GENEVA, 19 JANUARY 2006

Excellency, Ambassador Antoine Mindua KESIA
Mr. Dirk Jan Bruinsma, Deputy Secretary General, UNCTAD,
Dear Colleagues,

Let me begin by thanking Ambassador Mindua Kesia for his comprehensive statement. I command his leadership in the past year. Your dynamism created new synergy. Your warmth infused the group with camaraderie. You have also given higher profile and visibility to the Group vis-à-vis Geneva, New York and other venues for international conferences. My profound thanks also go to Mr. Bruinsma for his generous remarks. UNCTAD will benefit unanimously from his competence and expression as well as his hands and goal-oriented approach. We will closely read your statement to map out our strategy so that we work hand in hand to accomplish shared goals. I am most grateful to Ambassador Manalo and the Asian Group for my nomination. Chairmanship of G-77 and China, Geneva Chapter for this year is an honour for me and my country. I am humbled by the confidence reposed in me for this important task. I am also aware of the responsibility that comes with it.

2005 was an important year for the international discourse on development with high profile events like the Second South Summit in Doha, the World Summit in New York, the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis and the WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong. Under the leadership of Ambassador Mindua the Geneva Chapter played a key role in advancing the interests of developing countries making significant contribution to all the important processes. We made substantive contributions to the Millennium Plus Five Review, the Development Agenda discussions in WIPO, the Trade and Development Resolution at the General Assembly and the WSIS. We intend to build on this tradition and maintain consensus and solidarity within the Group.

This year would be important with regard to implementation and follow up of the decisions taken in 2005. The Mid-term Review of UNCTAD-XI lends added importance to this year. Pakistan has always been a leading voice for developing countries’ concerns. We see this Chairmanship as an opportunity to effectively represent the developing countries’ perspective on important issues like policy space, corporate social responsibility, successful integration of developing counties in the multilateral trading system and the new geography of international trade at the Mid-term Review and all the other relevant processes during 2006.

UNCTAD and G-77 have common history. The G-77 has viewed UNCTAD as the guardian of the world’s development conscience. This Organization has gone through a difficult period. The Sao Paulo Consensus forged at UNCTAD-XI put UNCTAD back on the map. It was a good outcome and a delicate balance achieved under trying times not just for UNCTAD but for multilateralism itself. We must guard against a renegotiation or a reinterpretation of the Sao Paulo Consensus during the Mid-term Review. Views have frequently been expressed with regard to a steady erosion of UNCTAD’s mandate during the last two Mid-term Reviews. It, therefore, needs to be ensured that the Review this year is conducted strictly in accordance with the mandate provided in paragraph-9 of the Sao Paulo Consensus. We will have to act with clarity and solidarity to achieve this objective.

Our Group draws its strength from shared goals and experiences. One way of advancing our cause in that context would be through continued South-South cooperation. It can be a major force for international economic stability and must be seen as a process that would compliment and reinforce multilateralism. A united, dynamic and proactive Group of 77 can play an effective role in promoting a more balanced and just international order. We share a common desire to achieve a future characterized by progress and prosperity for our people. We must continue our common quest for this future that still eludes us. UNCTAD can and must play a key role towards that end. It is a people-oriented Organization that must continue to provide an alternative view and development-oriented solutions to the existing and emerging challenges faced by developing countries. We must think and work together with a view to ensuring a rightful place for this knowledge-based Organization, with the three pillars of its mandate, in the impending knowledge society.

It would be my endeavour to work towards strengthening the role of UNCTAD with particular emphasis on the mandate with regard to consensus building. Last year, under the leadership and guidance of Ambassador Mindua, we initiated regular contacts between the New York and Geneva Chapter through video conferences and other means. We must strengthen such linkages. They contribute towards enhancing the visibility of the Geneva Chapter. During this year, we will work closely with the South Centre. We will draw upon its strengths and help it enhance its strength. We are grateful that UNCTAD lends support to the work of the G-77. I must also emphasize the importance of attendance in the G-77 meetings at the Ambassadorial level in this important year. Ambassador Mindua has already given me the good news. I thank you for the gift. I will fully cherish it after I have opened it.

Let me conclude by thanking you all once again for your trust and look forward to the continued benefit of your cooperation and counsel in carrying out this responsibility in accordance with the highest standard of equanimity and professionalism set by my predecessors.

I thank you.

© The Group of 77