At the G77 summit in Cuba: Demand for more influence for the Global South

“After all the time the North has organized the world according to its interests, it is now up to the South to change the rules of the game,” Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel said Friday at the opening of the two-day summit in Havana.

The developing and emerging countries are the main victims of a “multidimensional crisis” in the world, said Díaz-Canel. This ranges from “abusive, unjust trade” to global warming and its consequences. The Cuban head of state complained about an “international architecture” that was “hostile” to the progress of the Global South.

At the summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres also called for a world order that is “more representative and more responsive to the needs of developing economies.” They are currently “caught in a tangle of global crises”.

134 states part of the G77

Cuba took over the rotating chairmanship of the G77 in January. The group was founded in 1964 by 77 states from the Global South in order to better assert their interests internationally. It now includes 134 states, meaning the association represents around 80 percent of the world’s population. China participates in the alliance’s demands but does not consider itself a member.

The People’s Republic is represented in Havana by top official Li Xi, who is responsible for party discipline. Around 30 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia and Latin America are also taking part, including the presidents of Angola and Mozambique, Joao Lourenco and Filipe Nyusi, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The heads of state of Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Nicolás Maduro and Alberto Fernández, also traveled. In Havana, her Colombian colleague Gustavo Petro called for international negotiations on debt relief for poor countries in view of the climate crisis in order to release public money “that will allow us to pay for the transformation to a CO2-free economy”. Reducing the huge mountains of debt of developing countries and creating a new financial architecture were also central topics at the African climate summit in Nairobi at the beginning of the month.

Jean Harris

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