The G77 and China
The Group of 77 (G77 and China) was established on the 15th of June 1964 during a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Geneva. This conference heralded the inception of a group of 75 developing countries pledging to promote equality in the international economic and social order and promote the interests of the developing world. This was largely seen as an “initial step towards the international endorsement of a new trade policy for development”.
In a joint declaration made at the UNCTAD, the G77 and China members declared their unity under a common interest and defined their Group as “an instrument for enlarging the area of co-operative endeavour in the international field and for securing mutually beneficent relationships with the rest of the world.”
While the initial mandate of the G77 and China was to accentuate the trade and development related issues of its members, the focus of the G77 and China has since evolved - today; it is a successful lobby group within the United Nations structures.
Speaking with one voice
The G77 and China aims to promote multi-lateral collaboration through negotiation and lobbying as it strives to speak with one voice representing nations of diverse economic, political and social prisms. Through successive consultations such as the Algiers Charter (1967)” which sought to harmonize the position of the developing world and the Caracas agreement (Venezuela; 1989) which articulated the need for improved international cooperation for development, the G77 and China has managed to firmly accentuate the pro-poor and pro-development agenda within the discourse of the United Nations.
Through continuous consultations within the Group, the G77 and China has developed Chapters with liaison offices in different United Nations Offices namely Geneva (UNCTAD), Nairobi (UNEP), Paris (UNESCO), Rome (FAO/IFAD and WFP), Vienna (UNIDO), and the Group of 24 (G-24) in Washington, D.C. (IMF and World Bank).
One of the unique aspects of the group is its diversity which is both a strength and a weakness. It attempts to consolidate the positions of 130 countries. While instances of divergence have occured in the past, through negotiation and cooperation, the group successfully functions as a unit bound by common objectives.
The Rome Chapter
The Rome Chapter focuses mainly on food security and agricultural development, guarding closely the interests of the developing countries as it advocates for the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) within the three Rome based agencies Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Through inter and intra-group lobbying and negotiation, the Rome Chapter ensures that the plight of the poor from the developing countries is always at the top of the food security agenda.
The Rome Chapter plays an intermediary role in supporting South-South Cooperation. As it strives to uphold the interests of the developing countries, it scrutinizes the policies, governance and programmes of the three Rome based agencies in a bid to ensure that the poorest of the poor have access to food and knowledge, technologies and resources to ensure agricultural production. It has also been outspoken on the need to contextualize the current debate on bio-energy and the resultant escalation of food price and how the world food and agriculture terrain is likely to be transformed.
Statutes of the Group of 77 to FAO
- To enforce the relations and cooperation among its members
- To promote studies and exchange of points of views on all the problems related to FAO and especially in connection with its programmes, thereby contributing to a better understanding of those problems, to recommend suitable solutions and to define common positions.
The Rome Chapter, like all the other G77 and China chapters, consists of a Chairperson, vice chairperson (the next chair) and regional Chairs and vice chairs who are all appointed on a rotational basis by region.
The Chairperson of the G77 and China is the spokesperson of the group. The tasks of the chair and regional chairs are to coordinate and call for meetings and as well harness the common position of the group.