Guterres Highlights Reforms, Progress Opportunities at G-77 Ceremony
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The Group of 77, an organization of 134 developing countries, was chaired by Egypt in 2018, with the Chair passing to Palestine in January 2019.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted several reforms that took effect in January 2019, and noted several events being planned for September 2019 as important opportunities for progress.

Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, as Chair of the G-77 for 2019, outlined the Group's top priorities for the year.

15 January 2019: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted several reforms that took effect in January 2019, in remarks at the handover of the Group of 77 (G-77) Chairship. He also noted several events being planned for September 2019 as important opportunities for progress. Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, as Chair of the G-77 for 2019, outlined the Group’s top priorities for the year.

The Group of 77, an organization of 134 developing countries, was chaired by Egypt in 2018, with the Chair passing to Palestine in January 2019. The Chair rotates on a regional basis each year. A ceremony to mark the handover took place at UN headquarters in New York, US, on 15 January 2019.

Addressing the G-77 at the handover ceremony, the Secretary-General recalled that on 1 January, the UN launched four new departments. As detailed in a briefing to UN Member States on 27 November 2018, these are the: Department of Political and Peacekeeping Affairs; Department of Peace Operations; Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance; and Department of Operational Support. Other elements of the reform in the peace and security pillar, as well as to UN management (including a “major decentralization” of authority) and the UN development system (including the moving of the Resident Coordinator system into the Secretariat) are detailed in a SDG Knowledge Hub policy brief.

In his 15 January remarks to the G-77, Guterres also pointed to the high-level events convening in September 2019, stressing their importance for generating needed resources. He said “we are not doing enough” to secure the “policies, the resources and the political engagement needed” to ramp up action, and the UNGA-convened HLPF session (24-25 September) is a chance to consider ways to secure these. The high-level dialogue on financing for development (26 September) also will provide insights and solutions to “scale up the quality and quantity of investment in sustainable development.” Regarding people and countries at greatest risk of being left behind, he said the UNGA’s high-level meetings on universal health coverage (23 September) and small island developing States (SIDS) (27 September) will support progress on the SDGs. He also urged G-77 members to come to the climate summit (23 September) with “solutions and commitments to greater action.”

As he took over the role of Chair, Abbas said the Group will continue to pursue South-South cooperation, implementation of the 2030 Agenda and financing for development, also stressing the importance of North-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. Noting the commitment to “leave no one behind,” he highlighted the upcoming second UN High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation convening in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March 2019.

Abbas said the 2030 Agenda will be at the top of the G-77’s priorities throughout this year. He said sustainable development and community building represent a “long-term investment in peacebuilding” by strengthening the world’s immunity to crises, disasters, conflicts and wars. He called for increased resources in support of: eliminating poverty and hunger; addressing the digital gap; providing decent work; advancing sustainable development; ensuring justice; eliminating child labor, slavery and human trafficking; and ensuring a just distribution of economic prosperity and growth for women and youth.

Abbas said climate change also will be at the top of the priorities of the Palestinian chairship of the Group, notwithstanding the fact that the Group’s members are less responsible for emissions and pollution than others. [G-77 Website] [Meeting Webcast]


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