7:18 AM Jun 28, 1994


Geneva Jun 27 (TWN) -- Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77 in a ministerial declaration issued on the occasion of the 30th of the Group have reaffirmed the urgent need of a constructive North-South dialogue for strengthening international cooperation and promoting economic growth and development of developing countries.

The Ministers met in New York on June 24 and issued the declaration, and a separate statement on "An Agenda for Development".

The Ministers reviewed the progress achieved by the G77 and the difficulties it has encountered in the past thirty years, assessed the transformations taking place in the world economy and international economic relations and analyzed the implications, opportunities and challenges that these posed to developing countries. They also reaffirmed the Joint Declaration adopted on 15 June 1964 by the Seventy-seven developing countries at the end of UNCTAD-I, as well as the Charter of Algiers at the First Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 on 25 October 1967.

Following are excerpts from the Declaration:

1. The founding of the Group of 77, thirty years ago, was the result of the collective perception by the developing countries that their problems are shared and common, and of the need for joint action in accordance with the principles and objectives of the U.N. Charter, in the face of the inequitable pattern of international economic relations. The evolution of the Group of 77 is intimately linked with the United Nations system and a clear manifestation of the importance it attaches to multilateral cooperation.

2. In these thirty years the Group of 77 has not only become a major actor in international economic relations, but also a prime initiator of ideas, concepts and initiatives relating to development and international cooperation.

3. The expectations for greater global security, and a just, equitable and non-discriminatory international economic order have not been realized. The world today is beset by acute economic and social problems, many of them structural in nature, requiring urgent redress by the international community. We regret that the interdependent world economy continues to be marked by uncertainty, imbalances and recession, as well as the continuing overall marginalization of developing countries. We also note with concern the tendency on the part of developed countries to take decisions that affect the world economy outside the multilateral framework of the United Nations system, without giving full consideration to the interests of developing countries. The need to democratize international relations is more pressing than ever.

4. Over the past three decades, insufficient financial flows, ODA levels remaining well below the 0.7% of GNP targets, lack of foreign investment, inequities of the international trading system, depressed commodity prices, and the debt crisis, have attained serious political and economic dimensions and have emerged as the main obstacles to growth and development in the developing countries. Closely interlinked with these problems has been the aggravation of widespread poverty, made even more onerous by structural adjustment programmes. Most developing nations are engaged in courageous policies to restructure their economies, despite an unfavourable external environment. We therefore call for intensification of efforts by the international community to address these issues and take concrete measures to help solve them.

5. We express the hope that the commitments assumed through the conclusion of the Uruguay Round in Marrakesh, on 15 April 1994, although not reflecting the totality of the aspirations of developing countries, will help constitute an open, stable, predictable, equitable and transparent multilateral trading system. In this context, we reiterate the need to abolish unilateral and arbitrary commercial practices and measures, noting with concern the persistence of certain trends aimed at developing and encouraging new forms of protectionism and distortions, in particular the attempt to introduce social and environmental clauses to the international trade regime. We also stress the need for steps to be taken to provide adequate compensation to those developing countries adversely affected by the new multilateral trade regime.

6. We reiterate our profound concern at the persistent critical economic situation in Africa and the deteriorating economic conditions in the least developed countries, particularly in view of inadequate international support.

7. We call for full and effective participation of the developing countries in the process of decision-making and in the resolution of world economic problems through strengthening multilateralism and implementing an effective mechanism of multilateral macroeconomic policy coordination on a global basis aimed at promoting equitable growth in the world economy. We strongly believe that sustained economic growth and development, particularly of developing countries, constitute the main objective which must be pursued as a priority by the international community.

8. We attach high priority to the revitalization and strengthening of the role of the UN in promoting international cooperation for economic and social development. We strongly believe that the UN should be encouraged to develop its full potential in the area of international economic cooperation and should be endowed with the requisite resources to contribute to solving the serious economic and social problems facing the developing countries in their efforts to achieve sustained economic growth and development. In this regard, we also emphasize the need to reinforce even further the importance and relevance of UNCTAD and to revitalize its activities and functions in the field of international cooperation conducive to development.

