STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. SALVADOR VALDES MESA, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE THIRD SOUTH SUMMIT (Kampala, Uganda, 21 January 2024)
Your Excellency Yoweri K. Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda;
Your Excellency Dennis Francis, President of the Seventy Eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly;
Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations;
Distinguished Heads of State and Government and Heads of Delegations;
It is for me an honor to participate in this major event convened by the sister Republic of Uganda.
I would like to reiterate my satisfaction for being in African lands, to which we are joined by strong brotherhood and solidarity bonds. From our African ancestors we inherited the spirit of struggle and the resilience capability that characterize the Cuban people.
Africa deserves our full respect and support down the path towards development and that is why I greet all its leaders with special affection.
I recognize in particular the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni as a champion of peace and stability in Africa and the world.
Unity should be the word of order for the G-77 and China in these difficult times when maneuvers to divide the countries of the South proliferate.
Our effective exercise and concerted actions to change the unjust international order in force and rid ourselves, once and for all, of the conditions of absolute disadvantage we have been plunged into after centuries of colonialism, neocolonialism and dependence is both indispensable and urgent.
Great challenges and complex processes characterized the year 2023. At the same time, we were able to show how much we can do if we act in a concerted and determined way in defense of our legitimate interests and aspirations.
Thanks to the collective efforts of the members of our Group we were able to walk down the path towards achieving the status we deserve and need in the current international context.
The successful Summit of Heads of State and Government of the G-77 and China held in Havana on September last, was both a necessary and urgent meeting. We emerged from that event stronger than ever. Its Final Declaration includes practical actions of relevance for developing countries which, with the efforts of all of us, will be implemented.
The celebration of the Summit of Leaders of our Group in the context of the Twenty Eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-28), an event that was convened for the first time, creates an unquestionably useful precedent for the future work of the Group of 77 prior to the international climate negotiations.
The Group was also a relevant actor in different UN negotiation processes, including those related to the Sustainable Development Goals Summit and has been instrumental in the preparations for the Summit of the Future.
The stands taken by the G-77 significantly contributed to the adoption of the Agreement in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in relation to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity in the Areas beyond the Limits of National Jurisdiction.
The participation of Cuba in its condition as Chair of the G-77 and China in numerous international meetings outside the traditional field of action of the Group, such as the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact and the BRIGS Summit, contributed to promote the interests of developing countries in these important fora.
We appreciate the active and constructive participation of the members of the Group in the events convened in Cuba in 2023, particularly the ministerial meetings of the G-77 on education, culture, tourism and environment. These meetings promoted substantive debates and agreements on practical actions related to issues that are fundamental to the South.
We invite you to continue working together in the implementation of the 17 cooperation projects designed under Cuba's chairmanship of the Group for the benefit of our member States.
Likewise, we should continue to make progress towards the revitalization of the Joint Coordination Committee G-77 - NAM, which will give greater coherence and effectiveness to our actions from the South. The fact that Uganda will be chairing both groups this year will no doubt contribute positively to achieving that goal.
In a nutshell, this has been a year of commendable collective efforts and unquestionable results, for which we thank you all.
Excellencies; Esteemed delegates:
As a contribution to this debate and in order to appropriately follow up on the agreements reached at the Summit of G-77 held in Havana in September last, allow me to submit to the consideration of the delegations some proposals for practical actions which, in our opinion, will contribute to the achievement of our objectives:
1. Submit to the United Nations General Assembly, before the end of this year, a draft resolution on behalf of the member countries of the G-77 and China and convene, on September of 2025, a General Assembly High Level Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation. That meeting should agree on the practical actions to guarantee that science, technology and innovation contribute to speed up progress through the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Plan.
2. Convene by the first semester of 2025 a meeting of ministers and high officials of our Group in the fields of Science, Technology and Innovation, with the purpose of identifying the main proposals to be promoted by the G-77 and China at the aforementioned United Nations General Assembly meeting.
3. Institutionalize the celebration of the Summits of Leaders of the G-77 and China in the context of the Conferences of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This initiative, materialized for the first time at the COP28 held last year in Dubai, showed its relevance and value. It would facilitate the concerted action of our Group in the future climate negotiations.
4. Organize, by the second semester of 2024, a Fair of Science, Technology and Innovation of the South to show the advances of our countries in these areas; promote joint research projects and encourage the creation of productive chains that would reduce the dependence of western markets. This could be the appropriate framework to design strategies that would revitalize the Consortium on Science, Technology and Innovation for the South (COSTIS), as was agreed at the Havana Summit.
It has been a source of great pride and honor for Cuba to have chaired, for the first time, the G-77 and China.
We have done so under the conditions of a criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade, which has been tightened to an extreme, more cruel and inhumane dimension since the second semester of 2019.
We deeply appreciate the firm standing of the Group against the unilateral coercive measures that are being implemented against several of our members, including the unjust blockade imposed against the Cuban people for more than 60 years.
On behalf of the people and. the government of Cuba, I express my deep appreciation to all the members of the Group, the United Nations System and the G-77 Secretariat for the support they always gave to us during our term at the helm of the Group.
Today we are passing on the Chair of the Group to the sister nation of Uganda, being aware of the historical times we are living through and knowing that much remains to be done for the well-being and development of our peoples.
Uganda will always be able to count on Cuba's full backing and support. We wish Uganda complete success.
Cuba will always bet on the defense of unity amidst our rich diversity. United, in the pursuit of the aspirations of our peoples, we will be stronger and our voice will be heard.
Thank you, very much.