UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Amidst the growing challenges of hunger and poverty, developing nations remain steadfast in their enduring struggle for a more just and equitable world, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez said at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of the Global South, the president advocated for the reform of international financial systems and a significant increase in backing for sustainable development and climate initiatives.
Cuba last week hosted the summit of the Group of 77 (G77) and China, the largest developing country organization at the United Nations, comprising more than 130 nations.
Diaz-Canel reminisced that the bloc was founded six decades ago with the mission to rectify centuries of inequality and neglect, now representing approximately 80 percent of the world's population.
G77 countries "do not only have the challenge of development; they also have the responsibility of modifying those structures which marginalize us from social progress and turn many peoples of the South into laboratories for renewed forms of domination," he said, adding that "a new and more just global contract is imperative."
The Cuban leader discussed the lack of advancement in reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a particular emphasis during this year's UN General Assembly's High-Level Week.
World leaders adopted the SDGs eight years ago as a blueprint for a better world, with promises that include ending poverty and hunger, ensuring all children have access to quality education, and protecting the natural environment by 2030.
With the deadline approaching, "the panorama is bleak," he said, highlighting that 800 million people continue to suffer from hunger, while 760 million individuals, with two-thirds of them being women, lack the ability to read or write.
Diaz-Canel emphasized that the endeavors of developing nations alone are insufficient to materialize these goals, underscoring the need for tangible measures encompassing market access, fairer financial terms, technology transfers, and North-South collaboration.
"The G77 calls for rights and will continue to demand a profound transformation of the current international financial architecture because it is deeply unjust, anachronistic and dysfunctional, because it was designed to profit with the reserves of the South to perpetuate a system of domination that increases underdevelopment and replicates a pattern of modern colonialism," he said.
On the climate crisis, he censured industrialized nations for their failure to uphold their worldwide obligations, particularly regarding the annual mobilization of 100 billion U.S. dollars to aid developing countries in their efforts toward mitigation and adaptation.
He said the G77 will hold a Summit of Leaders of the South in the context of the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) UN climate conference in Dubai later this year.
"COP28 will show whether or not beyond speeches, there is a real political will on the part of developed nations to achieve the agreements required in this field that cannot be postponed for any longer," he said.
The president also voiced opposition to "unilateral coercive measures, euphemistically referred to as sanctions," imposed on Cuba and other nations, including Venezuela, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Syria, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Iran.
He strongly condemned the suffocating economic blockade of 60 years imposed upon Cuba by the United States, labeling it as "completely unilateral and unwarranted."