Helen Clark: Statement on the occasion of the G77 Handover Ceremony

22 Jan 2010

Deputy Secretary-General,
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Yemen,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to represent UNDP here at this ceremony to mark the handover of the Chair of the Group of 77 and China for 2010.

I would like to thank H.E. Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad and the Republic of the Sudan for their chairmanship in 2009.  I know Ambassador Mohamad will continue to be personally committed to and engaged in the Group’s work.

On the Ambassador’s watch, the Group of 77 and China played a central role in the many global negotiations on critical issues.  As Ambassador Mohamad said, 2009 was an exceptionally challenging year.

Can I now extend UNDP’s congratulations to H.E. Ambassador Abdullah Alsaidi and the Republic Yemen, as they take on the role of Chair of the Group of 77 and China for 2010.  The Group will certainly benefit from His Excellency’s great experience on the very wide range of international issues on which the group engages.

UNDP will be happy to assist Ambassador Alsaidi to advance the goals and objectives of the Group towards real and sustainable development gains.

Your Excellencies

Our world has struggled to recover from concurrent global crises in recent times, from the global recession, to food and fuel price volatility, climate-related disasters, and now the influenza pandemic.  The cumulative effect of these crises has threatened to undo some of the important gains in the fight against poverty.

Hundreds of millions of people across the global South remain trapped in circumstances of abject poverty, hunger, and disease.

Yet, there are many positive signals too.

Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in line with the MDG targets, and there has been significant progress on a number of the other specific goals too.

As well, the rise and rise of the emerging economies is reconfiguring global geopolitics, and transforming the scope for South-South co-operation.

South-South solidarity has gained considerable momentum, as groups of countries collectively embark on deeper and wider co-operation.  We see this in recent agreements and treaties signed among the member states of ASEAN, the East African Community, and Mercosur, among others. 

The majority of Southern countries have now moved into middle income status. 

This is a tremendous accomplishment.  It is further evidenced by the rapid rebound of a number of emerging economies from the global recession.  The largest developing country stock markets have recently shown double-digit percentage growth.  Brazil’s stock market experienced a 55 per cent downswing in the last three months of 2008, but had rebounded by 142 per cent by the end of 2009.

UNDP seeks to strengthen capacities and support the aspirations and priorities of developing countries themselves.   We are working actively on how to enhance the support we give to South-South co-operation through strategic partnerships.

In September this year, the General Assembly will hold a High-level Meeting in New York on the MDGs a decade on from their launch.   

This Summit will be a major opportunity to galvanize not only renewed commitments to reach the goals, but also concrete actions and results. 

UNDP and the other funds, programmes, and agencies in the  UN Development Group, will be working closely with development partners around the world to build political momentum for the Summit and for achieving the Goals.

We look to the strong leadership and commitment of the Group of 77 and China in the preparation processes, and anticipate working closely with the Group and all Member States to ensure a successful outcome.

It was my privilege to join members of the Group in Kenya at the UN Conference on South-South Co-operation and to hear directly your vision and aspirations for the UN system’s role in promoting and strengthening South-South co-operation. 

In Nairobi we heard your call for further enhancement of capacities among developing countries to formulate co-operation programmes, to strengthen regional and sub-regional organizations, and to conduct research on where support for South-South co-operation will have the greatest impact. 

The Nairobi Outcome Document established a template for future work and reinforced the common resolve to realize fully the potential of South-South co-operation.

UNDP, with the support of the Special Unit for South-South Co-operation, stands ready to partner with you to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience across the South.

This is a priority for me as UNDP Administrator and as Chair of the UN Development Group.  

Thank you.