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Pakistan hands over presidency of Group of 77 & China to Cuba

ISLAMABAD, JAN 13 (DNA) — Pakistan has handed over the presidency of the Group of 77 and China to the Republic of Cuba. Speaking on the occasion via a pre-recorded message, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the Group of 77 and China has been instrumental in maintaining development at the heart of the United Nations and focus of development partners towards the triple crises faced by the developing countries owing to Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and climate change.

 

“It is my honour today to transfer the Chair of the Group of 77 and China to my dear friend, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla of Cuba,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a video address from Islamabad to the 134-member group, the largest at the United Nations.

 

After FM Bilawal’s address, Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, handed over the gravel to the Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez Parilla to a resounding applause from the delegates to the meeting, held in the Trusteeship Council.

 

Upon taking over as chairman, the Cuban foreign minister praised Pakistan’s “laudable” leadership of the Group of 77 during the year 2022. A founding member of G-77, which promotes the developing countries’ collective economic interests at the UN, Pakistan took over the chairmanship of G-77 from Guinea on January 14, 2022.

 

Under Pakistan’s chairmanship, the Group has been instrumental in maintaining development at the heart of the United Nations and focus of development partners towards the crises faced by the developing countries due to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, growing impacts of climate change, economic imbalances and rising debt distress, commodity price shocks and food insecurity, and persistent fragility and conflict — with the war in Ukraine currently exacerbating many deteriorating trends.

 

In his address, Foreign Minister Bilawal said Pakistan has had the privilege to chair the Group of 77 and China three times in the past. However, he added, leading the Group in 2022, as “our nations collectively confronted the ‘perfect storm’ of the multiple external shocks of Covid, climate and conflict, was especially challenging and, yet, rewarding”.

 

“Our Group responded to the ‘poly-crises’ of food, fuel and finance facing developing countries with a collective vision, determination and unity.” He said the Group has led the way in formulating and securing agreement on the urgent and systemic responses required to overcome these multiple challenges:

 

— At the Financing for Development Forum, in April, the Group secured an agreement on measures for financing recovery from the crises and achieving the SDGs; — At the High-Level Political Forum, last July, the Group collectively negotiated the means of implementation for achieving the SDGs in the current difficult “decade of action”;

 

— At the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Group was able to secure consensus for action on major economic, financial, development and environmental issues; — At CoP-27, through our mutual and collective endeavours, the Group was able to achieve a historic decision for the establishment of the “loss and damage” fund; and,

 

— At the Ministerial Conference of our Group last month, an Outcome Document was agreed upon setting out our positions on the immediate and structural measures that are essential to alleviate the food, fuel and financial crises confronting our countries and to reform the global economic architecture in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implement Agenda 2030 and the Paris and other environmental agreements.

 

“These demonstrations of the unity of the Group and its capacity for collective action are a clear signal that, acting together, we can achieve the decisions required to overcome the challenges to our development and prosperity which arise from external impacts and an unequal international economic system, FM Bilawal said.

 

To this end, he added, the Group must maintain its unity, coordination and collective action. It must secure implementation of the positions the Group has set out in the Outcome Document adopted last month, including at the SDG Summit, at CoP28 and in several other processes and meetings scheduled in 2023.

 

Some of the actions the group have proposed need to be urgently implemented, FM Bilawal said, are: — Debt relief and restructuring for the 60 Members of our Group who are in debt “distress”;

— Rechannelling of unutilized SDRs to provide fiscal space and liquidity as needed by over 100 developing countries;

 

— Food supplies to the 250 million living in hunger; — Generous financial and other assistance to the countries most vulnerable to climate change to enable them to rebuild from natural disasters and to adapt to the ever more frequent and more ferocious climate impacts.

 

— Such action is all the more urgent and essential since the external economic environment could become even more hostile if the Central Banks of the major economies continue to raise interest rates; if great power rivalries further constrain trade and investment flows; and if the global economy falls into an extended recession.

 

Pakistan, he said, was confident that the Group of 77 and China has the capacity to collectively confront and overcome the mounting external economic challenges and promote a more just and equitable international economic order. “Our unity is, of course, our greatest asset,” FM Bilawal said. “This was on full display at Cop 27.”

 

“I am confident that in 2023, under Cuba’s able leadership and the guidance of Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla and the Cuban delegation, the Group of 77 and China will respond actively and boldly to our imposing challenges and grasp all available opportunities to advance our common objectives of achieving the SDGs and environmental goals.”

 

On its part, he said, Pakistan will extend its full cooperation in this endeavour and will continue to play an active and positive role as a member of the Group of 77 and China. = DNA






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