8:22 PM Apr 9, 1996


Geneva 6 Apr (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The Chairmen/Coordinators of the chapters of the Group of 77 and China have pledged to work together in a more cohesive and harmonious manner to enhance coordination and interaction in different multilateral fora and bring greater coherance to the unity and functioning of developing countries in various UN chapters.

In a communique issued at the end of their two-day coordination meeting here, the chapters of the G77 also expressed their strong commitment to the continuing validity and relevance of the objectives and principles of the Group of 77 and China.

The communique outlined the views of the group on various international issues and forthcoming meetings including UNCTAD-IX, Habitat-II and the Rome World Food Summit.

The Group of 77 chapters expressed "deep concern" over the continued "uncertain prospects of global economic recovery and its grave consequences for developing countries" and suggested that this critical situation provided an unique opportunity for multilateral actions to achieve the objectives of the UN Charter, both in resolving economic and social problems as well as promoting peace and security.

The severe economic crisis facing developing countries cannot be contained totally within the international boundaries of the South, and it can be resolved only by urgent international concerted action taken simultaneously by the UN and the international community as a joint endeavour in the framework of global partnership for development and peace, the communique.

The G77 chapters reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the role of the UN and its specialized agencies and support to the principle of decentralization of UN institutions world wide.

They welcomed the UN's new initiative on Africa and called for mobilization of means and ways to address the critical economic situation in Africa.

UNCTAD, the communique said, should continue to carry out high-quality analysis in policy-oriented issues - focusing on global trends and issues of international trade, investment, finance, enterprise development, services and technology, from a development perspective.

The G77 chapters called for emphasis to be put on promotion of a positive investment climate for attracting FDI in developing countries, creation of a favourable and conducive international economic and financial environment.

UNCTAD should also continue to assist developing countries in the preparation of the multilateral agenda for future negotiations on trade, investment, competition, environment and technology from a development perspective. UNCTAD should also review the evolving phenomenon of globalization and liberalization and assess broad development issues. Its technical cooperation should aim at promoting capacity-building in relevant areas such as services for development, trade efficiency, and international trade and commodity issues in the post-Uruguay Round context.

UNCTAD, the communique said, should, within its mandate, continue to perform its development mission in the evolving institutional context and be an effective instrument to assist developing countries to meet the challenges of globalization and liberalization and benefit from the opportunities arising from it.

UNCTAD-IX, the communique added, should contribute to the continuing adaptation of UNCTAD so as to enhance its development mission.

On Habitat-II, the G77 chapters said that preparatory meetings held in developing countries had highlighted the consensus in the G-77 that Habitat-II must begin a new era of enhanced international cooperation for achieving the goals of 'Shelter for All' and 'Sustainable Human Settlements in an Urbanising World'.

They regretted the failure of the February meeting of the Preparatory Committee for Habitat-II, held in New York, to resolve the important issues pertaining to Habitat Agenda to be adopted at HABITAT-II, especially the institutional mechanisms for follow-up and the role and functions of UN bodies in this area.

"We urge all states to demonstrate the requisite political will and spirit of accommodation in order to achieve consensus on all relevant issues at HABITAT-II."

The G77 chapters expressed their strong support for the World Food Summit to be held in November and urged the Heads of State and Government attending the Summit to adopt policies and concrete measures to reverse the grave situation of hunger and chronic malnutrition afflicting some 800 million people in the developing countries, with 200 million children under the age of five suffering acute protein deficiencies.

On the Third World debt, the G77 while welcoming initiatives at the Paris Club, the G77 chapters voiced concern over the unsustainable level of multilateral debt service of low-income and lower middle income countries and called upon the World Bank and the IMF to consider ways and means of achieving significant reductions in stock of multilateral debt owed by these countries. They also called for efforts to restructure the commercial debt of severely indebted low-income and middle-income countries.

On ODA, the communique called upon OECD countries to bring their ODA levels to the agreed international objective of 0.7% of GNP, and expressed concern over the continuing difficulties in financing of IDA-10 and the prospect of a major reduction in resources of IDA-11.

The communique asked the World Bank group to reverse the current trend of negative net transfers to developing countries which was exacerbating their BOP difficulties.

The G77 chapters also called for implementation and followup of decisions and recommendations of the 1992 UNCED, the 1994 Global Conference on Small Island Developing States, the 1994 World Conference on Natural Disasters Reduction, the 1994 Population and Development Conference, the 1995 World Social Summit, the 1995 Beijing Women's Conference.

They called for effective implementation of Agenda 21 and the Conventions on Bio-diversity, Climate Change and Desertification and expressed their disappointment over the failure of developed countries to fulfil their commitments on poverty eradication, provision of new and additional financial resources and transfer of technology under the Rio Agreements. They also called for greater coordination among various international organizations and bodies dealing with environment and development, especially UNEP, UN Commission on Sustainable Development, UNDP, World Bank and the IMF.

While welcoming the positive outcome of UNEP Governing Council in May 1995 on concerted efforts for protection of environment as an integral component of sustainable development, and the programme of work approved by the Governing Council, the G77 chapters were "deeply disappointed" over the drastic reduction in UNEP's budget.

In other areas, among others, the G77 chapters:

* expressed firm commitment for a more concrete and action-oriented strategy in the field of TCDC and ECDC and the full support for a UN Conference on South-South Cooperation and Development,

* welcomed the smooth operation of the GSTP agreement and Second Round of GSTP negotiations as historic developments of long-reaching political and economic significance,

* welcomed the application for accession to the GSTP by the Mercosur countries (as a regional integration bloc), and affirmed that in the post-Uruguay Round scenario, the GSTP had become one of the most powerful instruments to promote trade among developing countries.