The completion of 25 years of the establishment of the Vienna Chapter of the Group of 77 (G-77) was celebrated today at the Vienna International Centre. The event was attended by the Permanent Representatives of the G-77 member countries, executive heads and representatives of the Vienna-based UN and multilateral organizations and the diplomatic community.
The chairpersonship of the G-77 Vienna Chapter rotates on annual basis among its member countries and is presently held by Pakistan with Ambassador Aftab Ahmad Khokher, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Vienna, serving as the chairperson for 2023.
A video message by Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was screened at the opening of the event in which he paid tribute to the role of the G-77 as an effective platform for developing countries to claim their rightful role in global decision-making, articulate their aspirations and protect their collective interests within the UN system. He said that the G-77 had helped developing countries translate their political freedom into meaningful social and economic progress by enhancing their influence in shaping the global development agenda. Underscoring Pakistan’s commitment to the common interests of developing countries, he thanked members of the G-77 in reposing their trust in Pakistan and its Permanent Mission in Vienna led by Ambassador Aftab Ahmad Khokher.
In his remarks as the G-77 Chairperson, Ambassador Khokher said that the founding of the G-77 Vienna Chapter in 1998 was an important milestone in institutionalizing the presence of the G-77 countries’ Permanent Missions accredited to the Vienna-based organizations. With the setting up of the permanent liaison office of the Vienna Chapter, G-77 in Vienna was brought at par with other chapters in New York, Geneva, Rome, Paris and Nairobi. He said that the Group’s diversity was its strength, and its unity and solidarity sprang from the shared historical experiences and future aspirations of its members. He added that as the Group celebrated its successes in Vienna over the previous 25 years, it also needed to reflect on the continued challenges ahead including poverty and underdevelopment, food and energy insecurity, drug abuse and organized crime, climate change and conflict as well as the migration crises they triggered. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to working closely with fellow members of the Group, its external partners and the Vienna-based UN Organizations in dealing with these challenges.
Present on the occasion were Ms. Ghada Fathi Waly, Director General of the UN Office in Vienna and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime; Mr. Gerd Muller, Director General, UN Industrial Development Organizations, Mr. Hua Liu, Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, International Atomic Energy Agency; Mr. Junan Zhang, Director Legal and External, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization; Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary, UN Commission on International Trade Law; and Mr. Niklas Hedman, Acting Director, UN Office for Outer Space Affaris. In their remarks, they reaffirmed their respective organizations’ commitment to working closely with the G-77 in the pursuit of common objectives.
The first founding chairperson of the G-77 Vienna Chapter, Ms. Nozipho J. Mxakato-Diseko (Ambassador at Large for Peace and Security, South Africa), joined the event virtually.
A commemorative plaque marking 25 years of the G-77’s Vienna Chapter was unveiled by Ambassador Aftab Ahmad Khokher. It will remain at permanent display at the Vienna International Centre which serves as the headquarter of Vienna-based UN organizations.
The G-77 is a grouping of 134 developing countries which strives to take common negotiating positions across the UN system to protect and promote the interests of the Global South. Its cross-regional membership makes it an authentic articulator of the greatest coalition of humanity in the UN system. Pakistan has traditionally been one of the G-77’s most active members including in Vienna where, in addition to holding its Chairpersonship, it has also led the Group’s various Task Forces.