G77 leaders call for a 'fair global system' for developing countries in Uganda summit

UN Chief Antonio Guterres called for a change in the current outdated international system, namely the Security Council

Heads of State and Government representatives during the opening session of the Third South Summit of the Group of 77 and China in Kampala. AFP
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World leaders from the Group of 77, which includes Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, and Yemen, have called for the development of a fairer global system that would take into consideration the struggles of developing countries.

More than 130 member states, including China, took part in the third South Summit in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday under the theme “Leaving No One Behind,” to boost co-operation in trade, investment, sustainable development, climate change, the eradication of poverty and the digital economy.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, who chairs the Group of 77, reiterated the need to work for the collective benefit of all nations.

“I wonder why global economic actors fail to understand that the prosperity of the entire world population benefits everyone, instead opting for policies that keep the majority in poverty,” Mr Museveni said.

Participants also called for adherence to the goals that the group was founded on almost sixty years ago.

The Group of 77 nations was established in June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.

The group’s member states have increased since then to include 135 countries, however, the original name was maintained.

The bloc's stated mission is to seek the representation and promotion of collective economic interests as well as enhance its joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues at the level of the UN and its relevant institutions.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who participated in the Inauguration session, reiterated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza describing Israel’s ongoing military operations in the besieged enclave as “heartbreaking and unacceptable”.

More than 25.000 people have been killed and more than 1.9 million Gazans have been internally displaced as Israel continues its invasion following the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Mr Guterres also rebuked the repeated refusal of a two-state solution calling it “totally unacceptable”.

“The denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security,” he said.

The UN chief also called on the participating states to further press towards changing the current “outdated” polarised international system, namely the UN’s Security Council and international financial institutions which has repeatedly “failed to provide a global safety net for developing countries in distress”.

“The international system is out of date, out of time, and out of step, reflecting a bygone age when many of your countries were still colonised,” he added.

Updated: January 22, 2024, 1:21 PM