G77; its history and legacy
The Group of 77 (G77) emerged in 1964 as a transformative force in global economic affairs, uniting developing nations and shaping international relations by securing commitments from developed countries.
Founded back in 1964, as the fruit of the first UNCTAD conference, the G77 (the Group of 77) quickly became a focal point for the world's economic landscape.
The G77 came at the heels of the devastating aftermath of the Second World War. The Group served as a platform uniting developing nations where they could:
- voice their concerns
- advocate their interests
- coordinate their stances
- negotiate with developed nations
What made the G77 unique was its ability to unite developing nations, forging a solid platform for them to coordinate their views on global economic matters.
This unity proved instrumental in the group's ability to yield change. Muchkund Dubey, former Indian Foreign Minister and a witness to the group's formation, described the G77's mission as a "historic endeavor to change the rules of the game." The group not only established new principles and standards governing the global economic system but also confronted the staunch resistance of developed nations head-on.
Initially, the group included 75 states, but by the end of the first UNCTAD conference, Australia and New Zealand withdrew from the group and 4 developing nations were added to consolidate the organization as a 77-state group.
One of the G77's early victories was securing a commitment from developed countries to allocate 0.75% of their gross national income as development assistance to developing nations, with a deadline set for 1972. Additionally, they pioneered structural adjustments in their own economies to facilitate increased imports from developing countries.
During the heyday of international economic cooperation under the United Nations, spanning from 1964 to the late 1970s, the G77 was an active and effective force. However, as the 1980s dawned and the United Nations faced a decline, the group's influence began to wane. This was attributed to a coordinated attack on the United Nations by major developed nations, undermining its role as a forum for meaningful negotiations.
Nonetheless, the G77 left a long-lasting mark on the world stage, reshaping international relations, fostering unity among developing nations, and driving critical changes in global economic policies. It played an instrumental role in shaping the international community's approach to economic cooperation and development.
As we look back on 59 years of the Group of 77's influence, it is evident that without its existence and efforts, the world might have lagged far behind in achieving its developmental goals. The G77's legacy continues to echo in the halls of international diplomacy, reminding us of the power of unity and cooperation in a diverse and interconnected world.