VIENNA (IDN) – Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna has been appointed by consensus as the chairman of the Group of 77 (G-77), for a one-year term.
Reza Najafi, the country's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Permanent Representative to the UN in the Austrian capital, took over charge from Namibia's Permanent Representative Simon Madjumo Maruta at a ceremony on February 24, 2017.
Ambassador Najafi is the second representative of Iran to head the G-77 in Vienna since 2011. In his remarks he stressed the importance of G-77 within and outside the UN as the largest coalition of meanwhile 134 developing nations in the United Nations.
The Group was established in June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries, including Iran that were signatories of the 'Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries' issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.
Ambassador Najafi stressed in particular the importance of UN agencies in Vienna. The United Nations Office in Vienna hosts nearly 15 UN agencies and international organizations such as the IAEA, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
Among those who attended the handover ceremony were IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and UNIDO Chief LI Yong.
Vienna-based diplomats expressed the hope that the new G-77 chair would succeed in the challenging task of UNIDO being put back on track so that it remains attractive to both developed and developing nations.
And this not only to fulfil its mandate to promote industrial development for poverty reduction, but also to abide by the UN Charter that envisages "promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion".
At the UN Headquarters in New York, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja, Ecuador's Permanent Representative to the world body, chairs the Group of 77 and China.
In his remarks at G-77 handover ceremony, IAEA Director General Amano stressed the importance of the countries of the Group. "You are active collaborators in everything we do," he said, expressing his "great appreciation for the very constructive role which the G-77 plays in the work of the Agency, and for the support which you have given to me personally".
He said he was looking forward to the support of the G-77 countries in the ongoing discussions on the Agency’s Programme and Budget for 2018-2019. "It is important that we should secure at least a modest real increase in the Agency’s budget so that we can maintain the balance in our activities."
The modernisation of the IAEA nuclear applications laboratories under the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories (ReNuAL) project, which commenced in January 2014, is one of the most important initiatives ever undertaken by the Agency, said Yamano. The support of the G-77 countries had been vital for the success of ReNuAL. The project remains on schedule and within budget, he added. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 February 2017]
Photo: Ambassador Reza Najafi, Iran's Permanent Representative to the UN in Vienna.
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