Jamaica Assumes Chair of Group 77 & China


Jamaica has assumed the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China for 2005, with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, K. D. Knight accepting the instrument of office from Ahmad Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Qatar yesterday (Jan. 25) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York. Qater chaired the body for 2004.
Minister Knight pledged on the country’s behalf, to work during the one-year term, to preserve the rights of developing countries to determine their own social, political and economic systems.
“These principles are dear to the developing countries and under Jamaica’s chairmanship, everything will be done to safeguard them,” the Minister stated.
In accepting the chairmanship, Minister Knight acknowledged that Jamaica was fully aware of the tremendous responsibility that came with the chairmanship and was equally committed to the task.
He expressed the government’s appreciation for the confidence and trust of the members during the election process and paid tribute to the state of Qatar for its outstanding stewardship during 2004.
Minister Knight stated that under Jamaica’s chairmanship focus would be placed on increasing the flow of resources to developing countries; improving global governance; the formulation of a development agenda; enhancing south/south co-operation and disaster management and relief.
Against the background of the recent tsunami disaster in South Asia and parts of Africa, Minister Knight said that attention would also be given to improving the disaster response mechanisms in member countries.
“Many in our group also have to contend with potential disastrous consequences from climate changes. Disaster prevention and management and recovery efforts should now be recognized as being of such dimensions as to require global solutions. We believe that new mechanisms should be explored particularly to improve prevention and to cope with relief and reconstruction efforts,” Minister Knight stated.
The handing over ceremony was addressed by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Jean Ping, President of the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly, Zephrin Diabre, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and representatives from a number of member states including; Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Belize, Cuba, China, Egypt, India, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Paraguay, Samoa, Syria, Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates (EAU).
Other members of the Jamaican delegation included His Excellency Ambassador Stafford Neil, Deputy Permanent Representative Norma Taylor-Roberts and Counsellor Janice Miller.
Formed in 1964, the G-77 and China is the main voice of developing countries on matters of economic and social issues in the UN system.

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