Press Releases

         1 October 2004

    Secretary-General, Addressing Group of 77 Ministers, Hails Body’s Continuing Role in Face of Stubborn Challenges

    He Calls for Global Partnership for Development in Common Objective of Achieving Millennium Development Goals

    NEW YORK, 30 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks at the twenty-eighth annual meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77, as delivered in New York, today, 30 September:

    I am delighted to join you for this meeting in the 40th anniversary year of the Group of 77.

    Forty years after its creation, the Group of 77 continues to play an important role in defending and promoting the interests of developing countries, and in moving forward the global development dialogue.

    But, as you know better than anyone, stubborn challenges remain.

    As world leaders reminded us last week, with the current levels of technological progress and agricultural production, the persistence of extreme poverty and hunger is economically unnecessary and politically unacceptable.

    We cannot blame hunger and poverty on issues of money, technology or geography. What is needed is political will, courage and the conviction that what we can achieve by working together is far greater than what can be done alone.

    You meet today amid indications that the pace of global economic recovery is still subject to considerable downside risks.

    At the same time, the sources and incidence of growth remain unequally distributed around the globe.

    But we also have a blueprint to rally us together and chart the way forward, in the form of the Millennium Development Goals drawn from the Millennium Declaration -- agreed by all the world’s Governments as a blueprint for building a better world in the 21st century.

    Already, these eight goals have contributed to transforming the work of global development cooperation. The broad consensus around a set of clear, measurable and time-bound targets has generated unprecedented and coordinated action.

    Next year will be a significant test of our resolve, with the General Assembly’s first comprehensive review of the Millennium Declaration. Please be assured that your concerns will be high on the agenda.

    Your engagement in the review process is essential -- to achieve a mobilization in the broadest sense, and to ensure the most effective follow-up possible.

    How we fare in reaching the Millennium Development Goals will depend to a great extent on how we do on goal eight -- forging a global partnership for development. The eight goals represent a deal between developing and developed countries.

    Even though the wealthiest, most powerful countries have some way to go in fulfilling their commitments, there have been some steps forward. An important one was the recent agreement of the World Trade Organization to negotiate a package of frameworks in key areas for developing countries, and to reinforce the development dimension of the Doha work programme.

    You have rightly articulated concerns about the lack of developing country participation in decision-making in key international bodies. Those are legitimate concerns. But developing countries themselves can and must do more.

    By working for more transparent and accountable governance, reforming policies, investing more in education and health, and by acting to stamp out corruption, you can demonstrate that you are holding up your end of the deal.

    By integrating global goals into your policies, plans and budgets, by claiming ownership at the national level and investing the commensurate resources, and by enhancing South-South cooperation, you can help ensure that Millennium Development Goals will translate into real benefits for the poor.

    This 59th General Assembly offers important opportunities. You will be discussing alternative sources of financing for development, and ways to reduce the gap between resources needed and resources available.

    You will look at new ways to promote policy and institutional coherence at the national, regional and global levels.

    And you will consider how we can better coordinate our work in peace and security, humanitarian affairs and development. That work is crucial to our organization.

    Increasingly, the credibility of the UN will depend on its capacity to provide effective and long term responses to complex crisis situations, involving armed conflict, humanitarian disasters and poverty.

    We need to ensure that development is accompanied by equity and justice with equal opportunities for all, so that differences between groups and within society do not lead to conflicts.

    We need to adapt our working methods accordingly, to ensure viable transitions from emergency relief to development and reconstruction, based on a comprehensive approach to peace and stability.

    There have been promising efforts in the right direction. But further work is needed. I look to your Group to provide positive input in that process.

    Beyond this General Assembly session, you are also preparing for the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States. The issues to be addressed there are central to the future well-being of their peoples -- from climate change and the rising sea levels to the spread of HIV/AIDS and the need for better trading opportunities.

    These are all issues that we need to address together if we are to make the Millennium Declaration a reality. I thank you all for your commitment, and I wish you a most productive meeting.

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