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Chair of G77 and China in Geneva passes from Tanzania to Cambodia

25 January 2024

Facing multiple and cascading crises, the world needs a strong and unified voice from the Global South more than ever, UNCTAD chief Rebeca Grynspan says at the handover ceremony.

© UNCTAD Photo | UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan (left) with Ambassador Abdallah Saleh Possi of Tanzania (middle) and Ambassador Prasith Suon of Cambodia at the handover ceremony at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

On 25 January, Cambodia succeeded Tanzania in assuming the chairmanship of the Geneva Chapter of the Group of G77 and China.

The bloc, a coalition of 135 developing nations, has several permanent institutional structures at the UN, across Geneva, Nairobi, Paris, Rome and Vienna.

“It is encouraging to witness two least developed countries pass the heavy and solemn torch of this group, at a time where countries at the frontlines of development face multiple and cascading crises – including debt, drought, war, trade disruption, and rising poverty and hunger,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan told diplomats in attendance.

The UN has estimated that 3.3 billion people currently live in countries – mostly developing ones – that spend more on debt repayments than on health or education.

Twin anniversaries, shared ideals

2024 will mark 60 years since the creation of UNCTAD and the G77 and China, both strong advocates for the developing world on the global stage.

Six decades on, the Global South has emerged a much stronger force, representing around 58% of world economic output in purchasing power parity, with South-South trade accounting for about one third of all trade.

But by most measures, developing countries still risk lagging behind, putting at stake the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which in essence are about leaving no one behind.

To change course, the world needs a more just international order. Dialogue between member states, particularly among the Global South, is key to tackling the many crises facing today’s world.

“Let us all pledge our unwavering support and cooperation to the new chair of the Group of 77 and China,” Ms. Grynspan said in closing.

“Together, we can forge a future that is prosperous, just, and inclusive for all.”