Happy 50th Birthday G-77! (Well, Sort Of)

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 6/18/2014 02:00:00 AM
We kicked out S Korea after it joined the OECD rich country club, but its UN chief attended anyway.
 Most of you are probably thinking, those guys are still around? The G-77 was forged during a time when developing countries began to recognize their shared interests and desired to make them better known at international organizations. Even now, it remains the premier grouping among developing countries at the UN General Assembly even if it receives minimal press attention. To commemorate its fiftieth birthday, the G-77 recently held an event in Bolivia. Being perfectly honest, the G-77 has often degenerated into a mouthpiece for anti-Americanism, which is obviously not developmental in itself. Nor has it been a significant forum in developing a common platform for the Global South.

Still, the latest event proved noteworthy in a few respects. First, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (is it just me or does he sound like a Sanrio character?) attended our shindig:
Mr Ban Ki Moon in his opening speech said the G77 and China had given the South a global voice, and the Group provides an immense contribution to the UN. He told President Morales that he appreciated his vision of Living Well, as development based on living well is humanity living in harmony with Nature and with each other. The Secretary General said the SDGs [sustainable development goals] require Global Partnership and the G77 has a key role to ensure its effectiveness. The Group should press for a fair trade regime, technology transfer and so on. The G77 and China plays a key role in the UN to formulate a post 2015 Development Agenda.
Aside from the Bolivian president, Argentina's Cristina Fernandez, also took to the mic together with other stalwarts of the Latin left:
With regard to the economic order, [she] said a crisis currently persists and affects many countries of the world, “my country had been affected before, this is happening is not capitalism, it is a complete and utter distortion, qualify as anarcho-capitalism.”

[S]he finished by thanking all present [for their] intervention and President Evo Morales, for the invitation “if we do not we should remove in time” [then] good “because we have to call to reach a new world order to continue living.” Prior to the president [of] Argentina, the presidents of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro; Cuba, Raul Castro and Uruguay, José “Pepe” Mujica, urged the G77 to move toward a new world order more just and equitable.
Speaking of the Uruguayan leader, he also went all ecological on us:
Uruguay's austere president is urging world leaders to fight a "culture of waste" in which poor nations try to emulate richer countries rather than live in balance with the environment.Speaking in Bolivia on Sunday to a summit of the Group of 77 and China, Jose Mujica calls the growth in consumerism "a trap" that will produce material gain at the cost of human development. Mujica is a former guerrilla leader and he has won attention for his no-frills lifestyle as Uruguay's president, including driving an old Volkswagen Beetle and living on a simple flower farm.
This being the G=77...and China, Vietnam took the opportunity to use this venue to decry Chinese imperialism via the PRC's expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea:
China rebutted Sunday night accusations made by Vietnam over the South China Sea, urging the Vietnamese side to immediately stop all the disruptive and destructive acts against China's legal operations in the sea. At the conclusion of the Group of 77 (G77) plus China summit in Bolivia, Le Hoai Trung, Vietnam's permanent representative to the United Nations, claimed that China operated a drilling rig "in the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam" and sent warships to drive away Vietnamese vessels, which "infringed Vietnam's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
While I certainly sympathize with the G-77--unlike South Korea we are the poor countries who stayed poor--I despair at the actual political clout we have. Reform at the IMF and World Bank remains stalled. The UN Security Council's permanent members are still the victors of WWII. We again issued a call for a new world order, but that's been the refrain for, oh, forty years now. So much has happened, but nothing's really changed I fear as the G-77 has become yet another "talk shop" with a slightly different cast of characters dominated by Latin blowhards and the like.