unctad.org | Chair of G77 and China in Geneva passes from Tanzania to Pakistan
Chair of G77 and China in Geneva passes from Tanzania to Pakistan
17 January 2018
G77 and China
UNCTAD Secretary-General marks the handover of the chairmanship of developing-country group with a renewed call to support multilateralism.

The chairmanship of the G77 and China in Geneva was handed from Tanzania to Pakistan at a ceremony hosted by UNCTAD at the Palais des Nations on 17 January with speakers declaring that unity in the face of threats to the multilateral system upheld by the United Nations was more important than ever.

Ambassador James Alex Msekela of Tanzania relinquished the chair to Ambassador Farukh Amil of Pakistan in the presence of UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and several other high-ranking UNCTAD officials.

Dr. Kituyi said that UNCTAD and the Group of 77 developing countries had been "born as conjoined twins" in 1964 at the time of the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development which sought to level the economic playing field between developed countries and developing countries of the global south.

He thanked the G77 and China, a group that now represents 134 developing countries, for "jealously protecting" UNCTAD's mandate through negotiations at its 14th ministerial conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

Dr. Kituyi added that collaboration between UNCTAD and the G77 and China was crucial as the world strove to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - in particular the "early harvest" of gains meant to be attained by 2020 such as a ban on harmful fishing subsidies and others.

Working in unison, Dr. Kituyi said, was vital in the face of "headwinds against multilateralism" where "vile language by certain persons put into question whether or not we are even reading from the same page" in pursuing development objectives through the multilateral system.

Mr. Msekela said: "The greatest strength and bargaining power of the Group of 77 and China lies in our ability to maintain and negotiate as a united front. As an outgoing chair I would like to urge the group to remain united and strong. We should not let issues within the group divide or break us. We must always present a united front."

Accepting the ceremonial gavel from Mr. Msekela, Mr. Amil pledged to continue his predecessor's work of "revitalizing" the group while praising UNCTAD for its focus on trade policy challenges facing developing countries in a changing world, such as the rise of e-commerce.

"We must face the continued imbalance with the [global] north with contemporary technology," Mr. Amil said.

Dr. Kituyi earlier announced a "high-level event" on the future of trade and the multilateral system that he plans to convene in February 2018 following the disappointing outcome of the World Trade Organization's 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aries, Argentina, in December 2017. Further details will be announced later.


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