Palestine, represented by Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Riyad al-Malki, yesterday passed the chairmanship of the Group 77 (G77) and China to Guyana for the year 2020 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
At a ceremonial meeting to mark the handover, al-Malki passed the gavel to Guyana’s Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo in the attendance of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
In his remarks, al-Malki stated that entrusted Palestine with the chairmanship of G77 and China was “a reflection of your confidence in the ability of the State of Palestine to deliver on the mandate it was entrusted with, namely representing a group that champions multilateralism”.
“Palestine knows firsthand what it means to be left behind, and was privileged to be part of a group that defends every day the interests of developing countries, especially countries in special situations, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states as well as middle-income countries, conflict and post-conflict countries and countries and peoples living under foreign occupation,” he said.
The top Palestinian diplomat briefed Nagamootoo on the challenges Palestine grappled with and successes it achieved during its chairmanship of the group.
He expressed his confidence in Guyana’s ability to chair G77 and China group and wished it success in its future task that would contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and eradicating poverty and hunger.
Following is the complete text of the address delivered by al-Malki:
The State of Palestine may not have been the obvious choice, but we hope that, as this chairmanship concludes, the group feels it was the right choice. Many saw in this choice an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people but we believe it is also a reflection of your confidence in the ability of the State of Palestine to deliver on the mandate it was entrusted with, namely representing a group that champions multilateralism, is the standard bearer of developing countries and remains the guardian of the pledge to leave no one behind.
In this context, our group worked tirelessly to further consensus in an era where it is often at jeopardy.
The group played a decisive role in the elaboration and adoption by consensus of the political declaration adopted at the SDG summit, preserving the integrity and integrality of the 2030 Agenda, including the objective of eradicating poverty, and determining concrete actions to ensure its timely implementation, at the most challenging time since its adoption. The group also played an important role in placing the emphasis on means of implementation in the context of financing for development and on the ownership of developing countries on South-South Cooperation at the BAPA +40 Conference.
The group, in the context of its leading role in the Second Committee, also succeeded in reaching an agreement with the EU on the inclusivity language across 20 resolutions, preserving to a great extent consensus in this important committee, while upholding the need to ensure that no one is left behind, notably people in vulnerable situations and the most vulnerable countries.
At the same time, the group demonstrated that while always striving for consensus, it did not shy away from standing its ground on matters of principle.
Yesterday, a historic vote took place in defense of equitable and broad geographical representation to ensure that the membership of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) is in the image of the membership of the UN and to correct the unfair and inadequate representation of regional groups that developing countries are part of. In this regard, we can all be proud of the unity, solidarity and resolve manifested by the group at this occasion.
Allow me to seize this opportunity to thank the partners that voted in favour of the G77 and China draft resolution, namely: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Norway and the Russian Federation.
This vote is a signal that equitable geographical representation can no longer be denied nor further delayed. This also means having a Secretariat that reflects the true international character of the organization, our common home.
The group therefore matches its words with deeds, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the negotiations on administrative and budgetary matters including in the context of the first annual budget and in negotiations on the peacekeeping budget, where the group played a key role in protecting the resources dedicated to the development pillar of the United Nations, defended the role and rights of troop and police contributing countries, advanced the interests of developing countries, and stressed the role of the CPC. The group also played a key role this year in addressing the critical financial situation of the organization in relation to peacekeeping.
The group continued to lead the efforts to combat inequalities within and among countries, as reflected in its engagement in the Commissions for Social Development, Status of Women and Population and Development, as well as on humanitarian affairs.
The group continued to be the leading voice a strong on the need for the UN’s communications to promote a more just and effective world information and communication order that contributes to a more equitable economic order and advances peace and international understanding.
The budget we just adopted advances multilinguism in official and non-official languages of the UN, in line with the G77 and China resolution on information.
Last but not least, and while we have developed the means to explore other planets, we have not yet dedicated the necessary means to preserve our own. There is no grouping better equipped to speak of this matter than our own, given the immediate existential threat faced by some of our members. This year in Bonn and Madrid we were able to advance common positions in new areas. We must redouble the mobilization we have displayed on combating climate change to ensure we all do our share under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, so that sanity can prevail, not suicide.
In this regard, our Group took a leading role in promoting the preservation of our Ocean, and conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, including through supporting the holding of a 2nd UN Ocean Conference and in being an active player in the BBNJ negotiations.
This was a year of many challenges, both within the group and for the UN. But as it concludes, our group demonstrates once again its ability to live by its founding principles of unity, complementarity, cooperation and solidarity and to act for the advancement of all humanity and the protection of our planet, as enshrined in the positions and the many resolutions put forward by our group in 5 of the 6 main committees of the General Assembly and the plenary.
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. The South-South Summit to take place this year in Uganda will be an important milestone on our long march towards an inclusive, just and equitable world order that upholds the rights and addresses the needs of the Global South.
As expressed in the joint declaration adopted by our group at the occasion of its 55th anniversary ‘We stand together for the betterment of the lives of our peoples and of all humanity, embodying the principle of the sovereign equality of States, the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, the determination to protect the planet and the life it is home to, and the pledge to leave no one behind.’
Palestine knows firsthand what it means to be left behind, and was privileged to be part of a group that defends every day the interests of developing countries, especially countries in special situations, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States as well as middle-income countries, conflict and post-conflict countries and countries and peoples living under foreign occupation.
It was our greatest honour to fight during our chairmanship for the principles, rights and interests of a group that has for so long fought for our rights.
I thank you