Ambassador Miguel Carbo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a singular honour for me to to speak on behalf of UNCTAD on this solemn occasion.
Congratulations Ambassador Miguel Carbo for your able leadership during the past year, which saw notably the finalization of the strategic framework for the next biennium and the modalities of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of UNCTAD and the Group of 77 and China. Your work has undoubtedly laid a firm foundation for what promises to be a crucial year for UNCTAD and the broader development community, when we both celebrate the 50th anniversary of our establishment.
Ambassador Carbo is the first G77 Chairman with whom I've had the privilege to work. In the relatively short period since I became the head of UNCTAD, I have watched with admiration Ambassador Carbo skillfully represent the interests of the G77 while helping advance a positive agenda of all the members. I firmly believe that Ambassador Abbas will continue to ensure that the voice of developing countries will be heard in the United Nations and around the world, as the global community focuses its attention on the articulation of the post-2015 development agenda.
Ambassador Abbas, your work is cut out for you. At the G-77 ministerial in Doha, it was agreed that to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the G-77 and UNCTAD, a series of discourses in the early part of 2014, focusing on development shall be launched, bringing together leaders and intellectuals from the South. This may prove to be another opportunity for the G77 under the leadership of Ambassador Abbas to hone its focus and contribute to the intellectual discourse.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as we pay our tribute to Ambassador Carbo and welcome Ambassador Abbas, allow me to highlight some key priorities for 2014. Much of the important work of the year requires the continued strong involvement and support of the G77.
As we commemorate our 50th birthday, UNCTAD with the engagement of the membership will carry out a series of activities that profile our colorful past and project the future. Most of our efforts will contribute towards the global debate on the post-2015 development agenda. Since coming into office, I have consulted the permanent representatives of many Geneva-based delegations, and many of you expressed the desire for UNCTAD to make a greater contribution to this process. To this end, I have engaged in New York the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on the role of trade in the Post-2015 agenda.
As you are aware, I launched the first session of the Geneva informal Dialogue on 29 November. I want to thank you all for the strong support you have indicated to this initiative. I sincerely hope that this series of Dialogues will provide a valuable platform for a frank and open exchange of ideas, which will further our understanding of some of the fundamental questions with regard to development strategies and the role of trade therein.
I am pleased to announce the next dialogue which I will convene on 28 March 2014 to provide an opportunity to discuss the nexus between the Bali Conference and the Post-2015 "Sustainable Development Agenda. I look forward to your stimulating participation in the lead up to and during the event.
I will in due course begin the process of informally speaking with you and your fellow ambassadors from other groups to gather views for the next UNCTAD Ministerial Conference. That conference will represent a milestone in the history of UNCTAD, coming as it does immediately after the 2015 summit. In many ways, it will contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and indeed may help to shape the global economic system of the second half of this century towards prosperity for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, half a century ago, the Group of 77 and China was created at the end of UNCTAD to give the countries of the South the opportunity to voice and promote their collective economic interests. Over the past 50 years, G77 has no doubt made its impact felt, and I firmly believe that it will continue to have a significant impact in the decades to come.
As the G77 coordinator, Ambassador Carbo had a great responsibility which he fulfilled admirably. I would like to take once again this opportunity to congratulate him for a job well done. At the same time, I wish to extend my best wishes to Ambassador Abbas for a successful tenure and pledge the full support of UNCTAD.