Feb 22, 1986

TO PURSUE NORTH-SOUTH DIALOGUE AND STRENGTHEN ECDC.

ROME, FEBRUARY 20 (IFDA/BY ESSMA BEN HAMIDA) The Group of 77 is determined more than ever before to pursue a dialogue for better relations with the north and to strengthen mutual economic cooperation among developing (ECDC), the chairman of the New York chapter said Thursday.

Contrary to what some people have proclaimed, the group is not in disarray, Ambassador Ignac Golob of Yugoslavia said.

Golob, who is chairman of the G77 chapter in New York, was in Rome to chair the seventh meeting of the chairmen and coordinators of the G77 on February 18-19.

It was the first time that the traditional meeting of the G77 heads from the six chapters, namely, Geneva, New York, Rome, Paris, Nairobi and Vienna was held in Rome. The chairman of the group of 24 in Washington also took part in the talks.

Golob said the meeting was an effort, in a limited sense, to keep themselves informed about the activities of the different chapters, and in a wider sense to heighten the political awareness of the group as a whole, to the problems facing them and to build up the group's unity and solidarity.

In his address to a plenary meeting of the G77 in Rome, Golob recalled that during 20 years of its existence, the G77 has evolved into a unique forum which, by uniting the third world, has become an important factor in dialogue and negotiations between the industrialised and third world countries.

"We are all, individually and collectively, passing through a most difficult period", he said. He singled out the drought and famine in Africa, the indebtedness of several third world countries, particularly in Latin America, the rising protectionism, the inadequate flow of resources, the fall in commodity prices and the deterioration in the terms of trade which have blurred the prospects of economic development of developing countries.

These problems are further aggravated by a change of attitude of the industrialised countries towards international cooperation for development, multilateralism and towards the UN and some of its specialised agencies in particular, he added.

"In these circumstances, the group has no choice but to resist such trends, and to increase pressure and persist in our just demands for new approaches to the relationships between the developed and developing countries", he told the meeting.

The Rome meeting was convened to review the various programme of activities of each chapter during the past year and to exchange views on several issues of importance to the group such as multilateralism, the situation in UNESCO and IFAD, the special session of the general assembly on the crisis in Africa and the outstanding negotiation in the various fora of the UN.

Referring to the overall assessment of the world political and economic situation as spelled out at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the UN in new York last October, Golob deplored the striking gap between what had been said by the heads of state and governments and what transpired in concrete terms.

The developed countries joined the developing countries in identifying the key issues in international economic relations, but they were not ready to go beyond general pronouncements, he regretted.

Whenever the third world countries attempted to initiate certain concrete actions on pressing problems, they were met with negative responses from the industrialised countries clearly showing their lack of readiness to seriously address the outstanding issues in the world economy, he said.

Luis Eugenio Cadiz, representative of Chile and chairman of the G77 in Geneva, said the same frustration prevails among members of his group because of lack of progress and positive results in the ongoing negotiations.

Recalling the untiring efforts of his group on international multilateral negotiations which took place in Geneva within the context of UNCTAD and GATT meetings, Cadiz regretted that 1985 was another year of disappointment.

The group has found itself at most times in a quicksand of procedural negotiations which ended in sterile debates, he told the meeting.

Although he tried to avoid blaming anyone in particular, Cadiz deplored the lack of political will and even the lack of faith of the group's partners in the north in conducting the whole process of international multilateral cooperation.

"We have felt for some time, and especially recently, the full force of those who deny for themselves and for the international community the benefits of multilateralism", he said.

He however, said that the situation has not led the group to give up in desperation. In fact, the resolve of the G77 is stronger than ever before, he said, stressing that the group in Geneva is looking forward with renewed optimism to the next seventh conference of UNCTAD.

Also Golob recalled the group is prepared to discuss at the resumed session of the general assembly next April the long outstanding proposal for an international conference on money and finance, debt, resource flows, trade and development, as well as the special session on Africa.

That was the only bright spot of the 4Oth anniversary session last year, he said adding that the group reaffirmed its support and solidarity with demands and requests made by the organisation of African unity (OAU) and the African states.

The second main point discussed was the progress in economic cooperation among developing countries (ECDC) and the implementation of the Caracas programme of action. Golob recalled that the progress made so far have not been quite satisfactory although there have been some successes, he told IFDA.

But he felt the need to develop some new and innovative approaches to ECDC with emphasis on three aspects:

--The need for third world countries to introduce various preferential arrangements for mutual cooperation,

--The need for ECDC to be a self-enhancing and self-generating process whereby participant countries find an immediate and concrete benefit from economic cooperation. Otherwise, the cooperation is getting to be too administrative and too bureaucratic and is going to suffocate, he warned.

--The need to make greater use of the existing institutional infrastructure within the UN system which the G77 helped in establishing and maintaining, he said.

To assess the results of the implementation of the Caracas program of action, Golob recalled that the G77 will hold its fifth intergovernmental follow up and coordination committee (IFCC V) meeting, probably at a Ministerial level, in an yet undetermined African country next August.

The meeting also discussed other issues such as the external debt problem and the proposed international conference on money and finance the group reviewed the financial and secretarial problems facing the G77 and the need to improve the exchange of information among different chapters through a modernised communication system.

Reviewing the future of UN agencies such as UNESCO and IFAD, the chairman said that the group reaffirmed its strong support for IFAD and its president in his efforts to seek a more permanent and secure way of replenishing the resources of the fund.

Addressing the plenary session, Golob told members they all belong to the same group and have the same goals and objectives whether they are in Rome, New York or elsewhere.

He called on them to use every window of opportunity for improving the lot of their peoples. He reaffirmed that the group's presence should be felt significantly, that its demands are justified and realistic, and that it should be united and work together in solidarity.