Group of 77
16 September 2023
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks on the theme “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation” at the “Group of 77” developing countries and China Summit of Heads of States and Government, in Havana on 15 September:
To change this, we need national action -- to ensure good governance, mobilize resources and prioritize sustainable development. But we need global action, that respects national ownership, to build an international system that upholds human rights and works in your interests at all levels. And that requires the Group of 77 plus China using its voice to fight for a world that works for all. The task begins with the multilateral system itself.
We are moving to a multipolar world. Multipolarity creates new opportunities for leadership on the global stage. But, alone, it doesn’t guarantee peace and justice. Those require strong, effective multilateral institutions.
But, many of today’s institutions -- particularly the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions -- reflect a bygone era; one when many developing countries were shackled by colonial rule and had no say on their own affairs, or on global affairs.
I have proposed measures to make the global financial architecture more representative and responsive to the needs of developing countries. And the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit next week and the Summit of the Future next year are real chances to make headway. I thank you for your strong support for those proposals and count on your continued leadership and backing.
Turning to your theme for today’s meeting: Science, technology and innovation can forge solidarity, solve common problems, and help to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. Yet, today, they frequently inflame inequalities and entrench divisions: richer countries hoarded COVID vaccines while the pandemic ran rampant in the Global South.
And Africans in particular pay three times more the global average for data, while tech titans amass unimaginable wealth. Only global action can tackle these inequalities, secure a just transition to a digital economy and ensure that in a new technological era no one is left behind. Our proposed Global Digital Compact can achieve exactly that.
It aims to bring together Governments and industry to ensure that technology works for all humanity and accelerates the Sustainable Development Goals. It is being negotiated by Member States ahead of the Summit of the Future. And I urge you all to play a leading role.
New rules for new technology cannot just be written by the wealthy and the privileged.
My high-level body on artificial intelligence -- which includes experts from Group of 77 countries -- will report this year, so Member States can consider forms of justice in global governance options for artificial intelligence. And we count on the Group of 77 to put the interests of developing countries firmly on the table.
Finance is another area for urgent global action. Many developing countries are unable to service their debts. You are suffering economically from the lingering effects of COVID, a cost-of-living crisis and extreme climate impacts that deprive communities of basic needs.
Unsurprisingly, many of your countries simply do not have the finance to invest in technology, sustainable development, debt recovery or climate action. The world needs climate justice as it needs financial justice. Developed countries must deliver the promised $100 billion, double adaptation finance by 2025 and recapitalize the Green Climate Fund.
Every person on Earth must be protected by an early warning system by 2027 against natural disasters. And I hope my upcoming Climate Ambition Summit -- focused on credibility and action -- will be able to drive real progress. And at twenty-eighth climate change conference, all parties must operationalize the loss and damage fund championed by this group.
Reforms to the international financial system are gaining traction, but there is still a lot of resistance and it will take some time. But, we need action now. We need action today.
That is the reason that I have proposed an SDG Stimulus that would release at least $500 billion per year in affordable long-term finance for sustainable development and climate action in developing countries. That includes increasing the capital base of the multilateral development banks, changing their business models to leverage far more private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries, increasing contingency financing for countries in need and creating an effective debt relief mechanism.
Those efforts are making progress. But too slowly. They have been discussed by groups of Member States from Paris to Bridgetown, and most recently Delhi.
Last week, the G20 expressed support for the SDG Stimulus, for strengthening the multilateral development banks, and increasing finance for development and climate action. But that’s not enough.
The upcoming SDG Summit is a chance to build momentum, to accelerate action and to renew determination to reach the SDGs; turning warm words into urgent action and facing with effectiveness the enormous inequalities that are still not allowing us to make the necessary progress. This is also something that we want to go on building at the Summit of the Future.
The SDG Summit next week, and the Summit of the Future next year, are real opportunities: to reshape the international system and international institutions to make them reflect today’s realities instead of the realities that existed after the Second World War and create a fairer future for developing countries. And we all have a duty to seize them.
The voice of the Group of 77 plus China will always be essential at the United Nations. And I count on your Group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power and fight: champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries; and champion a system that delivers for all humanity and not only for the privileged.