By Satyaki Chakraborty
Just four days after the holding of the G 20 summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 this year, the G77+ China held its historic summit in Havana on September 15 and 16 and came out with its Havana Declaration which was an unequivocal charter of action for the Global South for working on a new International Economic Order. The summit was the largest event of the countries of the Global South within the United Nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the G20 summit and the Government of India as also the ruling party BJP went the wholehog by claiming that the Summit was a tremendous success. Indian PM worked hard for bringing consensus on the Delhi Declaration and it goes to his credit that finally, an unanimous statement was possible. Another positive thing was the admission of the African Union as the new member of the G-20. Next year at the summit in Brazil, it will be G 21.
But whatever gains India made at the Delhi summit , especially the inclusion of the AU as the new member, lost its impact by the time the Havana summit of G-77+ China attended by more than one hundred countries ended on September 16. India was not represented neither by the Prime Minister nor the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. A senior official of the EAM represented India at the high profile summit which was attended mostly by the head of the states PM was supposed to be busy preparing for the Special session of Parliament, but what about the Foreign Minister? He could have attended the summit and still could have comfortably been present at the Special session which began on September18.
The net result was that the impression gained ground among the African and the Latin American countries that India which pioneered the non aligned movement and gave direction to G77 in earlier, has lost interest in the future of this grouping and is now focusing more on improving relations with the western nations like USA,UK, and others. Indian PM or EAM could have met with the new generation of head of states who have taken over in some of the Latin American countries promising a bright future for their people. Colombian president Gustavo Pero was there while the Brazilian president Lula da Silva took a leading part in the deliberations.
The Havana declaration says “We stress the urgent need for a comprehensive reform of the international financial architecture and a more inclusive and coordinated approach to global financial governance, with greater emphasis on cooperation between countries, notably by increasing the representation of developing countries in global decision-making and policy-making bodies that will contribute to increasing the capacities of developing countries to access and develop science, technology and innovation”. The text also criticizes digital monopolies and other unfair practices that hinder the technological development of the developing countries.
The Declaration also attacks “sanctions” and “coercive economic actions” against developing countries. “We emphasize that such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and international law, but also seriously impede the advancement of science, technology and innovation and the full realization of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.”
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel stressed at the opening of the summit that one of the aims of the event was to seek common positions so that the countries of the Global South could take their demands to other international forums. On the same day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that “global systems and structures have failed” the countries of the Global South.
President Lula on September 16 criticized the sanctions imposed by the United States against Cuba, defended the reformulation of the global governance system and also questioned technology companies. “It is particularly significant that, at this time of great geopolitical transformations, this summit is being held here in Havana. Cuba has been an advocate of fairer global governance and is even the victim of an illegal economic embargo. Brazil is against any unilateral coercive measure. We reject Cuba’s inclusion on the list of states that sponsor terrorism,” said the Brazilian head of state.
At the start of his inaugural speech, the Cuban president emphasized the importance of the group, which currently has 134 members: “Today we are two-thirds of the UN’s members, home to 80% of the world’s population,” he said.
Díaz-Canel also paid tribute to former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, recalling that he used to say that “we presidents go from summit to summit, while the peoples go from abyss to abyss.” He called for joint efforts to coordinate joint actions between the countries of the global South in order to “change the rules of the game” and achieve the “pending democratization of the system of international relations”.
“It is the peoples of the South who suffer most from poverty, hunger, misery, deaths from curable diseases, illiteracy, human displacement and other consequences of underdevelopment,” said Díaz-Canel. He described the international economic order as “unjust and ecologically unsustainable”.
Díaz-Canel questioned the international patent system and made a special complaint about international military spending and the irrationality of the fact that these resources cannot be used to improve the living conditions of the majority. “Estimates indicate that 9% of world military spending could finance adaptation to climate change in 10 years, and 7% would be enough to cover the cost of universal vaccination against the pandemic,” he estimated.
In the opening speech of UN Secretary General Guterres, he started by saying that the countries of the Global South are “caught in a web of global crises”.“Poverty is increasing and hunger is growing. Prices are rising, debt is exorbitant and climate disasters are becoming more frequent,” said Guterres. “Global systems and structures have failed them,” adding that “the conclusion is clear: the world is failing developing countries.”
The UN Secretary-General noted that in recent decades, the G77 countries and China “have lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and have come together in the United Nations in search of global solutions and solidarity.”
“To change this, we need action at the national level to ensure good governance, mobilize resources, and prioritize sustainable development. And we need action at the global level that respects national ownership, with the aim of building an international system that defends human rights and looks after the common interest,” he said. In this sense, Guterres recognized that “many current global institutions reflect a bygone era.” He highlighted the need to update the UN Security Council, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The G77+ China summit has assumed special importance in view of the move by the Let leaning Latin American governments to collaborate effectively for bringing synergy in the utilization of their natural resources. Mexico and Brazil are the leading countries pioneering this move and now Columbia, Honduras and Chile have joined the move with full efforts. These Latin American nations are looking to replace their existing developers from the western countries. India has got the appropriate technology to assist the developmental programme of these LA nations. That way, India lost a good opportunity for economic interaction. It is imperative that the Indian policy makers give due attention to the building better relationship with the G77 nations. (IPA Service)