Reform WTO and financial architecture, says action plan

An action programme adopted by the G77 South Summit on 14 April sets out positions and proposals for future action in five major areas: globalisation, knowledge and technology, South-South cooperation, North-South relations and institutional follow-up.

Martin Khor

THE Havana Programme of Action, together with a separate Declaration, was adopted at the close of the Summit meeting of the G77 plus China. According to official count, there were 69 countries present at the level of heads of state or government or vice-presidents or deputy premiers.

On the world trading system, the Programme of Action (POA) calls for intensified efforts to 'review and reform the WTO regime', acknowledges the need to achieve 'common positions' on aspects of the review of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and advocates agriculture negotiations taking fully into account the special needs of developing countries for food security and rural employment.

The political leaders also pledged to work towards reform of the international financial architecture and pursue efforts to harmonise the South's position on monetary and financial matters.


On Globalisation, the POA says the North-South income gap has widened and those countries which seemed to have adapted well to globalisation were the most seriously affected by the Asian financial crisis. There is no automatic process by which income levels of developing countries will converge towards those of developed nations. The challenge is to ensure that globalisation takes into account the development dimension.

'We are concerned over the increased marginalisation of a large number of developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries, owing to the globalisation process, particularly in the finance, trade and technology sectors.

'In addition, globalisation has increased the vulnerability of those countries of the South which are in the process of being integrated into the world economy. As the recent financial crisis has illustrated, financial liberalisation including speculative and volatile financial flows... has generated significant instability in the international economy, with specially disastrous results for the developing countries. Therefore, there is an increasing need for the reform of the international financial architecture.

'In this context, we should seek to ensure a more democratic and fair ordering of any mechanism which emerges from these discussions in order to increase the effective participation of developing countries in the management of the international economy. It will also be important to ensure that the reform of the international financial architecture addresses financing for development as well as issues of financial stability including the need for the regulation of hedge funds and highly leveraged institutions and strengthening of the early warning system to provide for improved response capabilities to help countries deal with the emergencies and spread of financial crises.'

The POA said that the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) should contribute to the debate on issues related to the strengthening and reforming of the international financial architecture by continuing to provide relevant analysis from a development perspective. The focus should be to achieve the objective of financing for development.

As a number of underlying principles governing globalisation and trade liberalisation have been formalised in the Uruguay Round agreements, 'there is a need to address those aspects which have clearly operated to the disadvantage of developing countries and immediately implement fully the provisions for special and differential treatment in favour of developing countries.'

'We are distressed that since the Ministerial Meeting in Marrakech in 1994 establishing the WTO, little has been done to develop an effective programme of concrete measures to assist the integration of these countries into the multilateral trading system. Of concern also is the volatility of international markets which have witnessed the deterioration of prices of commodities and terms of trade, which have imperiled the ability of developing countries in the global economy.

'In this respect, it is necessary to adopt measures that improve access for all products of export interest to developing countries to the markets of developed countries, by reducing or eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers, and by introducing measures that support capacity-building for production and export in our countries, as well as other measures that help to guarantee the stability of the prices of these products in the international markets.'

The Programme calls for promoting, within the framework of the WTO, the idea of the creation of a fund for development.

The POA also has two paragraphs on the right of self-determination and on human rights that had been a major bone of contention at the Summit. The approved paragraphs state:

ÔWe reaffirm the right to self-determination of all peoples, in particular of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, and the importance or the effective realisation of this right, as enunciated, inter alia, in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights. We decide to continue working for removing the obstacles to the realisation of the right of peoples to self-determination.

'We stress that democracy, respect for all internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, transparent and accountable public administration and governance, responsive to the needs of peoples, in all sectors of society, as well as effective participation by our citizens and their organisations are an essential part of the necessary foundations for the realisation of people-centred sustainable development. We also stress that every State has the inalienable right to choose political, economic, social and cultural systems of its own, without interference in any form by another State.'

