Global Policy Forum



Adopted by the 22nd Meeting of Chairmen/Coordinators of the Group of 77 Chapters
Geneva, 7-9 July 1997

Meeting at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 7 to 9 July 1997 under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Daudi N. Mwakawago (United Republic of Tanzania) Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York, the Chairmen/Coordinators of Chapters of the Group of 77 in New York, Geneva, Nairobi, Paris, Vienna, Rome and Washington D.C. adopted the following Statement of Principles on UN Reform:

1. We attach high political importance to the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in promoting international cooperation for economic and social development. We strongly believe that the United Nations should be allowed to develop its full potential in the field of international economic cooperation. To that end, the realization of the right to development should be given utmost priority by the United Nations.

2. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen and revitalize the role of United Nations in the area of development. We are committed to support UN bodies, programmes, funds and specialized agencies which serve the developmental objectives of developing countries. To this end, we reaffirm our commitment to support the ongoing process of reform which should be guided by the following fundamental principles:

(i) The reform process must strengthen the UN's ability to fulfil its role and functions in the development field, with the General Assembly providing the leadership to ensure the fulfilment of the social and economic goals enunciated in the United Nations Charter;

(ii) The reform process should be carried out with the primary objective of strengthening the capacity of the Organization to address development issues and to respond effectively to the development needs of developing countries. It should not be motivated by the aim of downsizing the United Nations and achieve savings;

(iii) The developmental tasks of the United Nations are of fundamental importance and may not be treated as secondary to its peacekeeping, human rights and humanitarian functions. Managerial measures to reduce overlap of functions, eliminate redundancies and minimize fragmentation are exceedingly important, but must be subservient to the larger goals of the reform process;

(iv) The United Nations must carry out its mandated, comprehensive role in the economic and social areas. This includes policy analysis, consensus building, policy formulation and coordination, and delivery of technical assistance to developing countries;

(v) The United Nations General Assembly's role in the area of macro-economic policy formulation and coordination has to be strengthened and the core economic issues must be restored to the top of the United Nations' agenda;

(vi) The United Nations, by virtue of its universal membership, is the most credible organization for performing developmental tasks. Assumption of some of these tasks, especially economic policy formulation and coordination, by limited groups outside the UN system is not the best way of ensuring equitable economic growth and development. Equally, the tendency to have these functions performed by organizations within the UN system with "weighted" means of decision-making, on the misleading grounds of "comparative advantage", is neither sustainable nor beneficial in the long run;

(vii) All reform proposals must aim at giving greater effect to the principles of transparency, pluralism, and democracy which are the unique strengths of the United Nations. This means ensuring the availability of multiple perspectives/analyses on critical socio-economic issues and the strengthening of democratic decision-making processes;

(viii) The functioning of organizations within the United Nations system which do not fully observe democratic norms should be comprehensively reviewed. The decision-making process of the Bretton Woods Institutions should be reformed to allow for greater democracy, universality and transparency;

(ix) The reform of the Secretariat should be undertaken in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. These resolutions stress that restructuring of the Secretariat should proceed with the objective of enhancing the effective implementation of the objectives of the Charter; emphasize the prerogative of the General Assembly in the creation, transfer and abolition of posts; assert the principle of equitable geographical representation in the staffing of the Secretariat; and preclude the monopoly on senior posts of any States or group of States;

(x) A primary pre-requisite for enhancing United Nations effectiveness is to have stable, predictable and adequate financing for the United Nations. Member States must fulfil their legal obligations to pay their contributions promptly, in full and without conditions, in accordance with Article 17 of the Charter, and take concrete actions to clear their arrears within a reasonable and defined time-frame and without any conditionalities.

3. In making this Statement of Principles, we pledge our support to the strengthening of the United Nations, and reiterate our firm determination to participate actively in the ongoing process of reform of the Organization.


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