António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) Opening remarks at the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77
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UNSG Opening remarks at the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77

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Excellencies,
distinguished delegates.  

It's an honour to join
you today.  

I commend Guinea for
its leadership throughout last year.  

And I congratulate
Pakistan as it assumes the Chairmanship for 2022.  

I am ready and looking
forward to working closely with Ambassador Munir Akram in the next year.  On
the other hand, I will never forget my ten years as High Commissioner for
Refugees.  I will never forget the generosity of Pakistan hosting millions
of Afghan refugees, even until now, and the exemplary partnership that I always
had from Pakistan, so it is with high expectations that I look forward to my
cooperation with the Presidency of the Group.   

The work of the Group
of 77 and China is pivotal.  

Individually and
collectively, your members are not only strong supporters of the United
Nations.  

 You are keeping the
views, concerns and ideas of the developing world at the centre of the UN's
discussions and decisions.  

You have been
instrumental in shaping new UN initiatives to support developing countries.   

You are stewards for
poverty reduction and achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development
Goals and the threats as it was said by the honourable Minister.   

Since 2017, you have
been core supporters of my reforms, and more recently of my report on Our
Common Agenda.  

And you are bringing
the spirit of multilateralism to life at a decisive moment for all countries —
but especially for developing countries.  

The challenges we face
today are felt most acutely in the countries you represent, and we need action
on multiple fronts.  

First — in tackling the pandemic guided by
fairness and equity.  

Omicron
is a grim reminder that stopping the spread anywhere must be at the top of the
agenda everywhere.  

Last fall, the World Health Organization
unveiled a strategy to vaccinate 40 per cent of people in all countries by the
end of last year, and 70 per cent by the middle of this year.    

We are nowhere near these targets.  

We
need all countries and all manufacturers to prioritize vaccine supply to COVAX
and to the developing world and to support the local production around the
world of tests, vaccines, treatments by countries that have the capacity to do
so but need the adequate support and the legal instruments in relation to
licenses. 

Throughout, we need to speak out against restrictions
that penalize developing countries — we need no more what I called "travel
apartheid."    

And
we need to prepare for the next pandemic with bold investments in health
surveillance and response systems in every country.   

Second — developing
countries need a global financial system that works for them.  

The current system is broken.  

It denies developing countries the
resources, the debt relief and investments they need to recover.  

And it's contributing to a lopsided
recovery.  

To
emerge from the pandemic and rescue the Sustainable Development Goals,
governments must have the fiscal space to invest in all the systems that
support human development.  

This
includes strong health, education and social protection systems, job creation,
and major transitions in energy, food systems and connectivity.  

They
also need scaled-up and affordable finance to combat climate change and build
future resiliency.  

But
as we meet today, more than eight out of ten recovery dollars are being spent
in developed countries.  

Low-income
countries are experiencing their slowest growth in a generation.  

And the economic challenges making global headlines —
record inflation, tighter monetary policies, high interest rates and soaring energy and food
prices — are magnified in developing countries.  

We
must support them in their hour of need.  

That
means a number of concrete actions, including urgent debt restructuring and
reforms of the long-term debt architecture, to give countries breathing room as
they invest in recovery, resilience and a sustainable future.  

The
Common Framework for Debt Treatment must be made effective and expanded to
middle-income countries — and private sector creditors must engage with it —
because no developing country should be punished for applying for urgently
needed relief. 

It
means bringing together governments, the financial sector and international financial
institutions to build up private investment in developing countries. 

And
it means addressing the global tax system, illicit financial flows and
corruption, to ensure funding streams reach those who need it most.   

Third
— developing countries need support for real climate action in mitigation and
adaptation.   

The consequences of a changing climate have been devastating for many of them.   

Mass
displacement. Natural disasters. Ruined crops and famines. Competition for
scarce resources. Rising seas.  

To
have any hope of achieving the global community's 1.5 degree goal, the science
tells us that we need a meaningful reduction in global emissions by 2030. 

