Jamaica Elected to Chair Group of 77 and China Caucus


Jamaica has been elected to chair the Group of 77 and China, a caucus of newly independent and developing countries in the United Nations system.
The country’s bid for the chairmanship was unanimously endorsed at a formal meeting of the organization at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on September 29.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K.D. Knight, who is in New York for the 59th General Assembly of the UN, expressed his appreciation to the group, and the Latin American and Caribbean membership in particular, for “the confidence demonstrated in nominating Jamaica for the chairmanship for 2005.”
“Jamaica accepts this important responsibility,” he stressed, “and is committed to maintaining the focus of the international community on issues of importance to developing countries.”
The meeting, which was presided over by UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan, also afforded member countries an opportunity to comment on a range of issues relating to economic development and trade liberalization, as well as the perceived marginalization of many newly independent and developing countries.
Secretary-General Anan, in his submission, reminded the Group of 77 and China, that its work was of extreme importance, as it would enable developing countries to more forcefully articulate and foster a deeper recognition, by the international community, of the need for a more equitable and just international economic system.
He also appealed to the international community for more concerted action in forging a more productive North-South partnership, between developing countries and wealthier states, and urged the G-77 caucus to work for greater economic interchange and technical cooperation between members.
Meanwhile, Minister Knight said that Jamaica’s assumption of the leadership of the G-77 and China came at a critical time in the international system, as the pursuit of development had become more daunting, “given the impact of globalization and liberalization, among and within countries, despite the efforts of developing states to transform their economies.”
He submitted that efforts should be made to ensure that the conduct of international economic relations be more “responsive to developing world realities and that appropriate reforms are implemented to harmonize trade and economic policies with current objectives.” “Effective and democratic global governance is not a lofty ideal but an imperative for our economic survival and for integration in the mainstream of the world economy. As such, we should demand a more equitable and inclusive international environment,” Minister Knight said. The Foreign Minister further argued that developing countries should “participate in and benefit from the process of globalization and liberalization.”
The Jamaican Foreign Minister also called for the UN system to actively promote and facilitate this process, which could have as its key mandate “the shaping of a more participatory, democratic and equitable global economic order”.
Several delegations present also took the opportunity to congratulate Minister Knight on his assumption of the leadership of the Group of 77 and recalled the country’s long history of advocacy in the international community.
The Cuban delegation characterized Jamaica’s chairmanship as important in helping to focus the Group on taking “concrete action on issues that would give meaning to the work of G77.”
The delegation further argued that the Group, as a whole, had an important function in helping to define global development priorities at a time when the developed world was spending some US$17 billion per year on pet food, while experts estimate that illiteracy across the world would be virtually eliminated with a US$19 billion investment. The Group of 77 came into being after the signing of the Joint Declaration of 77 countries, adopted at the end of the First Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1964. The group is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has a total of 132 member states.
When Jamaica takes the helm in 2005, it will preside over the staging of a major international conference, which will undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made in fulfilling major international development accords, such as the Millennium Declaration, and will also seek to ensure the full implementation of decisions emanating from UN conferences and summits relating to economic and social development.

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