The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has since expanded to 130 member countries. The Republic of Yemen holds the Chairmanship in New York for 2010.
The group was founded on June 15, 1964 by the "Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries" issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).The first major meeting was in Algiers in 1967, where the Charter of Algiers was adopted and the basis for permanent institutional structures was begun. There are Chapters of the Group of 77 in Rome (FAO), Vienna (UNIDO), Paris (UNESCO), Nairobi (UNEP) and the Group of 24 in Washington, D.C. (IMF and World Bank).
The Joint Declaration of 15 June 1964 signed by the representatives of the Member States of the Group of 77 participating in the Conference summarizes the raison d’etre for the establishment of the Group and sets out the members' united objectives in the field of trade and development:
The developing countries attach singular importance to the establishment of international machinery in the field of trade and development. It is vitally necessary that this machinery should be an effective instrument for the discussion of issues, the formulation of policies, the review of results, and for taking such operational measures as are needed in the sphere of international economic relations.
The developing countries attach cardinal importance to democratic procedure which affords no position of privilege in the economic and financial, no less than in the political sphere. Furthermore, the developing countries would stress the need for continued evolution in the institutional field, leading not merely to the progressive strengthening of the machinery that is now contemplated, but also to the ultimate emergence of a comprehensive international trade organization.
The developing countries regard their own unity, the unity of the seventy-five, excluding Japan and New Zealand, as the outstanding feature of this Conference. This unity has sprung out of the fact that facing the basic problems of development they have a common interest in a new policy for international trade and development. They believe that it is this unity that has given clarity and coherence to the discussions of this Conference. Their solidarity has been tested in the course of the Conference and they have emerged from it with even greater unity and strength.
The developing countries have a strong conviction that there is a vital need to maintain, and strengthen further, this unity in the years ahead. It is an indispensable instrument for securing the adoption of new attitudes and new approaches in the international economic field. This unity is also an instrument for enlarging the area of co-operative Endeavour in the international field and for securing mutually beneficial relationships with the rest of the world. Finally, it is a necessary means for cooperation amongst the developing countries themselves.
The declared modus operandi of the organization was that in order to reach basic agreement on a new International trade and development policy, following steps may be taken
1.Creation of conditions for the expansion of trade between countries at a similar level of development, at different stages of development or having different Systems of social and economic organization;
2.Progressive reduction and early elimination of all barriers and restrictions impeding the exports of the developing countries, without reciprocal concessions on their part;
3.Increase in the volume of exports of the developing countries in primary products, both raw and processed, to the industrialized countries, and stabilization of prices at fair and remunerative levels;
4.Expansion of the markets for exports of manufactured and semi-manufactured goods from the developing countries;
5.Provision of more adequate financial resources at favorable terms so as to enable developing countries to increase imports of capital goods and industrial raw materials essential for their economic development and better co-ordination of trade and aid policies;
6.Improvement of the invisible trade of the developing countries, particularly by reducing their payments for freight and insurance and the burden of their debt charges;
7.Improvement of institutional arrangements, including, if necessary, the establishment of new machinery and methods for implementing the decisions of the Bandung Conference.
The G77 is a creation of a 'unity amongst diversity'. It is not a homogenous group with nearly identical economic problems, social environments, needs and capacities; nevertheless almost all of the members have one thing in common: they were nations who were subjected to colonialism in one way or the other and were newly emerged independent states that needed development. The G77 therefore proceeded to create a broad setting of objectives to address common problems.
From the above excerpts, which outline the position of the Group on the series of major issues aimed at an improved international economic and social framework of developing nations, emerge its twin objectives:Development and peace.
Prepared by Biju P R,Assitant Professor in Political Science,Govt Brennen College,Thalassery.