he emergence of the Group of 77 (G-77) is now recognized as one of the most important political phenomena of the post-Second World War era especially within the evolution of the United Nations system. However, this statement still underestimates the significance of that enduring compact of the 77 developing countries in 1964 in terms of a singular achievement of our humanity that was to influence and reshape multilateral diplomacy and consequently the economic, social and ecological management of the relationship of the human race with our blue planet.
Fifty years later as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the G-77, we can only look back and wonder how those founding members managed the nearly impossible by creating a compact that not only greatly enhanced the function of the United Nations, but was the very essence of the democratic principles of equity and justice, giving as it did an effective voice to the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the disinherited, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the exploited, and empowered them on the road to mastering their own destiny.
The unity of the G-77 was not founded on homogeneity of political systems or a single identity of economic interests. It was based on a shared and common perception of the inequitable nature of the then existing economic order, the unfair and unethical rules of the game and the necessity to change them.
The early achievements of the G-77 within the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) were remarkable by all standards of multilateral diplomacy. The Group pushed the boundaries of development for a new world order well beyond the humble expectations of the founders. As an alliance and a compact that had no official institutional architecture or secretarial support system, no written rules of procedures, and worked solely by consensus without having to resort to voting on their common stand in all 50 years of its existence, is nothing short of a miracle and yet, with a single voice, the Group spoke and negotiated in every field of human endeavour on behalf of the greater majority of the human race; this, in spite of the significant differences among and diversity within the members of the Group.
To the frustration of their interlocutors, this diverse and heterogeneous group was able to overcome civilization's prejudices and conflicting political ideologies to work together fashioning consensus on intricate economic issues that impacted the daily...