Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77

Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the Annual Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 New York, 25 September 2009

Honourable Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to convey sincere regrets from the Secretary-General. I am honoured to address this distinguished ministerial meeting in his place.

Allow me to begin by expressing my appreciation to Sudan and H.E. Mr. Deng Alor Koul, Minister for Foreign Affairs, for your exceptional leadership of the Group of 77 and China during a most challenging year.

As you all know, the President of the General Assembly, with the strong backing of the G77, launched an independent assessment on the financial and economic crisis and its developmental impact. This ran parallel with the Monterrey follow-up process on financing for development. Together, these efforts helped build momentum for a UN Conference culminating in the consensus Outcome adopted last June.

There is now a much broader understanding of the causes of the crisis and its impacts on development. I am particularly encouraged that developing countries have been taking a lead in promoting new and innovative multilateral solutions in many areas.

Continued discussion and collaboration by all can bring about a more balanced global economy. Yet this, in turn, will require a much bigger voice for developing countries in the multilateral economic institutions.

In this context, the G77 and China has a critical role to play in the follow-up to the June Conference. Addressing the structural failures of the international monetary and financial system is particularly important.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world confronts multiple crises. Solutions to these challenges require an integrated approach.

Climate change has the potential to roll back years of development gains.

Some Member States of the G77 and China have adopted ambitious measures to curb CO2 emissions. These efforts are commendable and serve as an example for other nations. But the big constraint on broader adoption of such programmes is the availability of predictable additional finance and clean technologies.

This Group has shown great commitment and leadership to push the agenda on climate change forward at the intergovernmental level. Let us use the momentum from this week’s Climate Change Summit to bridge the gaps to reach a successful outcome at Copenhagen in December – guided by the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and sustainable development.

We must also press ahead with the critical effort to support a green revolution in Africa – to help reverse desertification, increase agricultural productivity, alleviate poverty and hunger, enhance food security and contribute to tackling the climate threat.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Developing countries have made big economic gains in recent years, albeit with some still left out. The global economic crisis is, however, a set back to all and puts at risk the timely achievement of the MDGs.

The Summit in 2010 will provide an opportunity to take stock, reaffirm commitments and make a final push for 2015.

The United Nations system, for its part, must continue to improve its support to Member States in achieving their development goals. We must ensure that the current system-wide coherence efforts result in greater development impact, without disrupting the flow of programmable resources to developing countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the very early stages of the global financial crisis and in the aftermath of the food and fuel crises, the Group has tirelessly led efforts to find common solutions to these global challenges. I am sure those efforts will continue when the leadership passes to the Republic of Yemen. I wish H.E. Mr. Abubakr A. Al-Qirbi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen, great success in 2010, and I assure him of the support of my Department.

And I thank the entire Group of 77 and China for your firm and consistent support for DESA and for strengthening the development pillar of the United Nations.

Thank you.