Smaller nations stress support for multilateralism, principle of sovereign equality

The 3G's members include Singapore, the group's convenor, as well as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A group of 30 small and medium-sized countries have stressed their unequivocal backing of an inclusive, rules-based multilateral system, with the United Nations (UN) at its core.

They underscored the principles of sovereign equality and the peaceful settlement of disputes, which are spelt out in the UN Charter.

They also emphasised the need for resilient supply chains and an open and fair trading system.

The Global Governance Group (3G) made these points in a media statement after its 15th ministerial meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The 3G was formed in 2009 to influence the Group of 20 (G-20) countries, made up of the world's largest economies, to take into account the interests of smaller countries affected by its decisions.

The 3G's members include Singapore, the group's convenor, as well as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The meeting saw the previous, present and incoming presidents of the G-20 - Italy, Indonesia and India - join the 3G foreign ministers to discuss ways to strengthen multilateralism and global cooperation.

Indonesia updated the 3G ministers on progress made at key G-20 meetings this year, as well as deliverables for the upcoming G-20 summit in Bali on Nov 15 and 16.

The ministers commended Indonesia's leadership in spearheading the G-20 response to challenges such as food and energy insecurity, climate change, rising inflation and supply chain disruption, the statement said.

The ministers also encouraged India to continue the G-20's strong engagement of the 3G and other regional and international organisations.

The Covid-19 pandemic was discussed as well, and the ministers expressed concern about how recovery will continue to be affected by global supply chain disruptions and rising protectionist tendencies.

"They stressed the need to ensure the resilience and sustainability of supply chain and emphasised the continued importance of promoting and abiding by an open, predictable, rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system," said the statement.

Such a system must be underpinned by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to ensure unimpeded cross-border flows of essential goods, including food, energy, vaccines and medicines, it added.

The leaders reiterated the need for continued efforts to strengthen global pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

These include improving national health systems and health infrastructure, and ensuring safe, affordable and equitable vaccine access for all.

They called for vaccine production to be expanded globally, including in developing countries, through appropriate dissemination of technology and know-how in accordance with WTO rules.

The other members of the 3G are: Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

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