Ambassador Raymond Wolfe,
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
at 34th Annual Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G77 and China
I commend Yemen on its stewardship of the G-77 and China during this year and register the appreciation of the Jamaican delegation for its efforts in negotiating the outcome document of the recently held High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.
I would also like to congratulate Argentina, our GRULAC colleague and partner, on its election to chair the Group for the next year. We are confident that your tenure will be successful. You can count on Jamaica’s full cooperation and support.
I also join others in welcoming Tajikistan as the newest member of the Group.
We meet again in the shadows of the global economic and financial upheavals with which we have had to contend over the last few years and which has reaffirmed the extent of our interdependence. The financial crisis has touched all countries, be they of the North or the South, and has exacerbated the economic challenges already facing many G77 countries. The breadth and depth of the crisis serve as a stark reminder of the need to collaborate to devise effective solutions to our common challenges.
While there have been signs of recovery from the crisis in several economies, the effects of the crisis continue to reverberate in all regions of the world, including the Caribbean and, given the very real prospect of further instability in currency and financial markets, it will be a while yet before some degree of stability is returned to our economies.
The G77 is at the forefront of a very real battle to revolutionise the global economy by seeking to address the systemic imbalances which have been laid bare by the global financial crisis and which, if they are allowed to persist, will continue to undermine our development prospects.
As emphasized by my Prime Minister, the existing international financial system and the multilateral trading arrangements cannot redress these imbalances. The emergence of the G20 as the locus of global economic policy making is a welcome recognition of the changing global economic financial and economic architecture. Several G77 members are also members of the G20 and we encourage your advocacy on behalf of the wider membership. It is nevertheless important to create the necessary space for the voice of the wider developing world. This can only be secured through an appropriate and representative mechanism whereby developing countries can voice their concerns and propose strategies for trade, investment and financing facilitation.
Bearing in mind the universality of the membership of the United Nations and its role in economic development as mandated under the Charter, a close working relationship must be established between the G20 and the United Nations
Jamaica fully appreciates the attention which the G77 has traditionally paid to the unique and peculiar challenges of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) whose geographical characteristics and open economies have made them particularly susceptible to the most severe effects of most of the crises which have beset us in recent years. The decimation of entire economies remains a very real fear harboured by Small Island Developing States, particularly in view of the substantial reduction in revenue from tourism, commodities and remittances and a decline in flows of foreign investment.
This support was exemplified in the active participation of many G77 delegations in the recently concluded High Level Five-Year Review of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. We anticipate continued of support and solidarity of the Group for the priority concerns of SIDS.
Jamaica hopes that this solidarity will be manifested in continued support for the special circumstances of middle income developing countries, such as Jamaica and its CARICOM partners, who are saddled with high debt burdens. Debt relief and access to international financing are critical to our development agenda, given the tight fiscal constraints which undermine our ability to pursue development priorities including the allocation of resources for much needed investment in the critical areas of economic and social sector. Many of us are, however, excluded from concessionary financing by virtue of our classification as middle income countries.
With approximately one-third of the world’s poor living in Middle-Income countries, the limitations of using per capita income as the primary means of determining whether a country is eligible for development financing, have become evident. There is urgent need for an alternative approach to development assistance which is more flexible and which takes into account the extraordinary variations in the characteristics of middle-income countries. Apart from sharing similar per capita GDP levels, the situation on the ground in many Middle-Income countries, varies widely in terms of their levels of vulnerability, indebtedness and the extent of their economic fragility.
Mr. Chairman, colleagues,
There are several issues on the agenda of the General Assembly which continue to require urgent and special attention. These include sustainable development, financing for development, climate change, among others. The G77 and China must continue to play a decisive role in ensuring that the interests and concerns of developing countries are at the center of discussions and negotiations. We must be relentless in the pursuit of the effective implementation of the global commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other goals.
Jamaica is confident that with continued collaboration within the G77and China, and through mutual support for the peculiar development concerns of various subsets of its membership, we will make progress in our efforts to effectively address the complex challenges facing developing countries.
I thank you.