By SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
rrhe history of the Group of 77 is intertwined with that of the United Nations. The Group was founded in 1964 at the first session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The "Joint declaration of the seventy-seven developing countries" adopted on that occasion is infused with the goals and values found in the United Nations Charter: unity, solidarity, improved living standards, cooperation and an end to the "division of the world into areas of affluence and intolerable poverty". Today, the Group of 77 and China encompasses well over half the global population and two-thirds of the Organization's Member States--including some of the world's most dynamic economies--and is a major voice in world affairs.
This is a transformative time for the human family--an era of technological innovation, inroads against disease, gains in literacy and life expectancy and unprecedented global connectivity. But progress has not benefited everyone equally. Too many people suffer exploitation, lack fundamental freedoms and have their legitimate ambitions frustrated or denied. We see women marginalized, young people without jobs, a natural resource base in peril, and climate change deepening its impact. Our shared challenge is to conquer extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development while leaving no one behind. This is not a "G-77 issue" or a "developing countries' agenda"; this is a universal imperative on which the Group of 77 and China can continue to play a pivotal role.
Important strands of work are under way with great potential to help us realize these aspirations. We are pressing to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, building on substantial yet uneven progress across countries and regions. Member States are engaged in defining a post-2015 development agenda, to be encapsulated by a set of goals that, while global, can be tailored to national contexts and specificities. We are also striving to adopt a new global agreement on climate change, which threatens to roll back development gains and place future development objectives in jeopardy. I will convene a Climate Summit in New York on 23 September 2014 to mobilize climate action and solutions. Given the critical importance of this issue for developing countries in...