Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the opening ceremony of the fortieth annual meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the “Group of 77” (G-77) developing countries and China, in New York today:
I am happy to join you today. The United Nations and the G-77 have an invaluable partnership. Together, we have made enormous progress for human rights and human dignity. Just yesterday, we celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development.
The G-77 and China was also a driving force behind the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our truly transformative plan for the planet and all people. Many G-77 countries also helped push for the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thank you for this advocacy.
I especially appreciate the G-77 countries that worked hard to ratify in time for our special event on Wednesday on climate change. I urge all others to ratify this important Agreement as soon as possible. All members of this Group have a responsibility to carry out these global agreements at home and to make sure that around the world, others honour their promises.
We began this week with the Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Thank you for supporting consensus on the New York Declaration. This outcome represents the commitment of all countries to create a more predictable, systematic and equitable way of managing flows that ensures the safety, dignity and human rights of refugees and migrants, irrespective of their status.
But, for it to have real meaning, we have to match words with actions. I call on the G-77 countries to live up to the New York Declaration and pressure the developed world to do its part. It is critical to address root causes. Poverty, human rights abuses and violence drive people from their homes. Migration should always be a choice. That is why it is so important to carry out the 2030 Agenda.
We need to create jobs, especially for young people. And we need to continue the fight for full equality for women. Respect for human rights is essential to rising to the challenges of the twenty-first century.
We can be inspired by the past as we build a new future. We should make the United Nations system fit for delivering the 2030 Agenda. The G-77 kept its distinctive name even after the membership expanded to 134 countries. In the same way, I hope you keep the Group’s founding spirit to stand up for the countries of the South while expanding your engagement to tackle emerging threats.
With this mix of timeless values and timely action, we can build on our proud record and leave a better world for generations to come. Thank you for your leadership and commitment.