The 50th Anniversary of the Group of 77 at the UN

Vol. LI No. 1 2014

Issue 1, 2014 celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77 at the United Nations, with a focus on the negotiations leading to the 15 June 1964 signing of the "Joint Declaration of Seventy-Seven Countries", as well as the Group of 77 role as a catalyst for international development.

As we mark half a century of engagement and achievement, let us recall the words of the Group’s first ministerial meeting, in Algiers in 1967, which still ring true today: “In a world of increasing interdependence, peace, progress and freedom are common and indivisible.

I see the Group of 77 as a symbol of the quest for and an essential element of the democratization of international relations, of the United Nations and of the UN system.

Since the First Ministerial meeting of the Group of 77 (G-77) held in Algeria in October 1967, and the adoption of the “Charter of Algiers”, the Group of 77 laid down the institutional mechanisms and structures that have contributed to shaping the international development agenda and changing the landscape of the global South for the past five decades.

The commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the G-77 is an opportunity for its member nations to assess the progress achieved through their joint action to redress the injustices and inequities of a world order crafted by powerful actors in the developed world to serve their own perceived self-interest.

G-77 at 50: not an age of retirement but of experience and wisdom to transform the world economy, for poor countries and people. Go ahead!

The Global South needs leaders of the standing, knowledge and, most of all, conviction of Julius K. Nyerere and Raul Prebisch and a major organization at the global level, which would give energy and impulse to the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement to confront common challenges in continuing their struggle for world peace, development and an equitable world economic and political order.

The 50 years of celebrations should be the starting point for a new phase, in which the G-77 plays a public role for the good of man and woman all over the world.

The immediate interests and specific negotiating priorities of many of its many members—the great number in itself makes it difficult to achieve consensus—are different from those of the others. The individual countries differ vastly from one another with respect to their cultural, ideological, political, and economic systems.

The UNDP report is correct—the Global South has begun to rise. What is in question, however, is which agenda from the South will be most able shift the suffocation of neo­liberalism for an alternative direction.

The CPA identifies a set of priority actions in the fields of trade, technology, food and agriculture, energy, raw materials, finance, industrialization and technical cooperation.

As G-77 is embedded in the United Nations, its impact and effectiveness and its achievements and failures have been largely dependent on the rise and fall and the success and failure of the United Nations.

The staying power of the United Nations is remarkable. For nearly 70 years, the UN's membership has grown rapidly after newly independent countries joined its ranks. It is encouraging too that no country has felt a strong enough urge to leave the organization in spite of its democratic deficiencies.

The unity of the Group of 77 was not founded on homogeneity of political systems or a single identity of economic interests. They were based on a shared and common perception of the inequitable nature of the then existing economic order, the unfair and unethical rules of the game and the necessity to change them.