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Secretary-General, at Group of 77 Chairmanship Handover Ceremony, Hails Bloc’s Role in Helping Transform Development Commitments into Concrete Action

Secretary-General, at Group of 77 Chairmanship Handover Ceremony, Hails Bloc’s

Role in Helping Transform Development Commitments into Concrete Action


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Group of 77 chairmanship handover ceremony in New York on 11 January:

Happy New Year to you all!

I am pleased to join you as we mark the handover of the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China.  I commend the Argentine Republic, and especially you, Ambassador [Jorge] Argüello, for your successful leadership of the Group this past year.

During that time, the world witnessed continued financial turmoil; weak economic recovery; multiple social and environmental crises.  But the Group of 77 remained resolute in its commitment to multilateralism.  You worked together and reached out to find ways to address our common challenges.  I thank you for your commitment and support.

Today, I am pleased to see Algeria assume leadership of the group.  Minister [Mourad] Medelci, I congratulate your Government for taking on this responsibility.  Please know that in the coming year, you can count on the full cooperation of the Secretariat.  I am confident that your leadership will build on the efforts of previous chairpersons in fostering cooperation within the Group of 77, and between the Group of 77 and other partners.

In 2011, the international community advanced action for development.  The Durban Conference on Climate Change made progress in a number of key areas; the Busan Forum on Aid Effectiveness established a framework for development cooperation for the coming years; the Fourth Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul called for intensified efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.  The leadership of the Group of 77 will be fundamental to transforming these and other commitments into concrete action.

This year we have a historic opportunity to address one of the main challenges facing humanity:  building a sustainable world.  The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build the future we want.

We need to develop strategies to foster sustainability on a global scale.  We need to connect the dots between policy challenges — climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment.  Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.  Group of 77 leadership is fundamental in ensuring that concrete actionable measures are adopted at Rio.  I will continue to support the process in every way I can.

Safeguarding the environment is a fundamental priority of the Rio process.  But it requires simultaneous action in the economic and social pillars.  Promoting balanced and stable economic growth and ensuring social equity is essential.  Yet the challenges loom large.

The debt crisis continues in Europe and elsewhere.  Markets are volatile.  Budgets are getting squeezed.  Unemployment is unacceptably high.  Inequality is growing, both among and within countries.  Social unrest is on the rise in many corners of the world.

The United Nations, with the full commitment of its membership, must act resolutely and decisively.  Once again, the role of the Group of 77 is an important part of the global effort to mobilize political will to achieve sustainable development.

The Millennium Development Goals remain a blueprint towards achieving our development objectives.  Our target date of the year 2015 is fast approaching.  We are on the last stretch and we must make the final push to achieve our commitments.

Yet, we must also begin thinking about the next steps beyond 2015.  I invite the Group of 77 and China to be active in the dialogue regarding the post-2015 international development agenda.

In the coming year and beyond, we have a historic opportunity to reshape the way we think about development.  We have the responsibility to make the most of this moment.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Group of 77 and China in our collective efforts to address our collective global challenges.

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For information media. Not an official record.