The Group Negotiating Process

  • Thomas G. Weiss


It is important to distinguish between recent multilateral development diplomacy and what occurred in the earliest years of the UN’s existence. Early diplomacy was ‘effective’, from the view of the industrialized countries, because the West was usually able to articulate its views and impose on a limited membership that included still-reticent developing countries. More recent decisions, in contrast, have been less effective. The numerically superior South has not been able to impose its views on the more powerful but numerically inferior North, which has simply refused to negotiate or to finance activities demanded by the automatic majority. Universality in membership has been accompanied by the willingness of developing countries to confront the West; and procedures needed for sorting out common positions, in what otherwise would be a chaotic sea of voices, have been developed. Since the first session of UNCTAD in 1964, a group system has been instituted and refined. More recently, this system has also been generalized to almost all intergovernmental meetings within and outside the UN system, particularly after the industrialized North was obliged to take the South seriously as a result of its collective assertiveness and bargaining leverage following OPEC price rises in 1973–4.1


Socialist Country International Economic Order Develop Market Economy International Economic Relation Group Of77 
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Chapter 1

  1. The establishment of UNCTAD and its group system has been well documented and analysed. See Branislav Gosovic, UNCTAD: Compromise and Conflict ( Leiden, Sijthoff, 1972 )Google Scholar
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    An excellent treatment of these matters is found in Charles A. Jones, The North—South Dialogue: A Brief History ( London, Pinter, 1983 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Thomas G. Weiss 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas G. Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.International Peace AcademyNew YorkUSA

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