Mario Arvelo in the Group of 77
The Group of 77 is a coalition for the debate of strategies and the convergence of policies, bringing together 135 developing countries from all regions of the world. The G77 identifies common positions and strengthens the negotiating capacity of its member States at United Nations agencies based in Rome: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP). Mario Arvelo chaired the group in 2009, was its Vice-Chair in 2008, and is the dean of the G77 in Rome; in 2018-20 he sat at the G77’s Board.
Mario Arvelo addresses the plenary session of the Group of 77 held on 1 October 2019 at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The former G77 Chair asked delegates to once again renew our commitment to the governance of the UN in general and to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in particular, expressing his support for the candidacy of Thailand’s Thanawat Tiensin to succeed him as CFS Chair. Also on the podium, the Ambassadors of Indonesia (and G77 Vice-Chair) Esti Andayani, and South Sudan (and G77 Chair) Natalina Mou.
Dean and former Chair of the Group of 77 in Rome Mario Arvelo addresses the plenary session of the G77 held on 24 January 2014. In that intervention, he invited delegates from developing countries to renew our commitment to the governance the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP), the key specialized agencies that support government plans for social and economic development, as they lead humanity’s fight against the plagues of hunger and the various forms of malnutrition. He also made a call to strengthen the Committee on World Food Security (CFS, of which Arvelo would be Chair in 2017-19), as it is the most inclusive platform for dialogue, debates, and global strategic decisions that build the route to the eradication of hunger and poverty, which is of enormous human, political, and technical value for developing countries.
In a presentation to the plenary of the Group of 77 in January 2014, Mario Arvelo highlighted arguments for unity and good practices, calling on delegates from developing countries to broaden and deepen their participation in the governance tasks of the United Nations system. Given that when taking on international responsibilities Permanent Representatives are also committing time and energy to the task at hand, and that such investment translates into institutional strengthening, the so-called Global South must be increasingly active. The reason is self-evident: while the UN agencies are universal in nature —receiving contributions from, and providing services to, all of its member States— the richest countries cover the bulk of the financial budget of the system. Developing countries, even with large differences in the size of their economies, have less room for contributing their view to the strategic direction of international organizations. According to the UN Charter, all member States are equal; however, when measured by the ability to unite economic power with political will, the most prosperous countries have an original advantage, such as a race in which some athletes are allowed to start running earlier than others. There is another less tangible budget, one of political capital, that is at least as valuable as the strictly financial one. Contributing to the governance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP) from their political, technical, and administrative bodies is of particular importance for developing countries because, while providing institutional strengthening to these agencies and to the system as a whole, the involvement of the so-called Global South in leadership tasks provides a perspective that enriches the policy dialogue at all levels.