HAVANA — The U.N. secretary-general called Friday for nations to build a world that is more fair for developing countries, as he kicked off a summit in Cuba of the G77 group of emerging economies plus China.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that while many of the countries of the G77 have helped lift millions of people from poverty, they still face a lot of crises, including hunger, inflation, climate disasters and debt, and they haven’t gotten enough help.
“The conclusion is clear: The world is failing developing countries,” Guterres said in Spanish.
The summit of G77 group, which was founded in the 1960s, is taking place in Cuba just a few days ahead of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“The voice of the G77 plus China will always be essential at the United Nations,” Guterres said. “And I count on your group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power, and fight: Champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries.”
He added that the world should “create a fairer future for developing countries.”
Cuba’s president and the host of the meeting, Miguel Díaz-Canel, welcomed the delegates and asked the group to look for ways to fight against unilateral sanctions against some of its members, like the ones the U.S. has imposed against his island nation.
Only a few delegations were led by their presidents, some of whom are expected to travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
Among the leaders who gathered in Cuba are the presidents Alberto Fernández of Argentina; Gustavo Petro of Colombia, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.
The summit was focused on science, technology and innovation, and Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, urged participants during his speech to think about who owns and controls technology.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley railed against the U.S. blockade on Cuba in her speech, calling it “callous and brutal.” She also called Cuba a beacon among developing nations in innovation through science and technology. “With little, you have done much,” she said.
Mottley also warned that science and technology should not be allowed to run amok, and that accountability and transparency are needed so that democracy doesn’t unravel.
China was represented by Li Xi, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. His nation “remains committed to building technological change that will reduce digital divides,” he said.