G77: A forum for global equality
The G77 effectively serves as the plenary body uniting the nations of the Global South to realize the common interests of states in the G77 coalition.
Friday will see the G77+ China summit convening in Havana. Themed "Addressing Contemporary Development Challenges: Harnessing the Power of Science, Technology, and Innovation"; this summit will see the revitalization of the Cold War organization and bring it back to the forefront of international affairs.
The G77 effectively serves as the plenary body uniting the nations of the Global South. The group was founded back in 1964 as a coalition of states within the United Nations, with the goal of promoting the interests of developing countries.
Founded in the aftermath of the Second World War and amidst the burgeoning of the Cold War, the historical context of the G77's foundation gave the group a special character. The group was defined in contrast to the geopolitical turmoil of that era to be precisely geared toward economic concerns.
What made the G77 unique was its ability to unite developing nations, forging a solid platform for them to voice their concerns, advocate their interests, coordinate their views, and accordingly negotiate with the governments and organizations of the Global North.
The Group of 77 was born at the first session of the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) conference in 1964. Initially, the group included 75 states, but by the end of the first UNCTAD session, Australia and New Zealand withdrew from the group, and four developing nations were added to consolidate the organization as a 77-state group.
Read more: G77; its history and legacy
The Group's name has remained akin to the number of its 77 founding members. However, its membership has proliferated ever since to include 134 members today, which account for 80% of the world's population.
Global South vis-a-vis Global North
The raison d'etre for the G77 is the sharp structural inequality that characterizes the world. The G77 strives to mitigate this sharp global inequality between the Global North and the Global South. Despite the dormancy that had characterized the group since the 80s, the group managed to garner some gains (such as securing a commitment from developed countries to allocate 0.75% of their gross national income as development assistance to developing nations).
The premise for the establishment of the group is that all member states are troubled by similar structures of exploitation that leave them economically poor. Thus the G77 strives to put economic prosperity at the forefront.
The proliferation of capitalism as the international economic system had disproportionate results on different nations. Stratifying the world into a Global North and a Global South (core and periphery, to put it in the language of Dependency theory): whereby the capital is accumulated asymmetrically in favor of the former.
At the core of Dependency theory is that the reigning international economic regime is essentially exploitative and not accidentally so. The exploitation of the nations of the Periphery is a precondition for the prosperity of the Core. This structural exploitation by the Core against the periphery manifests through different means such as former colonization (more than 90% of the G77 member states were victims of European/Japanese colonization, which exploited natural and human resources to accumulate wealth), and Economic Sanctions (more than 20% of the G77 member states are subject to unilateral economic sanctions by the US) etc.