GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday January 17, 2020 – Guyana now chairs the largest United Nations (UN) coalition of countries.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo officially took over the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China on Wednesday, identifying the challenges of climate change, hunger, disease and poverty among areas that are likely to test the core of the group, a coalition of 135 developing nations which is designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN.
“The international situation gives increasing cause for concern. Notwithstanding the Paris Agreement and SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], many developing countries continue to grapple with the plethora of grave challenges, with the respect of the ravages caused by climate change, poverty, hunger and disease,” Nagamootoo said as he called the session to order as its official Chair.
“There is a deepening trust deficit in multilateralism as well as inadequate means of its implementation, including financing, trade, technology transfer and capacity building. On the other hand, the year 2020 is already full of significant undertakings and challenges that will test the mettle of the G77.”
The Guyana Prime Minister said nothing short of a strong, credible and focused G77 will enable the group to equal the demands of the times.
“For this reason, it is to these core imperatives of working for a strong, credible and focused G-77, to which our energies as Chair will be dedicated. We envisage that during 2020, we can preserve and enhance the image and character of our Group as the largest negotiating bloc within the United Nations,” he said.
Guyana succeeds Palestine as chair of the group and Nagamootoo paid tribute to that country’s “historic and heartening work…in 2019”.
“Guyana has been deeply impressed by the great dedication and commitment to service demonstrated by Palestine in discharging its responsibilities even in the midst of greatly challenging national circumstances,” he said.
The CARICOM nation’s Chairmanship of the G77 for 2020 has received full support from member countries even as Venezuela accused Palestine of breaching procedures in advancing Guyana’s candidacy.
Groups from Latin and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific have all endorsed Guyana’s Chairmanship and pledged their support. India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina and Lebanon have also sounded their support.
H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly congratulated Guyana on assuming the Chairmanship: “Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for its election as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, and look forward to continue engaging with the newly elected chair and members the group throughout the resumed session….Guyana’s leadership will be critical to preserving and advancing the interest of the G77 and China and progressing all elements of the development agenda.”
Congratulations were also forthcoming from UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who said Guyana could be assured of the continued support of his Secretariat and office.
As Palestine handed over the chairmanship to Guyana, Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Riyad al-Malki expressed his confidence in Guyana’s ability to chair the G77 and China group.
“The State of Palestine received the baton from Egypt and today passes the baton to Guyana, embodying the uninterrupted chain of a joint endeavour that started 55 years ago and that is more relevant today than ever,” al-Malki said.