In the action proposals, the heads of state and government committed themselves, among others:

(1) To respond to globalisation with a view to making it beneficial for all countries and peoples, and to actively promote effective participation of developing countries in international economic policy decision-making in the context of the globalising world economy

*l Convene a High-Level Advisory Group of eminent personalities and intellectuals to prepare a report on globalisation and its impact on developing countries, and report to the annual Ministerial Meeting in the year 2001.

* Intensify efforts to review and reform the WTO regime with a view to promoting a multilateral trading system that is fair, equitable and rules-based, and that operates in a non-discriminatory, inclusive and transparent manner, and in a way that provides benefits for all countries, especially developing countries. This will involve, among other things, improving market access for goods and services of particular interest to developing countries, resolving issues relating to the implementation of WTO agreements, fully implementing special and differential treatment, facilitating accession to the WTO, and providing technical assistance. Invite member States to consult and make efforts as necessary for coordination of the position of developing countries prior to UNCTAD and WTO meetings, including through Ministerial Meetings.

* Work to ensure that countries whose economies depend heavily on trade preferences be accorded the necessary transition period by the WTO to adjust to the new liberalised regime.

* Ensure the establishment of a work programme for small economies to enhance their capacity to participate more effectively in the international trading system.

* Work towards reform of the international financial architecture that addresses issues of financing for development and stability of the international financial system, including the need for regulation of hedge funds and highly leveraged institutions and strengthening of the early warning system to provide for improved response capabilities to help countries deal with the emergencies and spread of financial crises.

* Oppose application of all disguised protectionist measures such as labour standards and attempts to further widen the environmental windows currently existing under the rules. We pledge to work together to ensure that linkages which act to curb the comparative advantage of developing countries are eschewed in the WTO.

* Press for the freer movement of natural persons, in which developing countries have comparative advantage in the global economy, thus matching the arrangements applied in other areas such as finance and services. While the capital markets have been opened, including in developing countries, there has hardly been any movement in opening of the labour market in developed nations, particularly within the context of forthcoming negotiations on trade in services.

* Call on the relevant institutions to work towards the early completion of a vulnerability index.

* Urge UNCTAD with Common Fund for Commodities to assist developing countries in handling commodities in an integrated manner with attention on improving their prices, developing their processing, transportation and availability of capital and technology for production.

* Pursue efforts to harmonise the South's position on monetary and financial matters and, in this context, welcome the decision to convene annual coordinating meetings between the chairmen of the G77 and G24 prior to the IMF/World Bank spring and autumn sessions.

(2) To revitalise and strengthen the role of the UN system in promoting development and international cooperation in the context of globalisation

* Work for decisions on critical economic issues in institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO... through effective and full participation of all and on the basis of sovereign equality, and by asserting the key role of the UN in this sphere.

* Continue to pursue complementarity and coordination among the UN agencies, especially UNCTAD, and other relevant international organisations including the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO with the view to promoting the development of developing countries while avoiding the imposition on governments of cross-conditionalities and other conditions which would operate to restrict their policy options further.

(3) To preserve and promote cultural diversity especially in the context of globalisation

* Invite the South's governments and institutions to preserve and promote diversity in traditions, culture and identity of the people, as well as indigenous and local traditional knowledge, practices and technology for achieving local development, and request the chairman of the G77 to examine organising a Southern Cultural Assembly, Art Festival of the South on a biennial basis, and to promote and intensify cultural exchanges and tolerance among the developing countries.

(4) To utilise institutions in the South in meeting the challenges of globalisation

* Invite the G77 chairman to coordinate networking of research institutions from the South to research on globalisation to strengthen the G77's negotiating capacities. Intensify efforts at institutional capacity-building, including through the exchange of expertise, experiences, information and documentation between the institutions of the South.

Knowledge and technology

In a section on Knowledge and Technology, the POA notes that the North-South technology gap is contributing to the increasing income gap and that technological advances carry risks and have potentially destructive implications, particularly on the environment. It is deeply concerned that the role of the UN has been progressively marginalised over the years.

