09/27/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/27/2018 13:40
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres' remarks at the opening ceremony of the forty-second annual meeting of foreign ministers of the 'Group of 77' developing countries and China, in New York today:
President [Abdel Fattah al] Sisi [of Egypt], may I express my gratitude and admiration for the effective stewardship of the Group of 77 by Egypt during this year. President [Mahmoud] Abbas [of the State of Palestine], congratulations on the election of Palestine to lead the Group of 77 in 2019.
I want to express my deep appreciation for the Group of 77 vision, insight, and close cooperation with myself and the Secretariat. On issue after issue, the Group of 77 and China have played a pivotal role in shaping priorities, highlighting challenges and driving change.
As I said in my address to the General Assembly, we face many tests in today's world. Trust around the globe is at a breaking point. People are anxious, uncertain and uneasy. Inequality is growing. Trade tensions are rising. And multilateralism is under fire precisely when it is needed most.
By its very essence, the Group of 77 has been a champion of multilateralism. You have defended it and acted to make it stronger ‑ pushing for multilateral solutions to solve common challenges and to promote a fair globalization. Now we need concrete action to ensure results.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our agenda of hope. It is our contribution to that fair globalization that we need.
The Sustainable Development Goals make clear our ambition and commitment. At last July's high-level political forum on sustainable development, many of your countries shared your progress and experiences in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to keep the momentum to fulfil the Agenda's ambition.
I have taken very seriously the Group of 77 and China priorities announced by the Egyptian presidency for this year and trying to live up to the ambition of the 2030 Agenda. Expanding opportunities for young people. Aligning the 2030 Agenda with regional ones such as the African Union's Agenda 2063.
Staying at the forefront of technology issues, I would like to underline the extremely important considerations made by President Sisi on the impact of technology transformation ‑ its potential and its risks - and the need for us to be able to act in a multilateral way to make sure that new technologies will be for common good and new technologies will be a new divisive factor of injustice in the world. But also, ensuring economic empowerment of women. Stepping up efforts to tackle the existential threat of climate change. And of course, the Group of 77 announced that it would remain fully engaged in our work to strengthen and reform the United Nations.
I want to express here my enormous gratitude for the Group of 77 and China effort. You have indeed been the main pillar in the General Assembly's work that led to the reform of the United Nations development system. I am indeed deeply grateful to the Group of 77 for its strong support of my reform agenda ‑ across our work in management, peace and security and development.
We are moving full steam ahead to better implement mandates and serve people while ensuring greater transparency, accountability and effectiveness. In the next month, I will submit new proposals to improve our human resources policies and increase gender and geographical diversity within the Secretariat.
I appreciate your continued engagement and commitment. Our reform of the United Nations development system is exactly aimed at making sure we support Member States on the sustainable development journey. In many ways, the central objectives of the reform reflect arguments that the Group of 77 has been making for years.
The eradication of poverty is our first objective. Sustainable development [must be] at the core of our work. International policy must be aligned and guided by national priorities. These are also the cornerstones of our reform.
We also need, as it was mentioned, to boost finance for development ‑ mobilizing resources, skillsets and technologies.
I have always been very clear. All developed countries must meet the commitments they made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. We must continue to support developing countries in creating the conditions for mobilizing domestic resources, including through tax reform and other measures. And we must do more to improve their voice and participation in global economic governance.
In particular, at the same time, the international community must take much more effective steps to fight illicit flows of capital, money laundering and tax evasion, which continue to drain vital resources from the developing world. There is more money flowing from Africa into the North, because of these illicit flows of capital than the money that comes from the North to Africa in official development aid. This is something that is a universal obligation to tackle.
We also need to step up our efforts in developing innovative financing and mobilizing private investment. I organized a high-level meeting on Monday precisely on this subject - and have launched a strategy and road map for the next three years.
South-South cooperation is vital - but let us be clear ‑ South-South cooperation is not to replace North-South cooperation - or not to reduce the commitments and obligations of countries of the North. It is, yes, a tool to forge and enhance partnerships.
There is so much happening in the global South outside these walls ‑ and we will all benefit from bringing in these ideas and innovations.
I thank the Group of 77 and China for the leadership as a force for multilateralism that delivers for people. You can count on the support of the United Nations - and on my personal support - as we work to build sustainable, prosperous, inclusive societies that leave no one behind.