Group of 77: Needs unity more than ever before

NEW YORK: The world is living in dangerous times - with the post-war edifice of multilateralism and cooperation crumbling, the economic crisis already spilling into the political and social arena, and the neo-mercantilism of the powerful that lurks behind the rhetoric of neo-liberalism and globalization, is striving to bring developing countries once again under the grip of colonial-era economy, according to Mr. Chakravarthi Raghavan, Chief Editor of the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS).

Mr. Raghavan was speaking on 12 January at the UN headquarters in New York, at a meeting of the Group of 77 of the Whole, after receiving the "1997 Group of 77/UNDP Award for TCDC/ECDC". The award was presented to him by the UNDP Administrator, Mr. Gustav Speth, at a ceremonial meeting of the G77 and China when Indonesia took over the Chairmanship of the Group from Tanzania.

While cooperation among developing countries has increased over the years since the founding of the G77 in 1964, there is also an element of dis-spiritedness and disunity within the South in these dangerous times which all those who have an interest in the well-being of the South and the North must strive hard to reverse and remove, he said, pleading with the governments of the South and the international institutions to do their utmost in this direction.

In presenting the award, Mr Speth paid a tribute to Mr Raghavan's contribution towards promoting Technical and Economic Cooperation Among Developing Countries (TCDC/ECDC) over the years through his analytical writings and insights on trade, economic and development issues and their impacts on the developing world and sustainable development. The citation read by Mr Speth said the award to Mr Raghavan is in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of TCDC/ECDC and, in particular, of "the outstanding contribution made by Mr Raghavan, both in his capacity as Chief Editor of the South- North Development Monitor-SUNS and as Editor of Third World Economics, which have consistently provided insightful analyses of the impact of global development on the economies of the developing countries and the role of South-South cooperation in support of their development efforts."

This is the first time that the award is being given to an individual. In earlier years, the award went to the South Centre and the Third World Network. The outgoing chair of the G77, Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Mr Jakaya M. Kikwete, and the new Chair, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, in their statements, congratulated Mr. Raghavan for his well- deserved award. Later in the proceedings, Bangladesh on behalf of the Asian group, Bahamas for the Latin American and Caribbean group, and Ambassador Juan Somavia of Chile spoke in appreciation of the work of Mr. Raghavan and the SUNS and its great benefit to the developing countries. (Third World Economics No. 178, 1-15 February 1998)

The above article was originally published in the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS) of which Chakravarthi Raghavan is the Chief Editor.

(Please click here for the full text of Mr Raghavan's speech .)