Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.


New York, 23 September 2011

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my honour to join you here today for the 35th G77 and China Ministerial Meeting. I thank the Chair of the G77, under the leadership of Argentina, for this opportunity. I would also like to congratulate the upcoming Chair, Algeria, on its election to this Chairmanship.

The Group of 77 and China represent almost two thirds of the UN membership –over 60% of the world’s population. You count among your members some of the emerging nations whose resilient growth during the current global financial crisis has kept the world’s economy from slumping into recession. A large number of members of your group are also considered the most vulnerable countries. And you continue to remind us of something fundamental: that there can be no sustainable peace without sustainable development and global prosperity.

This year, we come together at a critical juncture in the world’s history. World leaders are faced with never-before seen challenges: extraordinary events in the Arab world, a worsening global economic and financial crisis, increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters and the adverse impacts of climate change, and extreme famine in the Horn of Africa.

No Member State can face these emerging global challenges alone. As the President of the 66th session of the General Assembly, I am committed to working with every Member State, to build bridges for a united global partnership. We will need strong collaboration and consensus-building to move forward the Assembly’s heavy agenda this session, in particular on economic and financial issues.

You can also count on my support in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation. In this context, it will be vital to strengthen the current UN institutional mechanisms for South-South cooperation, including the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation. I also believe it would be worthwhile to consider a General Assembly thematic debate on this issue.

Furthermore, this session I also intend to afford the most vulnerable countries the much needed support they deserve.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In carrying out the considerable responsibilities before us, we must be targeted in our approach. For this reason, I have identified four key areas to help frame the work of the General Assembly this session: the peaceful settlement of disputes; UN reform and revitalization; improving disaster prevention and response; and sustainable development and global prosperity. I am pleased to note that these areas of focus are in line with the priorities of the G-77 and China.

On UN reform and revitalization, we must work together to continue to reform the General Assembly, so that it retains the necessary political power and remains efficient, effective and representative. Recent initiatives for reducing overlap, embracing innovation, and building greater synergies are steps in the right direction. However, it cannot be overemphasized that the United Nations cannot function effectively unless it is provided with necessary resources, both human and financial.

On the area of sustainable development and global prosperity, it is clear that poverty eradication is still a major challenge. We have to overcome significant challenges if we’re going to meet the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the MDGs. While recognizing that some progress has been made, reaffirmed commitment by the international community will be fundamental in moving forward.

This year there will be a number of major global conferences related to sustainable development. In particular, COP 17 in Durban and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development -“Rio+20”- are unique opportunities for the international community to recommit to sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and achieving the MDGs. As one of the key promoters of the UN’s development agenda, the G-77 and China will play an important role at these meetings.

This session I also intend to build on the efforts of my predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, to strengthen the global governance architecture. I will also work with Member States to consider how we can better promote complementarity and mutual reinforcement between the General Assembly and the G20. The voice of the United Nations General Assembly as the central forum for addressing the world’s economic and financial order should be brought to the attention of all groups and partners.

Finally, I would like acknowledge the importance attached to the review of the scales of assessment and the biennium budget in the 66th session. My Office and I will work closely with the Membership to ensure that all views are taken into account. I am confident that by working together we can find innovative solutions and consensus on this issue.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We have a busy year ahead. As the world welcomes its 7th billion inhabitant next month, your constructive and flexible engagement with the General Assembly will be essential. By working together, we can ensure that all of Earth’s inhabitants- present and future- enjoy the social, economic and natural conditions conducive to free, productive and fulfilling lives.

I look forward to your guidance, support and engagement in achieving a successful outcome this session.



* * *