UNITED NATIONS – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa assumed on Friday the leadership of the Group of 77 and China with a commitment to promote economic and social equality, and defend people’s rights to peace.
Correa accepted the one-year presidency during a ceremony at the G77 at the United Nations headquarters, which was also attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“Peace is not just the absence of war, but the presence of justice and prosperity,” Correa said during his speech.
“We will continue the positive work of our predecessors in promoting economic and social equality in the world (...) with the aim of ending poverty, inequality and exclusion,” he added.
The Ecuadorian president said Ecuador’s work in the G77 will focus on the development of the poorest of nations and on human rights, as well as the fight against the precariousness of the workforce in less competitive countries by Western nations.
He added that social problems would not be resolved until there is an appropriate redistribution of wealth, given that 0.7 percent of the global population owns 45 percent of its wealth.
Correa said that in his capacity of leadership at the G77 he will fight against tax havens, as he considers them among the worst enemies of poorer nations.
He added that in Latin America alone, 32 million people could be pulled out of poverty if resources hidden in tax havens were subject to taxation.
The Ecuadorian president then went on to address the immigration crisis, stressing that the solution to this was not walls or borders, but humanity and solidarity.
Guterres said during his speech that the G77 is crucial in development, and for creating the necessary conditions to minimize the risk of conflict, instability and war in the world.
He lauded Ecuador for its values of solidarity and concern for inclusive and sustainable development, democracy and human rights, and went on to underline some of the pending challenges for the organization.
The UN has a formidable bureaucracy, which is an obstacle for it in serving the member states efficiently, he said.
After the ceremony, the Ecuadorian president held a brief meeting with the UN Secretary General before leaving to attend a cultural meeting with the Ecuadorian community in New York.