'Moreover, the provisions under the TRIPS Agreement relating to the transfer of technology should work to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technical knowledge and should facilitate transfer of all required technologies to developing countries. Faced with the threat of increasing technological marginalisation of the South, we have decided to make science and technology a priority item...

'We are aware that a number of barriers have prevented the developing countries from seizing opportunities to exploit science and technology, including lack of resources to generate and exploit traditional knowledge, particularly those of indigenous communities, the non-recognition of traditional knowledge - in technological development and patenting - lack of infrastructure, prohibitive costs of acquiring knowledge and technology and small size of their economies, including the challenges resulting from the changing role of the State, the emergence of such patenting which promotes corporate monopoly and the progressively decreasing importance assigned to science and technology on the international development agenda.'

In terms of action proposals, the POA agreed on:

(1) Promotion and development of knowledge and technology in the South

* Work towards eradicating illiteracy and promoting the concept of Education for All Throughout Life, towards addressing basic and other infrastructural impediments to the spread of knowledge, publish national reports with data on national scientific and technology capacities.

* Work together as countries of the South to exchange experiences and cooperate with others among us who have a competitive advantage in various areas; establish a G77 science and technology award for individuals from the South who have distinguished themselves in the area of science and technology; promote the establishment of venture capital funds to promote science- and knowledge-based industries.

(2) To encourage the institutions of the South to launch further initiatives to promote knowledge and technology in developing countries

* Establish a trust fund for the promotion of knowledge and technology in the South; establish a consortium on knowledge and technology to promote joint ventures in the South in the field of science and technology; encourage South-South scientific organisations to further expand their South-South fellowships and training programmes.

* Exploit the potential of communications and information technology through measures that should narrow the North-South information gap; establish a South-South network linking R&D institutions on the development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for the prevention and cure of major communicable diseases in the South, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.

* Consider convening a South-South high-level conference on science and technology, with a view to formulating global strategies and clear policies within the South for the promotion of science and technology.

(3) To harness expatriates from the South for the benefit of developing countries and to address the brain drain

* Create conducive conditions in our countries in order to attract and retain our important human resources; encourage South-South transfer of skills through the UN Volunteers Programme; encourage scientific organisations from the South to open their chapters in developed countries and expatriate scientists from the South to run these chapters.

* Invite the chairman of the G77 to promote with relevant organisations of the UN system, Associate Schemes to provide opportunities for scientists and professionals in the South to have interaction with scientists in the North without permanently leaving their own countries.

(4) To create an enduring international environment to ensure the South's access to knowledge and technology and promote the UN's central role in removing barriers faced by the South in the acquisition of knowledge and technology

* Invite the G77 chairman to work towards strengthening the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and promote annual consideration of science and technology within the relevant UN committees; call for a better coordination within the UN system in the field of science and technology to enable the South to participate in the knowledge-based global economy.

* Increase public investment in technologies for development and work towards ensuring transfer of technologies to developing countries on preferential terms, and invite developed countries and international organisations to adopt policies and programmes with a view to ensuring that developing countries can measurably benefit from the advances in technologies owned by both public and private sectors.

* Work towards operationalising the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, Articles 7 and 8 thereof, which facilitate the access to dissemination and transfer of technologies and to explore benefits that could accrue to developing countries and particularly least developed countries. In this context, invite developing countries to hold consultations prior to international meetings related to the review of the TRIPS Agreement with a view to achieving common positions in this field. In addition, efforts should be made to ensure that future TRIPS-related agreements extend the provisions for transfer of technology from developed to all developing countries on concessional and preferential terms.

* Invite the G77 chairman to explore the possibility of formulating proposals to ensure that the TRIPS Agreement promotes the development of developing countries, including the possibility for a code of conduct for all countries which facilitates the access to, dissemination and transfer of technologies on concessional and preferential terms from developed to developing countries.

