The G77 Summit holding in Havana, Cuba from September 15 to September 17 is set to be a significant event in the realm of international diplomacy and cooperation.
Vice President Kashim Shettima is representing President Bola Tinubu at the Summit hosted by the President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, in his capacity as Chairman of the G77.
At the summit, VP Shettima will be joined by other world leaders including the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres.
The theme of the summit is “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation.”
Nigeria was a founding member of the G77 group established in 1964 by 77 developing countries.
Today, the group has expanded into a coalition of 134 developing countries with 80 per cent of world population, which puts it on high pedestals in the global geopolitical landscape. As G77 aims to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations, it should equally push for the pursuit of Global South’s multilateralism agenda which is already gaining momentum.
Some of the top issues expected to be on the agenda at this important gathering include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The presence of Mr. Guterres at the summit almost certainly confirmed that one of the key issues likely to be discussed at the summit is the progress made towards achieving the SDGs. The G77 will likely focus on the challenges faced by member nations in implementing the SDGs, as well as addressing the gaps in financial and technical support needed to accomplish the goals.
Given the increasing urgency of climate change, it is expected that the summit will place great emphasis on this issue. Discussions may revolve around the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the provision of climate finance to developing nations, and the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. The G77 countries, being predominantly developing nations, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and will likely seek stronger commitments from developed countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Enhancing economic development and promoting fair trade practices are likely to be an important topic on the agenda. Developing countries often face challenges in accessing global markets, and discussions may revolve around strategies to address trade barriers, promote investment, and foster inclusive growth. Issues such as debt cancellation, technology transfer, and capacity-building measures are also expected to be addressed in relation to economic development.
The G77 Summit provides an ideal platform for promoting South-South cooperation, which emphasizes collaboration and mutual assistance among developing countries. Discussions may focus on mutual cooperation, strengthening regional integration, and promoting partnerships in areas such as infrastructure development, agriculture, trade, tourism, healthcare, and education. The G77 countries are likely to explore ways to enhance cooperation and leverage their collective strengths to address common challenges.
While the G77 is primarily focused on development issues, peace and security are integral to sustainable development. The Summit may provide an opportunity for member countries to discuss regional conflicts, terrorism, and the promotion of peaceful resolutions.
The digital divide remains a significant challenge for many developing countries. The G77 Summit is set to address this issue and explore ways to bridge the gap by promoting affordable and accessible technology, digital literacy, and connectivity. Discussions will also revolve around the ethical considerations of emerging technologies, data protection, and the potential of digital innovation to drive sustainable development.
Recognizing the importance of human capital development, the summit is expected to focus on health and education as critical drivers of sustainable development. Discussions may encompass strategies to improve access to quality healthcare, strengthen health systems, and address global health challenges.
Additionally, education-related topics such as inclusive and equitable education, lifelong learning, and the role of technology in education may feature prominently on the agenda.
Interestingly, the G77 Summit is coming at the heels of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa and the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India. I expect the G77 to address geopolitics and global challenges in a manner that aligns with their broader, collective aspirations.
Representing a significant number of developing countries, the G77 should use the summit to advocate for the interests and concerns of these nations on the global stage. By collaborating with other developing economies such as the BRICS countries, the G77 should amplify their collective voice and push for a more equitable and inclusive international order.
In light of the recent BRICS Summit, which brought together major emerging economies, and the G20 Summit, which included both developed and developing nations, the G77 should seek to further strengthen South-South cooperation as a means to address global challenges.
With the backdrop of the BRICS and G20 Summits, which highlighted the importance of multilateralism and new global order, the G77 must reiterate its commitment to these principles. Member countries should emphasize the need for the reforms of international institutions such as the United Nations. They may also call for increased representation and voice for developing countries in global governance structures.
The G77 Summit should continue the trajectory set by the BRICS, focusing on mutual respect, universal brotherhood and camaraderie to resolve global challenges. By and large, the G77 should seek to influence the direction of global politics and address pressing issues such as economic imbalances, multilateralism, peace and security.