9. We call for the full implementation of the commitments to international cooperation as contained in General Assembly resolutions, especially the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries adopted at the Eighteenth Special Session, the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade, the Declaration on the Right to Development, the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s, the Cartagena Commitment adopted by UNCTAD VIII, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and other UNCED-related agreements and follow-up conferences. We welcome the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which enters into force on 16 November 1994 and hope that the forthcoming adoption of the resolution relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention during the resumed session of the forty-eighth General Assembly will ensure early realization of the universal participation in the Convention.

10. We attach the highest priority to the initiative for an Agenda for Development as an instrument to promote an action-oriented consensus for economic growth and development. We reaffirm the critical need for an integrated approach to development as well as for coordinated and effective international cooperation. Moreover, we stress that it is the responsibility of each country to define its national goals, objectives and priorities in its development process, and therefore, actions aimed at introducing new conditionalities in redefining the basis of international cooperation should be avoided. The international community should support and supplement the national efforts of developing countries.

11. We reaffirm our strong commitment to strengthen South-South cooperation as an integral part of the strategy of the developing countries to achieve economic growth. We call upon the international community to provide effective support to programmes on economic and technical cooperation among developing countries. A number of initiatives and projects have been launched within the framework of South-South Cooperation, the full potential of which remains far from being realized. We reiterate our conviction that South-South cooperation and individual and collective self-reliance of our countries are essential means for enhancing our negotiating power and sustaining our solidarity and cohesion. The Caracas Programme of Action on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries remains an essential framework for our common efforts and adequate steps should be taken for its implementation. We welcome the momentum gained in recent years and progress achieved by the regional and sub-regional economic cooperation and integration efforts undertaken by developing countries and we commit ourselves to a reinvigorated effort of South-South cooperation at the interregional level.

12. We express our determination and commitment to bring the action of the Group of 77 to a new level of commitment, to strengthen its institutional effectiveness with a view to consolidating common positions of our Group on all the issues and activities of the United Nations system related to the goals and objectives stated above. To this end:

(a) Each Chapter will have a liaison office to be funded by voluntary contributions from its members and other modalities approved by each Chapter;

(b) The Chairman for each Chapter will serve for one year.

(c) Two meetings of the Chapters will be held each year: one at the beginning of the year to establish the priority issues for coordination and a second one to assess the implementation of established objectives for the period. A Chapter meeting may be called at the Ministerial level, as necessary.

13. We welcome the establishment of the Joint Coordinating Committee between the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement which will contribute to enhanced coordination and complementarity between the respective programmes of our Group and the Non-Aligned Movement on South-South and North-South cooperation.

14. In the light of the unsatisfactory state of the global economy, we reaffirm the urgent need for a constructive dialogue between the North and the South as an instrument for the strengthening of international cooperation and the promotion of economic growth and development of developing countries. We wish to stress that such a dialogue should be based on the economic imperative of common interests and benefits, and reflect genuine interdependence.

15. We reaffirm our commitment to continue to contribute to strengthening the role of the United Nations in the promotion of peace and development. Indeed, development is a prerequisite for lasting peace. The realization of the right to development as a basic human right should be given utmost priority.

16. We hope that the forthcoming Summits and Conferences such as the International Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development, the Fourth World Conference on Women and the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to which the we attach great priority, will contribute to a greater understanding of the development problems of the developing countries and help evolve a global consensus and mobilize adequate resources to address them effectively.

17. We hereby declare our firm resolve to build upon the above goals and objectives of the Group of 77 for the year 2000 and beyond and reaffirm our determination to pursue our actions towards the achievement of the universal right to development of all nations and peoples. In issuing this declaration on behalf of one hundred thirty developing nations and China, we appeal to the leaders of the G-7 meeting in Italy next July, to contribute to address the above challenges urgently and with boldness.