* Work towards full implementation of provisions of various conventions and agreements in order to ensure that proprietary patents based on traditional knowledge in all aspects, including those of indigenous communities, are developed only after obtaining the prior informed consent of the developing countries concerned and after reaching agreement on benefit-sharing with these developing countries which are storehouses of such biodiversity and traditional knowledge. Work towards fulfilling the clear and pressing need to extend and render effective protection to indigenous biotechnology, developed over the millennia, to ensure a flowback of benefits from patentees to original developers.

* Make universally accessible, proven appropriate technologies and safe and affordable essential medicines to prevent and mitigate HIV/AIDS pandemic and other communicable diseases.

South-South cooperation

The POA says that South-South cooperation is a crucially important tool for strengthening economic independence. However, progress over the years has not been commensurate with the commitments in the various declarations and programmes of action. The lack of effective follow-up has lessened the impact and effectiveness of such cooperation in recent years.

The tendency for decisions taken in multilateral fora at the global levels to impact directly on the developing countries makes it all the more necessary for South countries to foster increased cooperation and coordination of effort.

Among the commitments in this section are:

(1) To renew efforts to expand South-South trade and investment

* Review the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) among developing countries with a view to deepening and expanding the GSTP and invite the chairman of the G77 to convene an intergovernmental consultative meeting as soon as possible and to request UNCTAD to contribute.

* Invite the G77 chairman, in consultation with the chairman of the G77 Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the performance of the chamber and to formulate a specific programme of work. Encourage regular organisation of a business forum and a South-South trade and investment fair.

* Strengthen current modalities and mechanisms for South-South cooperation, including by regional economic groupings; intensify cooperation and integration in all modes of transport among developing countries; encourage the landlocked developing countries and the transit developing countries to further strengthen their collaboration through implementation of existing transit arrangements and agreements and to consider new arrangements and agreements in order to enhance the efficiency and increase the flow of transit trade.

* To harness industrial complementarities among countries of the South, including through promotion of practical initiatives in the area of industry to increase the productive capacity and foster enhanced South-South investment.

(2) To strengthen cooperation in the monetary and financial field

* Note the G77 Chamber of Commerce and Industry initiative to establish a G77 Trade Development Bank with its headquarters in Nairobi and branches in all regions of the G77; continue to review the proposal of the establishment of a South-South monetary fund, South-South economic and social development fund and a South-South commodity price stabilisation fund, within the process of reviewing the feasibility study of the South Bank initiative undertaken by the G77 in 1983 as an innovative financial arrangement of the South to build up capital markets and facilitate South-South trade and investment.

* Create at the national level institutional arrangements for developing and strengthening capital markets in the countries of the South. Establish linkages between the stock exchanges and secondary bond markets of the regions of the South.

(3) To strengthen cooperation in promoting social development including the enhancing of capacity-building and human resources

* Decide to exchange experiences on: pro-poor healthcare delivery, population planning and education programmes developed in the South based on local skills and resources; innovative arrangements including centres of excellence established in the South for greater spread of knowledge existing in the South in the field of social development; successful programmes focussing on youth, children and women. Incentives to attract more capital to generate more research for affordable remedies to diseases prevalent in the South; actions to promote the spread of various alternative forms of medicine existing in the South.

* Invite member States to consult and coordinate, as necessary, their position prior to the annual general conferences of all relevant intergovernmental organisations.

(4) To promote multilateral cooperation and arrangements towards the expansion of South-South cooperation

* Invite G77 countries to contribute to the expansion of the resources of the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (PGTF); publish an annual report on South-South cooperation; revitalise the role of various G77 action committees in various fields of cooperation as provided for in the Caracas Programme of Action.

* Encourage the establishment of a network among focal points of developing countries by the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC), to create a web of information for development.

* Invite the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to strengthen the TCDC Unit as the UN focal point for South-South cooperation through the preservation of its separate identity and the provision of adequate resources to ensure the full implementation of decisions of the South Summit under its sphere of competence and to enable it to carry out its relevant mandates and responsibilities.

