G77 urges multilateral focus for UN

The Group of 77 developing nations and China have begun the final two-day session, focussing on reform of the UN with the promotion of multilateralism rather than the power of particular states.

    Qatar's foreign minister said rich nations should honour pledges

    The group will also call on wealthy countries to honour pledges of additional aid to close the gap between rich and poor.

    According to a draft resolution approved by foreign ministers for the start of a two-day conference in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday, delegates will urge rich countries to meet their obligations by raising official development assistance to 0.7% of gross national product.

    The target was set by the United Nations several years ago, but most industrialised countries are a long way from meeting it.
    The 132-member bloc is also demanding that 0.15% to 0.2% of official development assistance be directed to the least developed countries. 

    "Developing countries do not need new pledges," Qatari Foreign Minister Shaikh Hamad bin Jasim Al Thani told the opening session of the ministers' meeting on Monday. "They await the effective implementation of previous pledges."

    If all wealthy nations boosted their aid budgets to the UN target level, it would raise tens of billions of dollars in needed funds. 
    Debt relief

    Debt relief should not come with
    strings attached, said ministers

    The draft declaration also calls for more debt relief for developing countries, including the cancellation of all government debt owed by the least developed countries.
    Ministers welcomed a decision by the industrialised nations to write off some debt but said it should come with no strings attached. 

    "The G77 and China welcome any initiative to write off debts, but our position is that the debt relief must be without conditions," Qatari Minister of State Ahmad bin Abd Allah al-Mahmud said.

    "We are not aware if the rich countries' decision involves conditions... Any conditions to the decision will create problems," he added.

    No strings attached

    Algerian presidential envoy Abd al-Aziz Belkhadem called on wealthy nations to reduce the debt burden on poor African nations by transforming part of it into social investments, chiefly in education and health.   

    "Developing countries do not need new pledges ... they await the effective implementation of previous pledges"

    Hamad bin Jasim Al Thani,
    Qatari foreign minister

    Belkhadem said that total debt owed by African countries amounted to $350 billion, "which is the same amount paid by Europe alone as subsidies for its agriculture sector annually".
    He said the problem had yet to be properly addressed, adding that any solution "must not involve political preconditions that may only aggravate their financial burden". 
    More demands

    The draft declaration also expresses criticism of the unilateral economic sanctions imposed by the United States on Cuba and Syria.
    It urges the international community to take effective steps to eliminate the use of coercive economic measures against developing countries.

    The draft also expresses concern that globalisation has produced uneven benefits and that the world economy has been characterised by slow and lopsided growth and instability.



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