India offers to share expertise with G-77
Live Punjab News Service
New York -- India has reiterated its full support to the Group of 77 developing countries' efforts to find cooperative solutions, offering to share its expertise in all areas including science and technology.
"We are unwavering in our support for greater South-South cooperation and the need to continue to enhance our cooperation with our partners in developing countries," Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the 13th Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 here Friday.
India also supported the Economic and Social Council playing its due role in promoting awareness and giving policy guidelines in the area of development cooperation. The central question is one of political will in allowing ECOSOC to discharge its responsibility, he said.
An early conclusion of ongoing consultations in the UN General Assembly on this question, incorporating the G-77 proposals, would be a step in the right direction, said Mukherjee who is leading the Indian delegation to the general debate of the 61st session of the Assembly.
India is also willing to share its expertise, including in frontier areas of science and technology, and is indeed doing so already with several partner countries, he said.
The current impasse across all areas of negotiations under the Doha round threatens to jeopardize the development prospects of developing countries and is a matter of serious concern for developing countries, he said.
Expressing disappointment at the suspension of Doha round of trade negotiations, Mukherjee said, "Demands for reduction of de minimis payments by all countries is unacceptable to developing countries with subsistence farming and resource poor farmers."
But it is also important for developing countries to maintain flexibilities and policy space in order to avoid the danger of deindustrialisation for some developing countries, he said as the overarching principle of special and differential treatment remains a categorical imperative.
It is important that resumption of negotiations carry forward the progress made, that precise, effective and operational special and differential treatment for developing countries must be an integral to all aspects of the outcome of the negotiations, Mukherjee said.
"And the outcome should deliver on the developmental imperatives embodied in the Doha Work Programme," he said.
"The UN has an overriding role in the area of development. The 2005 World Summit and the agreements reached for the follow-up on "development" provide us with an opportunity to restore the primacy of the UN in dealing with the development agenda," Mukherjee said.
Enhancing voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting remains a matter of concern, he said stressing the need for a comprehensive reform of international financial architecture.
The development agenda of the UN needs to be an inclusive one, going beyond the Millennium Development Goals and encompassing the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits.
The need to address the concerns of the Least Developed Countries, the Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States, can hardly be overemphasized, he told the Group of 77, which actually includes 132 developing countries and China.
Intellectual property rights regimes are also often used as tools to restrict control and deny technologies rather than facilitate their transfer to developing countries, Mukherjee said suggesting integration of development dimensions into such regimes as quickly as possible.
The international community also needs to find pragmatic ways to promote research and development in developing countries, he said.
Welcoming Pakistan on its election as the chairman of the Group of 77 for the year 2007, Mukherjee said India was confident that Pakistan would effectively pursue the interests of the Group of 77 while protecting the long-standing positions of the group on issues of vital interest to developing countries.
In his address to the the Group of 77, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged them to work towards reforming the United Nations on the basis of the "three pillars" of development, security and human rights, saying that while the world body has made progress, much remains to make it more efficient and proactive.