G-77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations. India is a member of this grouping. Guyana took over the chairmanship of G-77 in 2020, succeeding Palestine which held the chairmanship in 2019. This article throws light on origin, objectives, structure and activities of G-77.
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Origin and Development
The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on June 15, 1964 by 77 developing countries who were the signatories to the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven countries” issued at the end of the first session of UNCTAD in Geneva. Beginning with the first Ministerial Meeting in Algiers in 1967 which adopted the Charter of Algiers, the G-77 gradually developed into a permanent institutional structure. Chapters of the G-77 were subsequently created in Rome (FAO), Vienna (UNIDO), Paris (UNESCO), Nairobi (UNEP) and the G-24 in Washington D.C. (IMF and World Bank). Although the membership of the G-77 has increased to 133 countries, the original name has been retained because of its historic significance.
The Group aims to provide the developing world the means to articulate and promotes its collective economic interests; enhance its joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues in the UN system and other international fora; and promote economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.
The annual meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member-countries is the most important decision-making body. In April 2000, however, the G-77 met for the first time, at the level of heads of state of government, which therefore, elevated decision-making within the Group of the highest political level. Special ministerial meetings may be convened as and when necessary.
The Office of the Chairman of the Group is based in New York. The Inter-Governmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (IFCC) is a plenary body, consisting of senior officials, which meets once every two years to review the state of implementation of the Caracas Programme of action (CPA) adopted by the Group in 1981. Several subsidiary structures support the CPA.
The various Chapters of the G-77 also have common features in terms of membership, decision-making and certain operating methods. The Group’s work in each Chapter is coordinated by a chairman who acts as its spokesman. The chairmanship rotates on a regional basis (between Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean) and is held for one year in all the Chapters. The Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC), set up in New York in collaboration with NAM, harmonises the respective positive of the G-77 and NAM on North-South as well as South-South issues.
The G-77 produces joint declarations, action programmes and agreements on specific issues. It also makes statements, sponsors and negotiates resolutions and decisions at global conferences and other meetings held under the aegis of the UN dealing with international economic cooperation and development.
While in the first few years of its existence the G-77 showed significant cohesion in policy, many divisions later emerged within the Group on many issues. As a number of developing countries progressed at a faster rate than others, there was fragmentation within the Group itself. The emergence of regional and sub-regional integration groupings with their own specific goals and the end of Cold War lessened the members’ interest in the groupings. As a result, there has not been much collective thinking on the strategies needed to enhance the economic clout of developing countries or to promote a pattern of mutual economic cooperation based on complementarities. In recent times, members have resorted to mere castigation of the countries of and institutions dominated by the North than develop any concrete measures to reduce the dependency of the South and the North.
The problems facing the Third World countries in the era of globalisation were discussed for the first time in the grouping. Other issues discussed included the role played by oil in the world economy, the growing disparity between the rich North and the developing South, international terrorism and drug trafficking.
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