Santa Cruz, Bolivia

15 June 2014

Secretary-General’s remarks at Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 and China

Buenas noches. [Good evening]

Estoy muy contento de estar en Bolivia. [I am pleased to be in Bolivia]

Agradezco mucho la hopitalidad del Presidente Morales y de los Bolivianos. [I thank President Morales and Bolivians for their gracious hospitality]

Muchas gracias. [Thank you very much]

I thank again the Honorable Governor, Rubén Costas, and the Honorable Mayor, Percy Fernández, of Santa Cruz. Muchas gracias por su hospitalidad. [Thank you for your hospitality]

It is a great honour to join you at this very important Summit meeting of the G77 and China.

I am pleased to see so many Heads of State and Government in attendance.

I commend his Excellency President Morales and the Government of Bolivia for hosting this very important Summit of G77 and China, and for Bolivia’s dynamic leadership of the G77 and China during the Group’s 50th anniversary year.

I congratulate the entire membership of the G77 and China on this very important milestone. And I appreciate your great contribution for peace, stability, development and human rights.

The G77 was founded on the fundamental understanding that all countries – big or small, rich or poor – deserve an equal right, an equal voice in all world affairs.

It recognised the need to correct the inequity of the global economic order and close the development gap between the South and the North.

Over the years, this diverse group – which now represents well over half the world’s population and more than two-thirds of the entire United Nations membership– you have enabled the global South to speak with a common voice.

I have been privileged to witness the growing influence of G77 countries in negotiations where I have taken an especially close interest, including on climate change and sustainable development.

As we look to formulate a universal post-2015 development agenda, the vigour and leadership of the G77 and China is crucially important.

The Group provides an immense contribution to our common pursuit of peace, well-being, equity and a life of dignity for all.

To quote the words of the Charter of Algiers at the first ministerial meeting of the G77:

“In a world of increasing interdependence, peace, progress and freedom are common and indivisible.  Consequently, the development of developing countries will benefit the developed countries as well.”

The coming one-and-a-half years are especially crucial for future development and global stability.

These are going to be three priorities for the United Nations until the end of 2015.

First, we must accelerate the Millennium Development Goals. I urge the leaders to place political priority to make even your limited resources available to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

We have just over 440 days to go. We very much have a shortage of time. I wish you that you will do your best until the end of this deadline.

Second, the world must continue progress towards a meaningful global legal agreement on climate change.

We have been discussing climate change for over twenty years without making much progress. Now is the real time world leaders must keep your promise. I count on President Humala of Peru, where leaders will meet again in December for the UN framework Convention on Climate Change.

I expect that the Member States of the United Nations will bring their draft so that the Member States will really seriously negotiate on this draft text so that by the end of next year, in 2015, in Paris we will agree on this text.

Member States have agreed to agree on a global legal text in South Africa in Durban. We confirmed again in Doha, Qatar. Then we re-confirmed in Warsaw, Poland. Now I’m sure that Member States will agree a fourth time to agree to this climate change text. And then, the fifth time, in Paris, Member States must honor their commitment.

To help add political momentum and catalyze action on the ground, I am going to convene a Climate Summit on September 23rd at the United Nations.

I believe that all of the leaders should have received my invitation. And I sincerely hope that you will come at your level and bring your ambitious goals and trials, your national action plans, and stay, so that other countries will follow your examples.

I especially count on the membership of the G77 and China. You have a legitimate right to raise your voice. Unless you are united, with one single voice, it will be extremely difficult for the developing world to get strong support, particularly on climate financing. I really count on your strong support.

Third, I appreciate that Member States have been working very hard through an open working group to shape the future development agenda beyond 2015.

We will continue to accelerate our efforts but we have to be very practical. By the end of next year we may have to leave many goals of the MDGs unfulfilled. Whatever unfulfilled MDG goals will have to be carried over to the Sustainable Development Goals. I am very encouraged that Member States are working very hard and by December this year I will submit my synthesis report for your consideration so that Member States will begin real, serious negotiations to shape the future development agenda from next year.

And I expect that when you, leaders, come to the United Nations in September next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations I expect that leaders will adopt these ambitious, visionary goals and declare it to the world as your vision. That is my sincere wish.

