W. Baldwin Spencer
Hon. Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Antigua & Barbuda
Volume 3 - North-South Dialogue

The attempt by the developing countries to persuate the developed contries to undertake joint measures aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the global economy and to enable the devoloping countries to become an integral part of this development process constitutes the essence of what has come to be known as the "North-South dialogue."

The Group of 77 was created in 1964 as a result of a collective belief that development problems, which affected all of its members, derived largely from the prevaling inequitable pattern of international economic relations. It was premised therefore on the need for the creation of an effective and dynamic negotiating body whose expertise and bargaining ability would be taken seriously by the developed countries.

Since its inception, the Group of 77 has served as a major actor and political force for developing countries to coordinate their common positions on important global economic issues in various international fora, thus helping the world community to achieve a better appreciation of the needs of the South and the importance of pormoting their development as well as strengthening international cooperation.

The major documents on the North-South dialogue contained in this publication, which were selected from the perspective of the devoloping countries, trace the progress of the development debate from itis early origins beginning with the formation of the Group of 77, followed by the Charter of Algiers which provided the foundation for its work, and the Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade in 1970 which represent one of the most significant achievements of the Group. It is worth noting that the proposal of the Group of 77 on the Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade was the first draft resolution at the UN dealing with economic issues that was introduced without the co-sporsorship of the developed countries, as had been the usual practice until then.

This historic achievement was unquestionably watershed event which marked the beginning of a new 'development diplomacy' based on a growing awareness that political independence had not been accompained by adequate progress towards eliminating the widening economic gap between developed and developing countries. Efforts to address this issue became a major focus of attention by the international community during the 1970s, particularly within the context of the United Nations system. Over time, it became clear that the development problems of the South had to be tackled in a coherent and comprehensive manner. This aproach was reflected in a number of landmark events and decisions taken in the context of the United Nations and other international fora. Collectively, these decisions and related efforts have defined the North-South agend and established clear guidelines for international global negotiations in respect of the complex issues relating to international economic cooperation for development.

Despite the challenges encountered in the North-South dialogue and the stalemate in the negotiations for changes in the international economic order, the efforts of the Group of 77 to promote greater equity in international economic relations had a lasting impact on developmental thinking and policy. In this process, the Group of 77 made a constructive contribution to the consideration of North-South issues by promoting a general understanding of the need for the development of global economic relations on a just and equitable basis.

Today the interantional community continues to be open to dialogue. Policymakers consider it worthwhile to devote special attention to international negotiations in order to promote greater understanding of the issues at stake. I do believe that if the developing countries are to engage in renewed dialogue on North-South negotiations, they would need to strengthen South-South solidarity in every possible way, most notably through the Group of 77 as the largest economic grouping of the South. They must, at the same time, update the traditional platform of the Group of 77 and the proposals they put forward as the basis for international negotiations. While much that was in the platform of the Group of 77 in 1964 remains relevant, it will need to be continuously re-cast to reflect contemporary realities in order to enhance its credibility and relevance.

It has been a previlege for my country Antigua and Barbuda, as Chair of the Group of 77 for 2008, to have contributed to the updating of the Group's development platform as part of an initiative mandated by the Second South Summit of the Group of 77 held in Doha in 2005. Out of this important exercise has emerged a revitalized development platform for the South which will certainly contribute to increasing the effectiveness and negotiating capacity for the developing countries in various international fora.

W. Baldwin Spencer
Honorable Prime Minister and Minister of
Foreign Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda
The present publication is the third volume of a continuing series entitled The Group of 77 at the United Nation, which aims to carry forward the process of documenting the actions of the developing countries at the United Nations. The other two previously published volumes are, respectively; The Collected Documents of the Group of 77: Special Anniversary Edition and South-South Cooperation.

The materials selected in this volume are the result of a compilation effort that provides a chronological record of major events on the North-South dialogue and the global negotiations with a special focus on the two major North-South gatherings held in Paris, France, from 1975 to 1977 and in Cancun, Mexico, in 1981.

In view of its multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional character, the North-South dialogue embraces activities carried out in various intergovernmental fora, both within and outside the United Nations system, which would be impossible to detail comprehensively in a single volume. Therefore, other documents relevant to the North-South dialogue will be published in future thematic volumes in the series. However, the interested reader wishing to trace the origins of the North-South dialogue, its fluctuating fortunes and the historic role that developing countries have played in its evolution should find in this volume a valuable reference on the subject.

This volume is divided into the following chapters:
  • Chapter I provides an overview of the origins of the Group of 77 and the North-South dialogue within the United Nations.
  • Chapter II contains documents related to the establishment of the New International Economic Order within the context of the Sixth and Seventh Special Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.
  • Chapter III presents materials on the first major North-South gathering, namely the Conference on International Economic Cooperation held in Paris from 1975 to 1977.
  • Chapter IV consists of major documentation on the launching of global negotiations relating to international cooperation for development.
  • Chapters V contains documentation and summary records of the proceedings of the International Meeting on Cooperation and Development held in Cancun, Mexico, in 1981 aimed at reviving the North-South dialogue.
  • Chapter VII records the submissions by the Group of 77 to various G-8 Summits within the context of North-South cooperation for development.
  • Finally, Chapter VIII draws excerpts on North-South relations from the outcome documents of the Group of 77 South Summits.
Included in this volume are two annexes. The Member States of the Group of 77 are listed in Annex I. Also under Annex II is a document entitled “The Development Platform for the South” mandated by the G-77 Second South Summit and relates to the current development challenges faced by developing countries.

In compiling this documentary record, I am most indebted to the staff members of the Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York for their invaluable contribution and continued support in the publication of the series.

Finally, the views expressed in this Series do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

Mourad Ahmia
New York
Available at the following Major Libraries
ISBN: 978-0-19-538769-8

UN Library
UN Headquarters, New York

Call No.: Ref 382(049) C698
US Congress Library
Washington D.C.

Call No.: HF1413 .G714b
New York Public Library
New York City

Call No.: JFF 08-781 v. 3
Available for purchase at the following Major Bookstores
Book Launching Ceremonies for the series held in 2010
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  • Shanghai (China)
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