Bolivia Assumes Chair of G-77-China
8 January 2014: Bolivia took over from Fiji as Chair of the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) during a special ceremony held at UN Headquarters in New York. Bolivian President Evo Morales attended the event, during which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the General Assembly (PGA) John Ashe urged the Group to work collectively towards reaching: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); a unified and universal post-2015 development agenda, with poverty eradication as the overarching goal; and a new global climate agreement.
President Morales said that Bolivia would mark the Group's 50th anniversary during a special event on 15 June, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, with the participation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whom he called “the elder brother of the United Nations.” He hoped the meeting would: result in the further development of social programmes to reduce poverty; and forge new paths to tackle global issues, such as climate change and sustainable development.
In his statement, PGA Ashe stressed that the next 12 months would determine whether the promises of 2015 made would be delivered. In anticipation of 2015, Ashe said he would be convening a series of high-level events and thematic debates; and the Open-Ended Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing would provide recommendations to the GA in September.
UN Secretary-General Ban said the G-77/China's common positions contributed to a more positive outlook for a climate agreement in 2015, and pointed to September's Climate Summit 2014 as an opportunity for continued positive and constructive engagement. Ban said the G-77/China “represents the aspirations of billions of the world's least privileged people” and that its members are also among “the most economically dynamic and resource-rich nations on Earth.”
During a press conference following the handover ceremony, President Morales said food security, poverty reduction and creating sustainable ways to protect the Earth were among the world's most urgent issues. He said “this is a time of people, not empires,” and that Bolivia was investing in its people and working with all sectors of society, making progress on cultivating quinoa and providing more services to its citizens. He said, although conditional loans had been offered to his country, the “Bolivian boys” and not the “Chicago boys” were now making economic policy, emphasizing that capitalism and imperialism prevent development. [UN Press Release] [Statement of the GA President] [Statement of the Secretary-General] [Press Conference with Bolivian President Evo Morales] [G-77/China Website]