G77+China summit concludes with emphasis on empowering Global South

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) and China in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 15, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The two-day Summit of the Group of 77 (G77) and China concluded on Saturday with a call for more participation and say of the Global South in the global governance system.

The event was attended by delegations from more than 100 countries, including over 30 heads of state and government.

First established in 1964, G77 now has over 130 members, with its chairmanship rotating among member countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America based on regional principles.

Being the largest multilateral coordination organization among developing countries, G77's member states account for more than 80 percent of the world's population and over two-thirds of UN member countries.

China is not a member but has been supporting and cooperating with the group under the framework of "G77 and China."

Stronger voice for Global South

Highlighting the challenges faced by countries in the Global South, the summit underscored the need for a more balanced international order with greater attention to the Global South nations.

Speaking at the summit's opening ceremony, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the voice of the Group of 77 and China will always be essential for the UN system.

Terming the group "a champion of multilateralism," Guterres called on G77 and China to "champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries; and champion a system that delivers for all humanity and not for the privileged."

Cuban expert Ramon Pichs said that the G77 and China Havana Summit played an important role in advancing the global agenda including addressing the threat of climate change.

"For developing countries, for G77 and China and Cuba, the moment to act regarding climate change is now," the expert said, adding this is a huge challenge for the development of all nations.

In the final declaration of the meeting, the delegates urged international institutions to make additional efforts to support nations in the Global South in such areas as science, technology and innovation.

The summit will help boost the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noted Francisco Pichon, UN resident coordinator in Havana.

"A reform to the international financial system, climate change and its funding as well as multilateralism agenda are paramount priorities for the United Nations," he said, in response to calls for more representation and a stronger voice of the Global South in the international governance system.

"The unity and activism of G77 and China in international forums and debates are fundamental to advancing the legitimate aspirations of our peoples," the Cuban daily newspaper Granma said.

China's contribution

Since the 1990s, with more Chinese involvement under the framework of "G77 and China," the organization has been playing a more relevant role in the international arena.

During his welcoming speech at the summit, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel highlighted China's efforts to promote international cooperation.

"The Global Development Initiative promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping is an inclusive and coherent proposal in keeping with a just and equitable new international order," he said.

Citing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as an example, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union Azali Assoumani said at the summit that China is aimed at creating a balanced and inclusive scenario based on cooperation with all.

Echoing these leaders' words, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recalled that during the COVID-19 pandemic, China helped Venezuela acquire medicines and COVID-19 vaccines to tackle the emergency.

"I feel impressed with the scientific, social and technological achievements reached by China," said Maduro, adding China can help G77 nations increase access to modern technology.

"China has developed different initiatives that are related in one way or the other with the aims of the group," Jose Ramon Cabanas, director of the International Policy Research Center of Cuba, told Xinhua.

Cabanas added that the impressive performance of the Chinese economy boosts the economic and social relations between China and G77.

China gets closer to Asian, African, and Latin American countries "not to impose sanctions, but to contribute to progress and the wellbeing of all," Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said, calling China a partner "with the will to help and express its solidarity."

Unlike other global powers, the relationship between China and G77 is based on respect for self-determination, solidarity, and cooperation, said Eduardo Regalado, a senior researcher at the International Policy Research Center of Cuba.

"China has been very active in promoting a fairer economic and political order in keeping with the interests of developing countries. It has maintained a systematic and consistent policy supporting the multilateral bloc," he added. 

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