Secretary-General's remarks at Handover Ceremony of Chairmanship of Group of 77 and China
New York, 8 January 2014
I am pleased to join you for this annual handover ceremony.
It is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past 12 months and the agenda for the year to come.
I am especially pleased that H.E. President Morales is with us today in the fiftieth anniversary of this important group.
His presence is an affirmation of the central role of the Group of 77 and China in addressing key system-wide policy and development issues and ensuring that the United Nations remains relevant and vibrant.
Allow me to thank, once again, the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Peter Thomson, and the Government of Fiji.
You provided important leadership in a year that was critical in accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and following up on the decisions made at the Rio+20 summit meeting.
The General Assembly approved the most significant reform of the Economic and Social Council since 1991.
Discussions deepened on shaping a post-2015 development agenda.
We saw progress by the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals and the first meeting of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development.
The Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing also made some headway.
Common positions of the G77 and China at the Climate Change Conference in Warsaw contributed to a more positive outlook for an agreement in 2015.
I will count on your continued positive and constructive engagement at the Climate Change Summit I am going to convene in September.
We need greater ambition and increased action on the ground.
In Bali, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference was able to inject new life into the Doha Round.
We should take heart in the restoration of the multilateral approach to trade.
As we look ahead at 2014, we should also be encouraged by signs of global economic recovery.
Let us work together to ensure this is inclusive, deep and durable.
This means more jobs, especially for youth, and greater advances on the key issues of poverty, hunger and health.
Less than two years remain to the end of 2015.
In that time we must do much more to achieve the MDGs, define a unified and universal post-2015 development agenda and agree on a global climate agreement.
This coming year should also see advances on the essential issue of financing for sustainable development.
Sustainable development will be a core focus of the Third Conference on Small Island Developing Nations this September.
The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples will also give us a chance to advance on securing a life of dignity for all.
We live in a time of almost limitless possibility.
As never before, we have the tools to eradicate poverty, improve social and economic well-being and lay the foundations for a sustainable future.
But, at the same time, the stakes have never been higher.
Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, inequality is growing and the underlying causes of conflict are prevalent in too many countries.
Only by working in common cause can we avert risk and embrace opportunity.
This Group – the G77 and China - represents the aspirations of billions of the world’s least privileged people.
Your members are also among the most economically dynamic and resource-rich nations on Earth.
We will all benefit from your unity, your collective progress and your combined contribution to achieving a sustainable future for all humankind.
I wish you a successful and productive 2014.