Acting together, Member States can eradicate extreme poverty and provide opportunity for all within the finite bounds of our planet’s resources.

Your membership encompasses all the world’s challenges and, at the same time, you can also bring all the world’s solutions.

Last year’s Special Event of the General Assembly on the MDGs called for a post-2015 development agenda that is universal, takes into account national contexts, and reinforces commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Our future development agenda should universal, concise, complete and easy to communicate so that national leaders will take these sustainable development goals into your national development agenda.

When communities are marginalized, when youth grow up with little hope of jobs and dignity, societies cannot flourish.

But our development must balance the needs of people and planet.

For if we neglect our Mother Earth, we will be denied the protection she offers.

Many scientists have warned already that we are stepping on a tipping point. We have been abusing our resources as if we have unlimited resources.

Our planet earth has a limit in its resources and it is sending signals that this planet earth is sick. Temperatures are going up. Therefore we have to listen to the call before it is too late.

That was my message this April on International Mother Earth Day – an initiative prompted by Bolivia. 

We need to redefine our relationship with Mother Earth.  We need a global transformation of attitude and practice.

Yesterday I was able to meet many people in remote sites of Bolivia. I met many indigenous people. This is what I have been doing, I have been meeting many indigenous and very poor people around the world in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

They have been living harmoniously with our mother nature.  This is the wisdom of the people. We have to live harmoniously with our mother nature to improve human well-being, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable, we must act on climate change and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

All countries need to act on these priorities – individually and collectively.

That is how I understand the theme of this Summit – a New World Order for Living Well.

It is encapsulated by the concept Vivir Bien, promoted by President Morales. I really appreciate your vision, Mr. President.

Development based on ‘Living Well’ is predicated on living in harmony with nature, as I have just said.

It must also mean living in harmony with each other.

Countries cannot achieve sustainable development while conflict rages, while human rights are breached, while good governance and the rule of law are neglected, and while inequality and injustice feed the fires of instability.

That is why it is essential that members of the G77 and China support each other – including through effective regional institutions – to always uphold the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Implementing a universal sustainable development framework will need a renewed global partnership for development.

The G77 and China has a key role to play in ensuring this partnership is effective.

We should of course continue to urge the traditional economic powers to play their role.

We should also continue to press for a fairer global trade regime, transfer of technologies and capabilities, and more influence for developing countries in designing and running the world’s economic machinery. 

But innovative forms of cooperation will need to play a major and growing role in implementing the post-2015 development agenda.

This will include public-private collaboration that puts people at the centre and ensures transparency and accountability.

G77 countries will need to attract, embrace and manage the investments that can help alleviate poverty and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

South-South and triangular cooperation are also going to play an ever greater role – especially as many G77 economies are among the world’s most dynamic.

You have much to learn from each other, and there are many exciting new developments.

Indeed, it is because of your practical experiences and policies that our family of nations is equipped for the first time in history to embark on eradicating extreme poverty.

Increasingly, the world as a whole will rely on you to pioneer inclusive, sustainable and climate-sensitive development. 

Knowledge transfer, development cooperation and trade among G77 members can greatly boost these efforts. .

We must harness the power of partnerships across the full range of development activities.

We must also put in place a robust accountability framework – backed by reliable and comparable data – to support our universal sustainable development agenda.

As the largest group of countries in the United Nations, you play a key role in ensuring a successful outcome to the efforts of the United Nations to formulate and effectively implement the post-2015 development agenda.

The fate of billions of people and poor people and the state of the planet depend on the success of our efforts and your efforts.

The post-2015 agenda must make a real difference in people’s lives, and safeguard the heritage we will give to future generations.

Let us be inspired by the late, great Gabriel García Márquez, whose writings expressed the yearnings of ordinary people everywhere.

When he accepted the Nobel Prize in 1982, he closed with these words.

“…it is not yet too late to engage in the creation of … a new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible.”

Everyone has the right to live well.

If we work together, we can make this a reality for all the people of this world.

Let us work together to make this world a better place where no one will be left behind.

Muchas gracias. [Thank you very much]

Thank you very much.