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Ban, Al-Nasser task G-77 on development agenda

 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the bloc of developing countries, known as the Group of 77 (G-77) and China, to ensure that concrete and actionable measures are adopted at the forthcoming UN conference on sustainable development in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

“Safeguarding the environment is a fundamental priority of the Rio process,” Ban said at a ceremony at the UN headquarters, where Argentina handed over the chairmanship of the G-77 to Algeria.

PANA reported that Ambassador Jorge Arguello of Argentina handed over the G-77 chairmanship to Ambassador Mourad Benmehidi of Algeria.

The Secretary-General said the international community would  gather at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in June to chart a course towards a more sustainable and equitable world.

He said the Conference would focus on two themes – a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and an institutional framework for sustainable development.

“Promoting balanced and stable economic growth and ensuring social equity are essential. Yet the challenges loom large. The debt crisis continues in Europe and elsewhere. Markets are volatile. Budgets are getting squeezed.  Unemployment is unacceptably high.

“The United Nations, with the full commitment of its membership, must act resolutely and decisively,” Ban said.

On the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Secretary-General also urged the G-77 and China to strive to ensure that the targets are attained by the 2015 deadline.

“We must also begin thinking about the next steps beyond 2015. I invite the G-77 and China to be active in the dialogue regarding the post-2015 international development agenda.

“In the coming year and beyond, we have a historic opportunity to reshape the way we think about development,” he said.

Also speaking, the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, stressed the need for coordinated action by
G-77 and China to ensure successful outcome of Rio+20.

“I am convinced that under the strong leadership of Algeria, Rio+20 negotiations will lead to a successful outcome and will be an opportunity to give effect to a new vision,” Al-Nasser said in a speech delivered on his behalf by his chef de cabinet, Mutlaq al Qahtani.

The G-77 was established in 1964 by 77 States, and the group now includes more than 130 countries, some two thirds of the UN membership, and over 60 per cent of the world’s population

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