September 26, 2023

G77+China summit comes amid growing frustration with the Western-led world order because of widening differences over the Russian war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change and the global economic system.

Cuba’s leader says the Global South must “change the rules of the game” of the international order after centuries of dominance by wealthy Western nations putting their own interests first.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said developing countries were the main victims of a “multidimensional crisis” in the world today from “abusive unequal trade” to devastating climate change.

“After all this time that the North has organised the world according to its interests, it is now up to the South to change the rules of the game,” Diaz-Canel said at the opening of the G77+China summit in Havana.

Emerging countries represent 80 percent of the world’s population. The meeting comes at a time of growing frustration with the Western-led world order because of widening differences over the Russian war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change and the global economic system.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres joined 30 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia and Latin America at the two-day gathering.

At the opening of the meeting on Friday, Guterres called for a world “more representative and responsive to the needs of developing economies”, stressing nations were “trapped in a tangle of global crises”.

While many of the countries of the G77 have helped lift millions of people from poverty, they still face hunger, inflation, climate disasters and debt, and they have not gotten enough help, he said.

“The conclusion is clear: The world is failing developing countries,” Guterres said in Spanish.

The bloc was established by 77 countries of the Global South in 1964 “to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity”, according to the group’s website.

Latin American leaders such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Colombia’s Gustavo Petro, and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez are at the summit, alongside Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Angola’s Joao Lourenco, and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.

‘Unjust’ international order

China is represented by top Communist Party official Li Xi, who said his country “will always make South-South cooperation a priority” in its dealings with the outside world.

Fernandez said the coronavirus pandemic marked an epochal change by “exposing the inequality” in countries’ access to vaccines, noting “90 percent of vaccines were in the hands of 10 countries”.

The meeting should conclude on Saturday with a statement underscoring “the right to development in an increasingly exclusive, unfair, unjust and plundering international order”, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez earlier told reporters.

A draft of the closing statement underlines the many obstacles facing developing nations, and includes “a call for the establishment of a new economic world order”, he said.

The summit takes place just a few days ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York City.

“The voice of the G77 plus China will always be essential at the United Nations,” Guterres said. “And I count on your group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power, and fight – champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries.”

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