Guterres Seeks G77 Leadership in UN Reforms

Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Mark Garten (file)

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 9 2017 - Addressing members of the Group of 77, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said development must be at the center of UN’s activities because it is a basic condition for peace and security while human rights can only be exercised in the context in which development takes place.

He told delegates the UN Development system needs to be reformed because it is still unable to fully respond to the needs of member states.

He wanted the G77 to assume leadership in a reform perspective to help support UN member states and to make the UN more effective.

The UN can only move forward meeting these challenges with a continued strong dialogue between the Secretary-General and the G77.

However, he cautioned that rules established between the UN Secretariat and Member States are inadequate while it is hard to get consensus to change or reform rules.

Guterres, who will serve a five-year term beginning January, highlighted the importance of South-South cooperation and pointed out that the UN development system must ensure member states can fully implement the 2030 agenda and reach its goals.

In his introductory remarks, G77 chair Virachai Plasai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations, speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, said Guterres’ presence “assures us of his commitment to the cause of development and to close cooperation with our Group.”

He said the United Nations is currently confronted with a multitude of challenges, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the aspiration of “leaving no one behind”, in particular countries in special situations, as well as the management of the Organization, especially in ensuring a geographically representative and gender-balanced Secretariat, particularly in the Senior Management Group.

“We wish Mr. Guterres every success in his role as the Secretary-General, in addressing those challenges. We hope to see his vision for the United Nations presented on the occasion of his taking the oath of office translated into concrete proposals and plans of action, such as United Nations support to Member States in achieving the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, the promise to leave no one behind, repositioning development at the centre of the work of the United Nations through comprehensive reforms, leadership, coordination, delivery and accountability. “

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