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Questions économiques

Statement of H.E Idriss Jazairy, Conference on the Global South Agenda for a sustainable World “G77 + China: Teamwork in the face of Moving Goalposts”

 

Conference on the

Global South Agenda for a sustainable World

 

Statement of H.E Idriss Jazairy

Ambassador Permanent Representative of Algeria

 

“G77 + China: Teamwork in

the face of Moving Goalposts”

 

 

Cliquez ici pour télécharger la vidéo du discours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Geneva, 1st December 2011

 

 

Mr Secretary General of Unctad,

Mr President of the Energy Pact Foundation,

Excellencies,

 

Honoured guests,

 

I am pleased to be able to address you through this video message despite my leading an Algerian delegation in another Continent.

First let me congratulate the Distinguished organizers of the Conference for this initiative whose value was recognized by Algeria and by other countries through their very high level of representation yesterday.

I was privileged myself to participate in the creation of Unctad in 1964. At the time, we felt we could really change the cruel world we live in. Our enthusiasm energised the preparation of the Algiers Charter of the G77 in 1967, the NAM Summit in 1973 and the 6th Special Session of the General Assembly that the Algeria then initiated. I chaired in the same spirit the Committee of the Whole of the General Assembly in 1978.

I refer to a bygone era that today’s Conference is commemorating only to sharpen the contrast with current day discourse on development in UN fora.

In those days our action was intended to be transformative of a structure of international relations that was detrimental to the collective aspirations of our peoples.

The feeling of responsibility of former colonial powers and the ideological East-West rivalry gave developing countries some space within which to challenge the international status quo. Our countries, emerging from a similar colonial past, found common language to advocate a restructuring of the prevailing exploitative international order.

With the shift thereafter in the geo-strategic power balance at world level, a gradual displacement occurred of the goalposts of the multilateral development paradigm.

The reform of the international system was relegated to the back-burner.

A system-neutral series of 8 world development objectives encapsulated in the outcome of the UN Millennium Summit replaced it. Of these objectives, seven had to do with domestic policies and the eighth related to doing more of the same in international partnerships.

Thus our action from transformative became incrementalist and from outward looking became more inward looking. 

As human right concerns gained greater prominence during the last decade they permeated the development debate.

From then on our action from being incrementalist, became subject to the “compliance syndrome”.

The country-performance focus of the current development debate is just that: a paradigm encompassing an assessment by the international community of the governance and relative internal performance of individual, mainly developing, countries in terms of compliance with new market driven and market responsive norms.

Emphasis shifted from country economic entitlement to country compliance, with these norms being taken as given. At the same time the world was rocked by a dearth of international regulatory policies. Yet such policies, to be drawn up through a broad participatory process, were required to ensure that compliance by individual States with market norms adds up to a coherent whole at world economic level.  

In the absence of regulatory action, the world economy has thus become hostage to fortune, or at best to the whims of the most powerful actors or of the greediest speculators.

Developing countries are also exposed to the challenge of entitlements to collective civil and economic rights, whether the right to self-determination and sovereignty over natural resources or the right to development. 

Consigning collective right to the realm of illegitimacy runs amok of inter alia the Declaration on the Right to Development. The Declaration stipulates that development “is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy, economic, social cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized”

So developing countries now find themselves competing against one another for the best international classification based on exogenous compliance standards. Their ranks are further exposed to division tactics aiming at transforming designation of their sub-group specificities into separate or even opposed political entities.

Solidarity within the G77 + China is contingent on the exercise of effective sovereignty of all its Members over their economies despite the erosion of this concept in the era of globalisation.  .  

Sovereignty of developing countries today is occasionally even further at jeopardy. This results from the ever broader interpretation of the rights of powerful States to hold other weaker States to account multilaterally and to enforce on the latter compliance with set norms.

Admittedly, the failure of internal policies long since past their use-by date in some developing countries have themselves beckoned outside intervention.

This is a time for the G77 + China to pause and to rethink the ingredients of their solidarity. They can reiterate today as they did in the Charter of Algiers “that the primary responsibility for their development rests on them”. Across the developing world, emerging economies are showing the way in this regard. More, they are contributing to a new dawn in the current darkness that has befallen the world economy.      

But the Group remains as in 1967 convinced that “a fuller mobilisation and more effective utilization of domestic resources of developing countries is possible only with commitment and effective international action”.

Such international action is about engaging with globalisation while not taking it merely as a given. The G77 + China needs to act as a market maker and not just as a market taker. We need, through collective action, to introduce a fairer and smarter international regulatory system, one that will promote economic equity and coherence at world level. We need to spearhead action to avoid a repetition of current economic, financial, environmental and food crises and to protect vulnerable groups. Finally we need to avoid distorted interpretations of legitimate, internationally agreed concepts.

There are now three unique opportunities for the G77 and China to show their mettle: In Durban this month, in Doha in April 2012 and in Rio in June 2012, the aim could be:

1.     to obtain recognition of historic responsibilities in the production of GHGs and to promote a sharing of the burden of remedial action accordingly;

2.     to give substance to the Green Climate Fund;

3.     to agree on a modicum of regulatory action to reconcile globalisation with agreed Development Objectives;

4.     to promote a comprehensive approach to sustainable development encompassing equity and broad-based human development. 

Otherwise it‘ll be business as usual:

Each country will continue to decide unilaterally what to do profitably to address global warming to the extent necessary to mitigate its short term impact on its own territory. This will lead to exceeding by far the 2% temperature increase upper limit proclaimed in Copenhagen in December 2009.

As for the Green Fund it could become just a private profit-seeking investment fund.

Under such circumstances, globalisation may just ensure survival of the fittest, an option which the majority of humankind in developing countries may violently reject.

Finally, the “sustainable development” concept may be replaced by the “green economy” concept. Thereby, developing countries would provide new markets for exports of western multinationals or become sites for outsourcing the latter’s polluting activities. At the same time the exports of members of our Group of nations will themselves be subjected to a new form of “green” protectionism from advanced partners.

The consequences of the action we, as developing countries, take or fail to take, will ultimately impact both on the welfare of our peoples and on that of the peoples of developed countries, very much in the same way in the longer run.

This is why ultimately, we have a common stake in the South and in the North to behave as “eco-citizens” and not as “ego-citizens” as it were.