Address by the Chairperson of the Group of 77 and China, President Thabo Mbeki at the XIV Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Havana, Cuba 14 September 2006

Your Majesties,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies, Ministers, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

This important gathering of the nations of the South takes place at the home of one of the giants of this Movement, Fidel Castro, whom all of us wish a speedy recovery from his illness so that together with this assembled leadership he can continue to offer his wisdom to the NAM as it faces both new and old challenges confronting the majority of humanity.

On behalf of the Group of 77 and China, I thank the government and people of the Republic of Cuba for being hospitable as always and making us feel that we are attending this important XIV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement at our own collective home.

Your Excellencies, I would like to take advantage of this important Summit of the NAM to reiterate the commitment of the G77 and China, within the context of its mandate, to address the economic challenges facing all member-states of both the NAM and the G77 and China, especially in the light of the failure of the Doha Development Round and the continuing marginalisation of large parts of the developing world by the processes of globalisation.

Throughout its existence, the NAM has always been a movement of the people driven by the passionate determination to wrestle the fate of their own destiny from the hands of those who falsely believed that their long-term prosperity, stability and security is predicated on the perpetual marginalisation, exploitation and underdevelopment of the majority of the human race.

Accordingly, there are several important matters that unite the majority of the human race who populate the countries of the South and whose distinguished delegates have gathered at this Summit.

One of these important issues that unite our people and which is central to the deliberations of this Summit as well as any other gathering that discusses the fate of all of humanity is the question whether, as a collective, our efforts are sufficient to accelerate the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits - outcomes that are critical to the development of the lives of billions of people we represent.

Indeed, these billions of our people, the majority of whom live the life of poverty and wretchedness, are united that we, their representatives, should work better, harder and perhaps smarter to ensure that there is implementation of the commitments for more resources for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Of course, they understand that many of our developing countries are today experiencing difficulties to meet the Millennium Development Goals, especially those from the African continent, precisely because of the failure of the rich to transfer adequate resources to the needy countries of the South.

These billions, on whose mandate we participate in this Summit, believe that with better focus, enhanced coordination, increased utilisation of our collective strength as well as better monitoring mechanisms to ensure that agreed decisions are implemented, it is possible to change their living conditions for the better.

These masses of our people always urge us to speak with a unified voice and act together to ensure that the developed North do indeed transfer resources to the developing South. They know, as we do, that without these resource transfers the vision of a better life will forever remain a mirage.

Your Excellencies,

Today, the unilateral actions of big power interventions without regard to the sovereignty and integrity of weaker states is cutting across all continents and affecting all nations.

As a result, the people of the South, organised under the NAM as well as its sister organisation, the G77 and China, have expressed strong support for a UN reform process whose outcome would be a stronger and a more effective UN. The outcome of this reform process would be the strengthening of multilateralism as well as increased capacity of the UN so as to better respond to the contemporary requirements of Member States.

This would be a UN that is able to give the necessary attention to the implementation of development priorities and the defence of the sovereignty and integrity of our countries.

Clearly, the billions of people that we represent want us to ensure that whatever we are doing, within the NAM and within the UN we should, at all times guarantee them peace, security and stability.

As the NAM confronts all these and other challenges, the central task facing all of us is to strengthen South-South cooperation, especially with regard to maintaining the relevance of the organisations and groupings of the South. These various organisations, armed with specific mandates and occupying different political, economic and cultural spaces, are important in our all-round struggles against poverty, underdevelopment, unfair trade and political and socio-economic exclusion and marginalisation.

Indeed, as Your Excellencies know, the strengthening of South-South cooperation has helped create a stronger voice for the developing countries in multilateral forums.

Undoubtedly, this South-South cooperation is an important means through which to empower ourselves, to help each other access modern technologies and move our nations away from underdevelopment into development.

Your Excellencies, the G77 and China remains committed to a close working relationship with the NAM, utilising among others, the existing structures such as the Joint Co-ordinating Committee as well as co-ordinating our joint action at various UN Centres, especially with regard to the on-going process of fundamental reforms of the UN system as well as the Bretton Woods Institutions.

Together, united on behalf of the billions of our people, we have the ability to help change the world such that all of humanity can live a better, fulfilling and prosperous life. I wish you a very successful Summit.

Thank you.

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