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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Headquarters

26 September 2008


Remarks at the Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77 and China

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful for the opportunity to address this important gathering of Ministers of the Group of 77 and China.

I extend my sincere appreciation to Prime Minister Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda for his able leadership of the Group. We still have much work to do before the end of your term, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration.

Let me congratulate Sudan on being elected Chair of the G77 and China for the coming year. Vice-President Taha, I look forward to working with you on addressing common challenges.

And challenges we face many at this time. The weakening world economy, steep rises in food and energy prices, and climate change all threaten to reverse previous development gains.

This is especially true in the least developed countries. Recent data suggests that the number of people living in extreme poverty in LDCs is much higher than previous estimates.

This complex development emergency makes it all the more imperative that we take urgent action. At yesterday's High-Level Meeting on the MDGs, I was heartened by the renewed pledges by countries, developed and developing, to fulfil their respective commitments.

And I was encouraged by the renewed commitments at the September 22nd High-Level Meeting on “Africa's Development Needs.”

Some concrete initiatives and new partnerships were announced to accelerate progress. This is critical as we still have worrying gaps that must be bridged.

Excellencies,

Despite improving economic growth and a better overall policy environment, Africa as a whole still faces very difficult development challenges. The MDG Africa Steering Group has identified practical steps to reach the development goals in Africa. Their report makes concrete recommendations that, if fully implemented, will produce substantial progress.

And with only seven years to the MDG target date, the world cannot afford to spare any effort. Consolidating the global partnership for development, which is MDG – 8, is particularly important.

This will drive progress in the areas of aid, trade and access to new technologies and affordable essential medicines, where implementation is far behind schedule.

Let me renew my appeal to Member States to rapidly conclude the Doha Round of World Trade talks. A pro-development Doha Round would be a strong catalyst for integrating developing countries in the international economy.

But after seven years of talks, there is still no agreement. This amounts to the most significant implementation shortfall in the area of trade.

I appeal to Member States to redouble their efforts to conclude a truly developmental round that is focused on improving the lives of the poorest, especially in the agricultural sector.

In these turbulent times, it is more critical than ever to act. We must use the forthcoming review of the Monterrey Consensus to renew commitments on financing for development.

We have to agree on new ways to generate both domestic and external financial resources. We have to revive the spirit of Monterrey, a spirit of genuine partnership among developed and developing countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You are rightly focusing on South-South cooperation as one of the themes of your meeting. Cooperation among developing countries is a vital means of attracting trade and investment flows. Many countries of the South have built successful economies and are now competing with traditional manufacturing powerhouses.

There are also cases of companies from the South investing in the North. Many of us grew up thinking of Land Rover and Jaguar as British motor vehicles. But today, both Land Rover and Jaguar have become part of TATA Motors of India.

This is a testament to the technological know-how and financial strength that now exists in the South. Through cooperation in areas like manufacturing and technology transfer, countries of the South can derive great benefits from each other.

I am committed to strengthening United Nations support for South-South cooperation. The causes which are dear to the Group of 77 and China are the very issues which I have been determined to advance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are also continuing with efforts to enhance coherence in the work of the United Nations. Our aim is to be more efficient and effective by delivering as one.

I have also presented Member States with a comprehensive proposal for strengthening the development pillar of the United Nations Secretariat.

We have come a long way, but there is much further to travel before realizing our shared development goals. The active support of the Group of 77 and China will ensure that the development agenda remains an international priority. I look forward to our continued collaboration.

Thank you very much.