Madame Foreign Minister of South Africa, (Nkosazana) Dhlamini-Zuma,
Acting President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Franciscus Majoor,
Dr. Supachai (Panitchpakdi), Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan,
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join you for this handover ceremony. Let me start by thanking the Republic of South Africa for its sound stewardship of the Group of 77 and China during a demanding year – and, in particular, Ambassador (Dumisani) Kumalo for his dedication and hard work. In fact, I was very much impressed by his love for, and passionate contribution to, the work of the G-77, and I'd like to tell Ambassador Kumalo that it is too early for him to sing a swan song. There are many tasks waiting for you, and you should not worry that, in addition to Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, who is now working as Chef de Cabinet, you have one more insider friend in the Office of the Secretary-General: myself. And I'd like to thank the Foreign Minister of South Africa, for kindly recognizing my reform agenda, including the appointment of very qualified women who have joined my team. I sincerely hope that, before your departure, you should tell some of the journalists about some of your own observations on this.
In recent years, the idea of “development for all” has moved from mere rhetorical claim to a truly realizable aim. Starting in the 1990s, a landmark series of UN sponsored global conferences and summits established an ambitious development agenda, one that emphasizes concrete goals and deliverable results. At its core, this compact is represented by the Millennium Development Goals, and our common commitment to achieve them globally by 2015.
Yet progress on this agenda faces frustrating obstacles. Despite some welcome advances on official development assistance and debt relief, the global economy remains an uneven playing field. Fundamental unfairness characterizes the international system in such crucial areas as trade, finance, technology transfer and migration. Addressing these concerns is central not only to the G77's work, but also to the United Nations' broader mission.
Fortunately, many of the steps necessary to address these existing inequalities are well known. Above all, our success hinges upon building a stronger, more dynamic and more effective global partnership for development. As envisioned in the Monterrey Consensus and called for anew at the 2005 World Summit, such a partnership must be broad based and inclusive. It must involve all Governments and institutional stakeholders, and draw in relevant actors from the private sector and civil society.
Our progress also depends on overcoming the “implementation gap” that has sometimes plagued the international development agenda. We must ensure that agreed goals translate into real results; that discussions in debate halls lead to the delivery of basic services on the ground.
To do so, several key challenges must be addressed with a sense of urgency.
First, we need to strengthen bonds between and among Member States and the Organization, and increase your confidence in this institution. As I pledged upon taking the oath of office last month, restoring trust in the United Nations is essential. But I can only succeed in this with your support.
Let me welcome Pakistan's chairmanship of the Group of 77. With Ambassador Akram's leadership and the Group's guidance and support, I look forward to reenergising our Organization, and to turning a new page in relations between the Secretariat and Member States.
I am confident that the new Chair of the G77 and China will work with me – a new Secretary-General – to implement existing initiatives, and to push for further reform and strengthening of the UN System.
My immediate focus remains on changes that enhance morale, professionalism, mobility and accountability across the system – which in turn will help us serve Member States better.
Second, we must continue to enhance the UN's effectiveness and its ability to respond to new as well as long-standing challenges. At the 2005 World Summit, world leaders committed the UN to bold changes. They authorized new bodies, such as the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, and they agreed to strengthen existing ones, such as the Economic and Social Council.
I am determined to work with the Group of 77 and China to make these reforms work and maintain the momentum, including further efforts towards system-wide coherence. After all, a stronger, renewed United Nations, while important for all Member States, remains most important for the people of the developing world. That is why I look especially to you as we build the structures worthy of a twenty-first century Organization.
I know that ECOSOC reform holds particular significance for your Group. There is encouraging movement on this count. The upcoming launch of the Council's Development Cooperation Forum will strengthen partnerships between donor and developing countries. And ECOSOC's new Annual Ministerial Reviews will help address “implementation gaps” by regularly monitoring gains on the UN Development Agenda.
This year the General Assembly has also scheduled a High-level Dialogue of Financing for Development. And preparations are underway for next year's review conference in Doha. I count on the G77 to remain a driving force behind these important processes, so that we may convert existing promises into actual progress.
Likewise, we must work with great urgency to see a successful and timely conclusion to the Doha Development Round. More than anything else, a fair and equitable international trading regime can provide the basis for a true global partnership for development.
Excellencies, such a partnership is needed now more than ever. It is needed to confront climate change and to protect our environment; it is required to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics; it is necessary to promote social justice and to reduce inequality. In short, it is needed to promote a better world for all citizens of all countries.
For my part, I shall spare no effort to work closely and constructively with the Group of 77 and China on all issues of common concern. In return, I hope to receive a similar level of cooperation from all of you.
New leadership at both the Secretariat and the Group of 77 and China gives us a real opportunity to advance our shared goals. I am confident that with Pakistan at the helm, the Group of 77 will contribute to our efforts during 2007 to build a better, stronger United Nations.
I thank you all very much and look forward to working with you.