14 December 2001
Opening remarks by Ambassador Bagher Asadi Chairman of the Group of 77 (Islamic Republic of Iran) at the Meeting of the Group of 77 of the Whole (at the ambassadorial level) New York, 14 December 2001
In the name of God the Compassionate the MercifulDear Colleagues,
Having adopted the meeting’s agenda, let me now turn to agenda item 2: Follow-up and implementation of the South Summit outcome, under which you find four sub-items. These sub-items are all inter-related. They all pertain to a matter so close to our heart, individually and collectively. The first three sub-items revolve around the work of the ad-hoc open-ended Working Group of the Group of 77. The last, also unique in its importance, addresses another critical aspect of the Havana outcome. I start with the progress report on the work of the Ad-hoc open-ended Working Group of the Group of 77. As you recall vividly, just four weeks ago, the Ministerial Declaration of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 was adopted. Paragraph 45 of the Declaration called for the presentation of a report by the Chairman on the work of the ad-hoc open-ended Working Group of the Group of 77. All of us know the full history of the establishment of the Working Group back in September 2000 and its mandate as stipulated in paragraph 5 of the Ministerial Statement of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77. The Group in its entirety has been kept informed on the full range of activities of the Working Group since the beginning of this year. And as you remember, I presented a report in this regard to the 13th Annual Meeting of the Senior Officials of the Group of 77 on 15 November 2001. In the report submitted to the Senior Officials’ Meeting, emphasis was on the status of the implementation process of the programme of activities for the year 2001 – which was adopted by the Group on 9 April 2001. Since we addressed and dealt with the content of the status report at the Senior Officials meeting and subsequently at the Ministerial Meeting, I do not deem it necessary to provide any further elaboration here today. You have since had the status report at your disposal. Instead, I may simply suffice to add that the programme of activities for this year can be considered a very good outcome of the work of the Working Group in partial fulfillment of its mandate. Implementation of the agreed programme of activities, judging from the status report, is positive and encouraging. The status report clearly exemplifies the importance we attach – in fact, we must attach – to the active, dynamic and effective follow-up and implementation of the final outcome of the Havana South Summit. This brings me to the future work of the Working Group. The precedent already established with regard to the preparation of annual programme of activities is, in my view, a very solid foundation for the work of the Working Group in the years to come, including for the year 2002. Even a cursory look at the provisions of the Havana Programme of Action indicates that there exists a whole wide range of activities that we have agreed in Havana – at the highest political level – to undertake in the areas of priority established in that valuable, historic document. Hence, it is my considered view that the Working Group should continue its work in this regard and prepare the annual programme of activities as early in the year as possible. The experience we have gained thus far would certainly help our future endeavours.
Let me now turn to another aspect of the mandate of the ad-hoc open-ended Working Group; that is, as regards the proposals contained in the reports of the five Heads of State and Government. You would recall that I dealt with this aspect in the course of our meeting in early March this year and for which you have the Chairman’s Summary. And all of us also remember the detailed discussions we had in our meeting of 25 May 2001 in anticipation of the meeting that was to take place in Jakarta later in the month – for which you have also received the Chairman’s report. So, the tally is clear and we all know the substance of the subject matter at hand, as well as all the nuances and parameters involved, including the views of the mainstream of the Group. As members of the Group of 77 we are all aware that the five Honourable Heads of State and Government – the Implementation Group – have completed the preparation of the final version of the report entrusted to them by the Second Decision of the Other Decisions of the Havana Summit. In paragraph 44 of the recently adopted Ministerial Declaration we have already expressed our appreciation to the Implementation Group for the conclusion of its work.Paragraph 45 of the same Declaration requests that the ad-hoc open-ended Working Group carry out its mandate which, as established in paragraph 5 of the Ministerial Statement last year, “includes preparation of recommendations on the operationalization of all decisions of the Summit as well as on the proposals contained in the present and final versions of the report of the five Heads of State and Government”. This aspect of the Working Group’s mandate has not been fulfilled yet, simply because the final version of the report was not available despite the fact that the six-month mandate of the Implementation Group had expired in early 2001. However, now that the final version of the report is completed and forwarded, through the letter dated 18 September 2001 of Honourable President Obasanjo of Nigeria, to the Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77, the Working Group of the Group of 77 is finally in a position to undertake the implementation of its mandate in this particular regard. Members of the Group of 77, as I am informed, are also aware of the observations made by one of the Honourable members of the Group of Five with respect to the content of the report and the advisability of its further pursual. Finally, I turn to the last sub-item; that is, strengthening of the G-77 institutional capacity. As colleagues remember, paragraph 1 of Section VI – Institutional Follow-up of the Havana Programme of Action – called on the Group of 77 to “adopt a more structured arrangement for managing the affairs of the Group” and to that end, decided to “strengthen the existing arrangement of the Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York,… aiming at upgrading the current structures of the Office of the Chairman into a compact executive secretariat”. Paragraph 5 of the same Section also called for consideration of ways and means to improve coordination mechanisms among the G-77 Chapters.The matter was pursued at the twenty-eighth meeting of the Chairmen/Coordinators of the G-77 Chapters in June 2000 in Geneva and an advisory team was constituted in Geneva to recommend proposals on the implementation of the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 5 of the said Section. The advisory team subsequently met a number of times in Geneva and New York and presented a report to the Chairman, which was in turn submitted to the thirtieth meeting of the Chairmen/Coordinators of the G-77 Chapters in mid-March 2001 in Geneva. As per paragraph 3 of the Final Communique of that meeting, contained in the General Assembly document A/55/847 of 22 March 2001, the report was considered and its recommendations welcomed. It was expected that various Chapters would subsequently provide additional comments and information before the report could be taken up for consideration, endorsement and execution. With this background on this matter, I believe the Group of 77 should now be in a position to undertake actual consideration of the content of the said report. As you would recall, Minister Kharrazi drew attention in his concluding remarks at the Ministerial Meeting back in mid-November to this important aspect of the work of the Group of 77 and underlined that this is an area that enjoys the full support of the Group, and that it merits to be pursued in earnest. This is all I wanted to submit to you, in as brief terms as possible and without any elaboration, in fulfillment of the request made in paragraph 45 of the Ministerial Declaration.
Turning to item 3 of the agenda; Follow-up and implementation of the outcome of the Tenth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee (IFCC) on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries, I do not intend to delve into any details. We addressed the outcome of the IFCC-X in the Senior Officials’ Meeting and also at the Ministerial Meeting. My Minister also referred in his opening statement to the meeting in Tehran and its outcome. Here, I merely suffice to draw your attention to the fact that the meeting in Tehran had two distinct outcomes; the traditional sectoral recommendations in the eight sectors identified under the Caracas Plan of Action, and also the Tehran Consensus – a visionary document on the future strategy for South-South cooperation. As you know, this document identifies four areas of priority for South-South cooperation, each requiring in-depth analysis and elaboration of necessary actions and measures. This I believe is a good, solid foundation, on which we should be able to build and promote cooperation among ourselves as far as we can and commensurate with the actual requirements of an ever-changing, ever-complicating world out there.