Thailand officially commenced its tenure as Chair of the Group of 77 (G-77), taking over from South Africa during a special ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.
Thailand announced the theme ‘From Vision to Action: Inclusive Partnership for Sustainable Development,' to be used as an underpinning principle during its chairmanship.
12 January 2016: Thailand officially commenced its tenure as Chair of the Group of 77 (G-77), taking over from South Africa during a special ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York. Thailand announced the theme ‘From Vision to Action: Inclusive Partnership for Sustainable Development,’ to be used as an underpinning principle during its chairmanship.
The G-77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries at the UN. It seeks to provide the means for developing countries to “articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues” within the UN system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.
Extending his “deep thanks” to South Africa for its stewardship as the Chair of the Group in 2015, and welcoming Thailand’s chairmanship, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted “strategic opportunities” in 2016 to chart the implementation of the agreements reached in 2015, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In this regard, he outlined: the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July 2016 that will discuss the follow-up and review processes to bolster implementation of the 2030 Agenda; the inaugural Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Financing for Development Forum; the first Multistakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation; the ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum (DCF); the Paris agreement signing ceremony in New York on 22 April 2016; and the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) of UN operational activities for development.
Kairat Addrakhmanov, Acting President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), expressed hope that 2016 will: kickstart implementation of the agreements reached into 2015; translate their goals into action on the ground; and address other challenges facing the international community, such as ongoing conflicts, violent extremism and the global refugee and humanitarian crisis. He also noted that 2016 will involve the selection and appointment of the next UN Secretary General.
Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Thailand, said Thailand is “well aware” of the challenges related to implementing and following-up on the agreements reached in 2015 but they are not “insurmountable,” and Thailand will push for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and AAAA. Among priority issues for the Group, he noted: further promoting South-South cooperation; building resilience in response to the impact of climate change and reducing the risks of disasters in an effective and timely manner; and further strengthening coordination and collaboration between the different “chapters” of the G-77 to ensure that interests and concerns are comprehensively addressed in a well-coordinated manner.
Pramudwinai announced a special contribution of US$520,000 to the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation to support the Group’s economic and technical cooperation activities. He also announced a series of upcoming events, including: an experts’ meeting and a high-level thematic meeting on the “Sufficiency Economy,” a model for sustainable development focused on transforming the economics of exploitation into the economics of moderation and resilience; a High-level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South, hosted by Thailand in March 2016, to explore how to further strengthen South-South Cooperation; and expert meetings on information and communications technology (ICT) and on investment to explore ways and means of enhancing cooperation in these areas.
Luwellyn Landers, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, highlighted the G-77 and China’s “immense contribution” to recent processes, nothing that “there would not have been a Paris Agreement” without the G-77/China’s “highly constructive contributions on both substance and process.” He also recalled: reflection of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), the reference to the right to development, and removing obstacles to the full realization of the right of self-determination of people living under colonial and foreign occupation, in the 2030 Agenda.
He urged the Group to ensure that its objectives are reemphasized in the AAAA, such as the enhanced global partnership for development, the need to further strengthen international commitments towards financing for development, and the full and timely implementation of existing commitments. [UN Secretary-General Statement] [Acting UNGA President Statement] [Thailand Statement] [South Africa Statement] [Thailand Press Release] [G-77 Website]