Review

The Collected Documents of the Group of 77 series
The Third World without Superpowers

by Peter Lyon, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London

International Affairs, January 1992


Is there still a Third World without superpowers, as this collection claims, or now a world without either superpowers or a Third World?  These are questions eminently open to debate – a debate for which this volume would provide some raw, sometimes very raw, material.  Its principal purpose, however, is more prosaic.  This is to provide documentation pertaining to the activities of the Group of 77, thereby justifying to a very considerable extent the claims of the publisher that ‘it constitutes, so to speak, the archives of the Group’.  Volume 12 includes ‘Economic co-operation among developing countries’; ‘High-level meeting on ECDC’; ‘The 6th meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-Up and Co-Ordination Committee on ECDC’; and some documents relevant to the Havana summit of 1979.

            This is the twelfth volume of documents on the Group of 77 to issue forth under the co-editorship of the remarkably assiduous Karl Sauvant, working in tandem with one or more other editors, and under the generic label of ‘The Third World without superpowers’.  The companion and in some senses complementary series contains the documents of the Non-Aligned Movement; this also continues to deliver volumes on ‘the Third World’ and, like this volume and series, documents conferences and meeting at various levels of leadership and specialization, apparently defying increasingly confident claims that their death has occurred, or should and certainly will soon occur.

            There is a curiously assorted range of different print styles reproduced in these documents, presumably thereby indicating the otherwise fugitive nature of a large number of them.  Thus world-be students of the Group of 77 and its often arcane activities are again indebted to the assiduity of the editors and the continuing support of the publishers.  As with previous volumes in this series, there is no index; but there is a detailed chronology of meetings documented in the whole collection from November 1963 to may 1990 (pp. 639-57) and this volume is supplied with a detailed table of contents.