G-77 Handing Over Ceremony - 2009 on 11 February 2009, CR - V, Vienna International Center - Statement by
H.E. Mr. Shahbaz, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Federal Republic of Austria and Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based International Organizations,
Chairman of the G-77 Vienna Chapter during 2008
Excellencies and dear colleagues,
It was a matter of great honour and privilege for me to serve as the Chairman of the Group of 77 and China (Vienna Chapter) for the year 2008. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the trust that you reposed in me for spearheading the important work of the Group. Pakistan has been long wedded to the ideals of the Group and values its contribution immensely. We have always participated actively in all activities of the Group and have, on several occasions, risen above national interests in the spirit of consensus within the Group. I, therefore, took this responsibility very seriously and tried my best to act to the best of my potential and abilities. I sincerely hope that I was able to live up to your expectations.
It was an unusually eventful and challenging year in the Vienna calendar of activities. Apart from the regular meetings of the policy making organs of the IAEA, UNODC, UNIDO and the CTBTO PrepCom, the year witnessed several other events which were of high importance and direct significance to the Group's core interests and values, namely:-
i) The negotiations on IAEA Technical Cooperation Fund Targets for the triennium 2009-2011.
ii) Beginning of the informal process on discussions about the future of the Agency.
iii) The review process of the 1998 UNGASS Political Declaration and negotiations for the 2009 Political declaration and Action Plans.
iv) Working Group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC
v) 2nd Conference of State Parties of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
vi) 4th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC).
vii) Vienna Forum to fight human trafficking (under the auspices of UN.GIFT).
viii) LDC Ministerial Conference, "Aid for Trade: An Industrial Agenda for Least Developed Countries" held in Cambodia from 19 to 20 November 2008, co-hosted by UNIDO and the World Trade Organization.
ix) Visit to Iran together with representatives of NAM and other regional groups to witness the anti-drug campaign.
To perform its task effectively, the G-77 held numerous meetings at the Plenary and Task Force level. To give you an idea about the number of meetings held during the year:-
i) IAEA Matters: 13 Plenary Meetings, 9 Task Force Meetings, 24 Working Group Meetings - Total: 46
ii) UNIDO: 9 Plenary Meetings, 22 Task Force Meetings, 2 Working Group Meetings - Total: 33
iii) UNODC: 9 Plenary Meetings, 35 Task Force Meetings - Total: 44
iv) CTBTO: 8 Plenary Meetings, 15 Task Force Meetings, 9 Working Group Meetings - Total: 32
The G-77 was able to maintain its level of constructive participation, while guarding its core interests and values - based on our common belief in multilateralism and a just world order. I took personal interest in the process for setting the TCF targets for 2009-2011, and after several months of painstaking negotiations, in which other colleagues also participated, we were pleased with the outcome. We did not buckle under the immense pressure that was imposed on us and were able to achieve an unprecedented increase. Our timely intervention, and close cooperation with the G-77 Rome Chapter (coincidentally also being chaired by Pakistan), in the case of 'Joint IAEA-FAO Division on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture', also bore tangible results. I would also like to mention here the formation of the UNODC working group on finance and governance - a subject to which we attached high importance and also devoted special attention. The outcome appearing from this working group will go a long way in improving the governance and finances of UNODC.
The smooth functioning of the G-77 was the result of teamwork and cooperation between several individuals, some of whom I would like to specially mention here, in no particular order:-
i) The Chairmen of the four Task Forces, namely Mr. Luiz Ortigao (Brazil) - IAEA, Mr. Ali Saryazdi (Isl. Rep. of Iran) - UNODC, Ms. Poppy Ravhura (South Africa) - UNIDO, and Mr. Claudio Medeiros (Brazil) - CTBTO. I would later invite them to deliver their own comments.
ii) The distinguished Ambassador of Brazil who very kindly consented to Chair the G-77 Plenary meetings on CTBTO matters and deliver the Group's statements in the PrepCom and its working groups.
iii) Ms. Annemaire Heuls deserves a special mention for her dedication and highly professional work in coordinating the Group's activities and meetings.
iv) And finally, the officers and staff of my own Mission.
Here I would also like to share a particular concern of mine, which bothered me throughout the year and needs to be rectified to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the Group. It was disturbing and unfortunate to hear, on more than one occasion, delegations of other regional Groups questioning the G-77 position expressed by the Chairman or one of his representatives as not being a Group position. This could possibly be the result of certain individuals agreeing to the Group position in the plenary meeting and later sharing their skepticism of that position with other delegations. In my view, it is better to have no Group position at all than have one, which is negated from the floor or in the corridors by the members of the Group. I hope we can reflect upon this to avoid its recurrence in future.
Another suggestion for the future would be the activation of a Joint Coordination mechanism between the G-77 and NAM in Vienna. Such a coordination mechanism is already functional in New York and is working very well. Due to a huge overlap in the membership, and commonality of positions on several issues, this would prove highly beneficial.
Before I invite H.E Mr. Eugenio Marķa Curia, the distinguished Ambassador of Argentina, to take over the charge of Chairmanship of G-77, I would like to invite the current Chairmen of the four Task Forces to also say a few words:-
i) Mr. Luiz Ortigao (Brazil) - Task Force on IAEA matters.
ii) Mr. Ali Saryazdi (Isl. Rep. of Iran) - Task Force on UNODC matters.
iii) Ms. Poppy Ravhura (South Africa) - Task Force on UNIDO matters.
iv) Mr. Claudio Medeiros (Brazil) - Task Force on CTBTO matters.
In the end, I would like to thank once again all members of the Group for the trust and cooperation, which I received from them.
Turning over to Ambassador Curia now, Ambassador Curia has always been very active and is very well suited to serve the Group in this coveted capacity. I have full confidence in his leadership and would like to assure him my fullest cooperation, both in a national capacity and as the ex-Chairman of the Group. I now invite Ambassador Curia to come forward and take over the position of Chairman of G-77 & China (Vienna Chapter) for the year 2009.