Stories written by Branislav Gosovic *
Branislav Gosovic, from Yugoslavia-Montenegro, is author of
books on UNCTAD and UNEP and of numerous articles. A retired
career UN official, he headed the South Centre Secretariat 1990-2005.
I observed the Group of 77 (G77) shortly after the 1964 Geneva Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the 1968 UNCTAD 2 in New Delhi and the 1972 UNCTAD 3 in Santiago. The Group was influential at the time, benefiting from several factors helpful for its functioning which are no longer present, namely:
The upcoming conference on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA+40), scheduled to take place in the Argentine capital on 20-22 March 2019, ought to be more than just another UN conference where the developing countries assemble to present their demands and seek support from the North.
The Internet – and the applications that it has spawned – is the single most important technological innovation that has brought together and interlinked humankind in a real, tangible and interactive way.
Given the pressures to which the UN is subjected, and the current threats to the very character and underlying values of the international system, the election of a new Secretary General is of great significance, writes Branislav Gosovic, author of books on UNCTAD and UNEP and numerous articles. He headed the South Centre Secretariat 1990-2005. In this article, Gosovic writes that unipolarity and \'\'pensee unique\'\' have put serious constraints on the SG and the Secretariat and reduced the policy space for their action. Furthermore, North-driven reforms supposedly intended to give greater discretionary authority to the SG risk facilitating unilateral political and administrative influence over the Secretariat. The South will need to protect the multilateral character of the UN Secretariat -- the only permanent multilateral structure with a universal, holistic task -- from efforts to reduce it to a merely administrative/management function and make it serve the interests of a few powerful actors. It will need to press for greatly strengthening the Secretariat and so provide the Secretary-General with institutional support inter alia to contribute to evolving democratic forms of multilateral statecraft and global governance.