* Promote the further use of experts from developing countries in the programmes and projects of the UN system.

* Decide to convene a high-level conference on South-South cooperation in the year 2003.

* Work to operationalise the Africa-Asia and Africa-Latin America and the Caribbean platforms for action on the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.

North-South relations

On North-South Relations, the POA says: 'We are deeply concerned about the current state of North-South relations and the weakening of the commitment of the developed countries to international cooperation in support of development that was a hallmark of these relations prior to the 1980s.

'The post-Cold War period with its promise of a peace dividend has not fulfilled the hopes and expectations of the developing world... At the same time we also note with concern the declining commitment to multilateralism which has negatively affected international cooperation for development. In fact, despite the growing prosperity of the North, the level of finance for development for multilateral assistance including ODA has experienced a continuous decline over the years.

'We have also witnessed with concern the marginalised role of the UN in decision-making on the major international economic issues and the shift of such decision-making to the Bretton Woods institutions, in which developed countries exercise effective control by virtue of the system of weighted voting, and to the WTO in which they have sought to pursue non-transparent and exclusive decision-making procedures inimical to the interest of the developing countries. These developments have adversely affected the climate for pursuing a constructive and effective dialogue between North and South...'

According to the POA, a stable international economic system rests critically on the renewal of an effective North-South dialogue. Such cooperation would need to be approached in a manner 'which is perceived by the developing countries to be equitable and fair and that will lead to fostering political will of all countries to build a constructive dialogue based on the spirit of partnership, common but differentiated responsibility, mutual benefit, and genuine interdependence.

'Within this framework we believe that a renewed North-South dialogue should seek to achieve two major objectives, namely, the restoration of the focus on development in existing international relations and the need to correct the imbalance in the operation of the international economic system which has placed the developing countries at a clear disadvantage vis-a-vis the developed countries.

'For North-South relations to play a more dynamic and central role in the global economy, we need to thoroughly evaluate the obstacles in the way these relations were conducted. We will also assess our potentials and strengths with a view to formulating strategies to effectively confront these challenges.

'In the context of North-South dialogue, special attention should be given to the solution of critical problems for developing countries, such as restrictions to world trade hindering development, the volatility and instability of the international financial system and the drastic reduction of financial flows under preferential terms and conditions towards the countries of the South; the widening technological gap between the North and the South; the worrisome foreign debt of developing nations and the extremely unequal distribution of world income to the detriment of the most vulnerable economies.

Food security

'The process of globalisation and any multilateral negotiations on agriculture must take fully into account concerns and special needs, including those related to food security and rural employment, of developing countries which are predominantly agrarian economies. Recognising that food security is an important issue, we call for the expeditious implementation of the Marrakech Ministerial decision on measures concerning possible negative effects of the reform programme on least developed and net food-importing developing countries.

'For the global economy to recover, it will be necessary to restore confidence in the international trading system, and offer new opportunities for the countries of the South to ensure access to the markets of developed countries. Towards this end multilateral trade negotiations should pay special attention to the development dimension of international trading arrangements. Similarly, the principle of non-reciprocity and the preservation and full implementation of special and differential treatment for developing countries should be firmly entrenched in the multilateral trading system.

'In the spirit of fostering North-South relations, we underline the necessity for developed countries to eliminate laws and regulations with adverse extra-territorial effects and other forms of unilateral economic coercive measures inconsistent with the principles of international law, the UN Charter and the principles of the multilateral trading system.

'We also express our grave concern over the impact of economic sanctions on the civilian population and development capacity in targeted countries and therefore urge the international community to exhaust all peaceful methods before resorting to sanctions, which should only be considered as a last resort. If necessary, these sanctions must be established only in strict conformity with the Charter of the United Nations with clear objectives, clear time frame, provision for regular review, precise conditions for their lifting and never be used as a form of punishment or otherwise exact retribution.