Yet
global emissions are now set, according to the
Nationally Determined Contributions, to increase by 14 per cent this decade.  

To
keep the 1.5 degree goal within reach, all countries need to do their part.  

The
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities must be respected, with
developed countries taking the lead.  

But
reaching the 1.5 degree goal demands that all countries take action.  

Nationally
Determined Contributions must collectively deliver the 45 per cent emissions
reduction needed by 2030 — with every sector on a trajectory to reaching
net-zero emissions by 2050.  

Climate
plans must be revisited and updated — every year if possible, and by all
countries — so they reflect progress made and the highest levels of ambition to
keep 1.5 alive. 

But
for that, developing countries must see their support, financial support and
technological support hugely increased.   

Wealthier
countries must finally deliver already in 2022 on the $100 billion annual
climate finance commitment to developing countries, and address the
longstanding shortcomings in the global financial architecture.  

And
this $100 billion is just a drop in the ocean of the financial needs that must
be mobilized by developed countries, by international financial institutions
and also by the private sector if properly supported by those international
financial institutions.   

Countries
must live up to the commitment made in Glasgow to double adaptation finance —
we will even need more but we also must make it easier for developing countries
to access those funds — while supporting developing countries' adaptation
efforts.  Because it is in developing countries that we see more needs of
adaptation due to the dramatic consequences of climate change.   

The
past two years have seen some progress, but it needs to happen faster and at a
much larger scale. 

Ambition
must be matched by political will and the availability of resources to make it
happen. 

To
help developing countries accelerate the transition from coal to renewable
energy and to green their economies, I've been calling for the creation of
coalitions of support. 

These
coalitions should include developed countries, financial institutions and those
with the technical know-how to help countries make these necessary shifts.  

Finally,
as we move forward on these three urgent areas, we also have a number of
important upcoming milestones that will require your active participation and
guidance.  

July's High-level
Political Forum on Sustainable Development — along with the rescheduled Least
Developed Countries Conference — will be important opportunities to support
developing countries as they move towards recovery and resilience.   

The conferences
focusing on biodiversity and oceans will be opportunities for new commitments
to protect our planet and the species that call it home with effective support
to developing countries. 

And I look forward to
working with this group — and all Member States — to continue strengthening
ECOSOC and the work of the General Assembly's committees.  

Excellencies,  

At this critical
moment, the world needs a strong and effective United Nations to deliver
results for all people, no matter where they live.  

Our reforms are crucial
to this objective, and we've made significant progress over the last few
years.    

The pandemic was an early test and showed that our
reforms worked.  It enabled us to quickly adjust our business operations
and respond to the needs of countries.   

As we build on these gains, the continued support of
Member States is crucial — particularly with respect to the annual programme
budget.  

The annual cycle has greatly improved the accuracy of
our estimates, and our ability to rapidly adapt and improve operations in the
midst of the pandemic and an epic financial crisis.    

I also want to thank the G77 and China for your recent
strong support of our regular budget proposals for 2022.  

That support ensured the adoption of a reasonable
budget level that will help us fulfil our mandates this year even if I fully
agree that we need to rebalance what is today financed with accessed contributions
and what comes from voluntary contributions.  We need an effective global
agenda supported by effective global instruments.   

As always, our mandate implementation will greatly
depend on the early and full payment by all Member States of their contributions,
especially the ones with larger ones.   

At
the same time, I have asked senior managers to ensure that they do even more to
advance not only gender parity but equitable geographical representation in
filling the vacant posts that an improved financial situation will now allow.
  

I
am absolutely committed to ensuring that our staff better reflect the
international character of our Organization.   

Excellencies,  

The Group of 77 and
China is a vital part of our work.  

Your engagement and
promotion of developing country priorities — and your support to our
Organization — will be needed now, more than ever. 

I look forward to
continued collaboration and partnership over the coming year. 

Thank you.