Helen Clark: Statement for G77 Handover Ceremony

Jan 12, 2011

Statement by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, New York

I am pleased to represent UNDP at this ceremony to mark the handover of chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China from Yemen to Argentina.

Our sincere thanks go to H.E. Ambassador Abdullah Alsaidi and the Republic of Yemen for their able chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China throughout 2010. The Ambassador has steered the Group with great skill through an intensive year of international negotiations and achievements, with highlights being the MDG Summit in September, the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit, and the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun in December.

We extend our congratulations to Argentina and H.E. Ambassador Jorge Arguello on assuming the Chairmanship of the Group in 2011, and we offer our continuing commitment to work closely with the Group in advancing our common goals of poverty reduction and development.

The past year has witnessed renewed international commitment to global partnerships in addressing the challenges of our times.

At the MDG Summit last fall, Heads of State and Government again committed themselves to achieving the MDGs. The Summit Outcome Document set out an agenda for action over the next five years on the Goals.

A top priority for UNDP is to assist partner countries to translate the Summit agreement into concrete development results. 

The MDG Acceleration Framework which we developed is designed to support governments, UN Country Teams, and other partners to identify obstacles to MDG achievement and find solutions to accelerate progress. 

Application of the Framework, which is supported by the broader UN Development Group, ensures that Governments are able to draw on the full expertise of the UN system.

We piloted this Framework with partner governments and UN agencies in ten countries. That experience indicated that it is a valuable approach which can help speed up MDG achievement.
Climate change has emerged as a significant development challenge, requiring international agreement and action. The outcome of the Conference of Parties in Cancun in December was encouraging, and Member States are to be congratulated on reinvigorating the multilateral negotiating process.

As India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, stated in Cancun, “We have restored the confidence of the international community in this process and in multilateralism.  This Cancun outcome gives us the confidence to look ahead and take on climate change together.” 

The Cancun Agreements emphasise the very important relationship between development and climate change. 

Developing countries are seeking support to build their capacity to take and implement policy and investment decisions on low-carbon, climate-resilient strategies in ways which also advance poverty reduction and the MDGs.  As the capacity development organization working on human development, UNDP stands ready to accelerate its support in this area. 

Taking the Cancun Agreements forward will now require intense and focused work. Strong leadership and commitment from the Group of 77 and China will be an indispensable part of that effort. Argentina brings to the Chair its experience of leading the Group on the issue of technology transfer within the UNFCCC climate process. 

On both MDG achievement and advancing sustainable development generally, South-South exchange of knowledge and lessons learned is vital for success. 

The promotion of South-South cooperation has been an integral part of UNDP’s work for many years, including in our role as host of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.

We will continue to look for new ways to maximize the full potential of South-South cooperation. In doing so, some of our critical considerations will be:

  • how South-South cooperation can help accelerate progress on the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals;
  • how to leverage the growing intra-South flows of trade, finance, and knowledge, and to work with developing countries to enhance the developmental impact of those flows, and
  • how to draw on the experience of successful developmental outcomes for the benefit of others.

We are taking our engagement with South-South contributors to a new level, by reaching out to major emerging economies which are active in development cooperation, and looking for synergies between their work and our work and mandate. Last year we signed partnership agreements with both Brazil and China, and are beginning a new level of engagement with these countries. More such agreements are expected.

An important event for us all this year will be the Fourth Conference on Least Developed Countries, to take place in Istanbul in May.

The MDG Summit outcome document expressed concern that LDCs are lagging behind in meeting the MDGs, and acknowledged the specific challenges and structural barriers which LDCs face.

It will be important for the LDC Conference to build on the momentum of the MDG Summit and foster the partnerships needed to address the special needs and concerns of LDCs. 

UNDP fully recognizes the important role that the Group of 77 and China play in the United Nations system. We look forward to working with the Group in the year ahead.

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