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The G77+China, a group of developing and emerging countries representing 80 percent of the global population, gathers Friday in Cuba seeking to promote a "new economic world order" amid warnings of growing polarization.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, who arrived on the island Thursday, will join some 30 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia and Latin America at the two-day summit in Havana.
The meeting should conclude Saturday with a statement underscoring "the right to development in an increasingly exclusive, unfair, unjust and plundering international order," the foreign minister of host Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez, told reporters on Wednesday.
A draft of the closing statement underlines the many obstacles facing developing nations, and includes "a call for the establishment of a new economic world order," he said.
The bloc was established by 77 countries of the global South in 1964 "to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity," according to the group's website.
Today it has 134 members, among which the website lists China although the Asian giant says it is not a full member.
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Cuba took over the rotating presidency in January.
Guterres, who will deliver the opening address with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, has recently attended a rash of multilateral summits, including a gathering of the G20 club of major economies in India and the BRICS group that includes Russia.
Ahead of the Havana meeting, Guterres said "this multiplicity of summits reflects the growing multipolarity of our world."
And he warned that "multipolarity could be a factor for escalating geostrategic tensions, with tragic consequences."
For his part, Diaz-Canel said on X, formerly Twitter, that Cuban summit participants would "reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism, cooperation and development."
'A valid interlocutor'
Among the leaders expected to attend are Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Colombia's Gustavo Petro and Alberto Fernandez of Argentina.
China will be represented by top Communist Party official Li Xi.
The presence of world leaders on its soil amounts to "a recognition for the Cuban government" even as the country battles its worst economic crisis in 30 years, an analyst told AFP.
"Despite the difficulties of the moment, Cuba has been recognized as a valid interlocutor," said Cuban international relations expert Arturo Lopez-Levy, a visiting professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
The communist-ruled island is still under the yoke of US sanctions first imposed in 1962.
Diaz-Canel has in recent months represented the G77+China at several international meetings including a June global financial summit in Paris and an EU meeting in July with Latin American and Caribbean states.
The Havana summit theme is the role of "science, technology and innovation" in development.
"I will focus on getting the 2030 Agenda back on track," said Guterres, referring to a list of UN goals to end poverty and hunger and brake climate change, among others.