'We express deep concern over the air attack against El-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan on 20 August 1998. We recognise that such an act has had a negative impact on the economic and social development of the concerned country and express our continued solidarity and support of its demand for a just and fair consideration of the matter in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.'

Action proposals

In action proposals in this area, the heads of state and government committed themselves to:

(1) Foster a new North-South partnership to promote consensus on key issues of international economic relations and development

* Revitalise the North-South dialogue and to that end, invite the G77 chairman to take steps to convey promptly the G77 concerns and interests to our developed partners, including through the meetings of the G8 (leading industrial nations), and to initiate appropriate action with a view to strengthening the existing international arrangements within the UN system in coordination with other groupings from the South.

* Request the High-Level Advisory Group of eminent personalities from the South, while preparing its report on globalisation, to include therein a comprehensive assessment of the North-South dialogue.

* Work towards a comprehensive international strategy to reverse the decline in ODA, to achieve the target of 0.7% of GNP of developed countries by the end of the first decade of the 21st century and also, within that target, to ensure 0.15% of their GNP is earmarked for the LDCs and to endeavour to reach the target of 0.20% for the LDCs by the year 2000.

* Work towards outright cancellation of unsustainable debt of developing countries, and reaffirm the need for a just and lasting solution to the problem of the foreign debt of developing countries, which considers the structural causes of indebtedness and prevents the recurrence of this phenomenon in the future. In this regard, special priority is attached to the creation of appropriate conditions worldwide to curb financial volatility, ensure the necessary institutional reforms and reactivate the financial flows towards the countries of the South, and other ways of financing for development.

* Welcome and fully support the holding of the Third UN Conference on the LDCs in 2001.

* Work towards an enabling international economic environment conducive to full implementation of Uruguay Round agreements, in particular the operationalisation and strengthening of the measures relating to special and differentiated treatment for developing countries and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and proper functioning of all principles of free multilateral trading system including its universality.

* Work towards incorporating the agriculture sector within normal WTO rules. The necessary measures should be taken so as to fully address the particular problems of predominantly agrarian developing economies, small island developing economies and net food-importing developing countries.

* Pursue action to encourage the major economies of the North, particularly the G8, to enhance coordination and coherence of their macroeconomic policies with development objectives of the South.

* Support reforms which should lead to the emergence of a new financial architecture that ensures full participation of the developing countries in international economic policy decision-making and that ensures stability, transparency and democratic functioning of the international financial system.

* Work to ensure the effective integration of all countries into the international trading system, including improving supply-side capabilities of developing countries, especially the least developed among them, overcoming the debt problem and to create conditions in South countries to attract adequate financial flows, including ODA, and to ensure institutional reforms and reduced financial volatility.

* Work towards ensuring that rescheduling of debt or its cancellation is financed through additionality of resources and not at the cost of other forms of ODA.

* Work towards achievement of the universal membership of the WTO as soon as possible in order to strengthen the multilateral trading system. We strongly believe that appropriate assistance should be made available to developing countries seeking accession. They should be offered terms that neither exceed nor are unrelated to the commitments of developing-country and LDC members of the WTO. We urge that all WTO members refrain from placing excessive or onerous demands on applications from developing countries. We therefore stress the need for a transparent, streamlined and accelerated accession process that is in keeping with WTO rules and disciplines.

* Invite UNCTAD in close cooperation with the Geneva Chapter to establish and pursue a programme to elaborate trade policy tools that promote the development dimension within the multilateral trading system.

* Advocate a solution to the serious environmental problems, on the basis of the recognition of the ecological debt of the North and of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries, highlighting the need to gain access under preferential terms to the appropriate financial resources and technologies in order to ensure a sustainable development as provided in Agenda XXI.

(2) Restore the central role of the UN in global economic issues, development and international cooperation

* Invite the G77 chairman to include the issue of the role of the UN in global economic issues in G77 meetings.

