary-general can take the political decision, he said, and “we are willing to go along as long as processes are respected.”

On mandate review, he said: “Every group and every delegation has its priorities. I think if the mandate review is a political exercise, that has to be done in a different way— and in a political forum. If it is an efficiency exercise, it will be easier.”

He also said that the influence and power of any organization directly relates to amount of resources it has control over.

There are proposals to strengthen the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with ministerial or higher level participation.

He said it would be useful “if we can get political leadership as a central coordinating mechanism for development.” But there has to be a political will to achieve that.

Ambassador Akram also said that he has had personal experinece as co-chair of the mandate review exercise.

There is suspicion that this exercise is to change political decision making. “We have to build confidence among all delegations this is not an attrempt to change political decision making.”

Asked about the role of China in the G77, he said that since 1992, China has had a partnership with the G77.

“We do not see any contradictions between China’s growing political and economic status and the G77. It only adds to the strength to our Group. There are other members who are also growing rapidly, specifically India and Pakistan and countries of Southeast Asia, he declared.