Statement by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Luwellyn Landers at the General Debate of the G77 and China Extraordinary Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Sunday, 15 June 2014

Mr President;
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon;
President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe;
Distinguished delegates;

At the outset, let me express South Africa’s gratitude to President Evo Morales Ayma and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, as the Chair of the Group of 77 and China for the year 2014, for the hospitality in hosting this Extraordinary Summit to commemorate the 50thanniversary of the establishment of the Group. The efficient organization and hospitality extended to my delegation by our gracious hosts are truly befitting of this landmark Anniversary of our Group.

It is indeed an honour for us to be here today to commemorate this Anniversary. The birth of our Group 50 years ago was a bold attempt to galvanize the united strength of developing countries to assert our own developmental ideals. In spite of the immense economic and technological gains that have been made in the last half a century, the reality is that the world is no more secure a place for many of its inhabitants, as poverty and underdevelopment continues to plague developing countries.

The founding principles we advanced in Geneva in 1964 at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the raison d'être for the G77 thus remain as relevant and compelling as ever.

Mr President,

We are most grateful for the foresight of those who went before us who found it necessary to establish the G77, which has become such an effective mechanism for us to leverage our collective bargaining power across so many different negotiation tracks. As a result, we have accomplished so much, as sovereign equals and partners, working collectively through the multilateral system, to address our common and individual development challenges. Even so, there still remains much more to do in the promotion of the interests of developing countries.

A key achievement for South Africa is the invaluable contribution made by the G77 and China towards the defeat of apartheid, by ensuring that the UN General Assembly became a forum where it became clear that not only was apartheid untenable but also that it was a crime against humanity. As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, we are truly grateful to the G77 and China for the role that it played in successfully generating Resolutions and ensured that they were carried in the General Assembly that laid the path for the historic and peaceful transition in South Africa.

The G77 and China is the embodiment of South-South Cooperation. Some outside our Group are erroneously seeking to define South-South Cooperation according to their own terms.

In reality, South-South Cooperation is our own initiative and was never intended to be a substitute for the obligations and responsibilities of the North. In guarding against efforts to distort South-South Cooperation, South Africa remains committed to working with the Group to ensure that outside parties have no place in trying to regulate how we cooperate amongst ourselves.

Mr President,

In commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Group, we meet at a critical juncture when the international community is considering the United Nations development agenda which will frame our collective developmental aspirations beyond 2015 for our people to enjoy peace, sustainable development and prosperity. This is occurring as the world grapples with the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis. In addition, the adverse impact of climate change, amongst other fundamental global challenges, has made our environment, as developing countries, much more complex. On the one hand, these challenges threaten to reverse the development successes that some developing countries have achieved to date, while on the other, they offer new opportunities for some.

The consequences of the financial and economic meltdown have demonstrated that our development is an unqualified imperative. Over the last few years, developing countries have become the key drivers of global growth and our collective growth and development is having a significant impact on the global economy.

The key question which we need to answer is how best we should leverage our collective negotiating power to get the best possible outcome for our people in areas such as the post-2015 UN development agenda, on the one hand, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals process, on the other, in addition to climate change.

With regard to climate change, as developing countries, we must work together to ensure that we get from the Durban Platform on Enhanced Action what we need in the areas of adaptation and Means of Implementation, while developed countries provide leadership in accordance with the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities.”

The intergovernmental process on the post-2015 development agenda, beginning at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, will provide an opportunity for this Group to ensure that the global development agenda adequately reflects the needs of developing countries. We can only do this if we remain united in our endeavor. We must stand our ground and oppose any attempt to divide the Group and fragment our common and noble cause.

In our engagements on the post-2015 development agenda, it remains critical that developing countries insist that the post-2015 development agenda must of necessity - build on and address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals and draw on the commitments and obligations that have been made in international fora. Financing for development remains one such obligation.

Development is an absolute necessity for sustained global economic recovery. As developing countries continue to drive the global recovery, means of Implementation must be adequately addressed, based on the Rio Principles, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibilities.

Mr President,

In addition, we can never be at peace as developing countries, unless the UN Security Council has been reformed and we are assured that we have a meaningful voice on a meaningful platform on issues relating to peace and security.

Finally, I wish to conclude by stating that while we as developing countries reiterate that the primary responsibility for our development rests with ourselves, we must recall what was said in the outcome of this Group’s first Ministerial meeting, held in Algiers in 1967, namely that “In a world of increasing interdependence, peace, progress and freedom are common and indivisible. Consequently the development of developing countries will benefit the developed countries as well.” As the main drivers of the current global recovery, we can certainly attest to the wisdom and foresight of those who have gone before us!

I thank you.

For more information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974


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