* Call upon UNCTAD, in view of the significant expansion of the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs), including the increasing number of mega-mergers among corporations in developed countries as well as cross-border acquisitions in the developing countries, to monitor these activities and analyse their economic, social and environmental implications for the South with a view to maximising their potential benefits and minimising their possible negative effects.

* The contribution of the TNCs to sustained economic growth and sustainable development is determined by their global strategies characterised by the search for increased competitiveness and ever-higher profits. Such a situation is not necessarily consistent with job creation and the realisation of development objectives in many developing countries.

'In this context, with a view to achieving a balance between the business plans of TNCs and the developmental objectives of developing countries, we call upon UNCTAD and ILO, within their respective mandates, to study the impact of TNCs' activities on unemployment as well as on the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in developing countries. We also call on the TNCs to integrate the development objectives of host developing countries in their business strategies.'

Institutional follow-up

The POA also has a section on institutional follow-up, which was approved at the Ministerial session of the Summit on 14 April morning, along with the rest of the POA. However, at the closing session attended by the heads of state and government, this section was orally amended in light of the institutional decisions, including the setting-up of a South Coordination Commission, announced in the closing address of the chairman of the Summit, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. (The final amended text was to be issued later.) A motion by Ghana provided that the chairman of the Summit will be in office until the next Summit.

Obasanjo's statement (with further oral motions from the floor) said:

'We agreed firstly to strengthen our collective negotiating capacity, including the capacity for coordination and implementation of decisions, policies, and programmes. We have therefore decided to establish a Coordinating Centre utilising the South Commission outfit to be appropriately located and made up of G77 Council comprising of: the G77 chairman of the Summit, the G77 Coordinator, the chairpersons of ASEAN, CARICOM, OAU, NAM and other similar regional organisations of the South. The Council will coordinate the implementation of the South Summit's Programme of Acton as well as decisions on South-South cooperation. The Chairman of the G77 Summit, the Chairman of NAM, the Chairman of the OAU, the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Jamaica are charged with the responsibility for the establishment of the Council on behalf of the Summit.'

(Separately, it was announced that the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Jamaica will come up with the plan for this within six months.)

The POA section (before the amendments) states that while the establishment of a G77 secretariat remains relevant as recommended by various G77 Ministerial meetings, the articulation of a rational structure for the management of the affairs of the G77 is a critical priority.

Although the present loose arrangement has succeeded in achieving a reasonable level of support to the activities of the G77 chairman and members, the time has come to adopt a more structured arrangement for managing the affairs of the Group. To this end, it was decided to strengthen the existing arrangement of the Office of the Chairman of the G77 in New York.

An annual contribution of US$5,000 was decided, and those countries in a position to contribute more were invited to do so.

Complementarities and harmonisation

The G77 chairman was invited to review the complementaries and harmonisation of various programmes of action of South-South cooperation adopted by various South-South groupings, taking into account the Programme of Action tabled by NAM, Panel of Economists and other groups from the South.

It was decided to establish a special fund with a target of US$10 million to assist full implementation and follow-up of the decisions adopted by the South Summit.

The annual meeting of the Chairmen/Coordinators of Chapters of the G77 in the year 2000 should consider ways to improve coordination mechanisms among the Chapters, to strengthen arrangements for advancing the Group's positions in the UN system, and to report on this to the upcoming G77 Ministerial meeting.

It was decided to establish a research programme, including through links with research institutions in the South which have the potential to carry out analyses directly relevant to the work of the G77.

It was also decided to establish Groups of Experts in their individual capacities to review and comment upon the agendas of major multilateral conferences with a view to providing guidance on the objectives and goals of the developing countries as should be reflected in the outcome of such fora.

The G77 chairman should establish a monitoring, analysis, identification, management, follow-up and evaluation mechanism to ensure implementation of its South-South projects and initiatives.

Finally, it was decided to convene the Second G77 South Summit in the year 2005. -May 2000

About the writer: Martin Khor is Director of the Third World Network.