Statement by High Representative at the 5th Annual United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation
Mr President of the General Assembly,
Mr Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you today for the 5th Annual United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, to celebrate this important asset to development and to raise its profile among the public, policy makers, analysts and development practitioners. It is heartening to witness the continued progress that the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation of UNDP has made under the leadership of its dynamic director, my colleague and friend Yiping Zhou.
Since the landmark UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) in Buenos Aires gave form to the idea of South-South Cooperation thirty years ago, a number of countries of the South have become major players on the international scene. Many developing countries have built successful economies and have gained significant financial and technical capacities to rival those of the North. Moreover, these countries have begun to share their success with poorer nations in the South. Recent increases in the trade volume among countries of the South and in the flow of FDI’s between developing countries prove the growing momentum of South-South Cooperation.
The surge of South-South Cooperation can also be seen in the rise of new policy frameworks aimed at fostering cooperation among developing countries at the national, regional, and global levels and in the trend towards more concerted actions for the effective implementation of internationally-agreed development goals.
South-South Cooperation is of particular relevance to the three most vulnerable groups of countries — the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC’s), and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) — and Africa as it greatly expands the development opportunities of these countries.
The recent financial turmoil has major implications for the growth prospects of the global economy and could have a negative effect on the level of financial flows from developed countries to developing countries. Greater South-South Cooperation could mitigate the adverse effects of such crises by providing the developing countries with a broader range of options to meet their development needs and the Millennium Development Goals.
There is therefore a need for increased commitment to South-South Cooperation. It is equally important that countries translate their commitments to South-South Cooperation into concrete actions that address the problems that hinder progress in the developing countries. Greater engagement of the private sector and civil society is needed to propagate the ideas and practices of South-South Cooperation. In all this, the media, from both the South and the North, can play a very important role, by highlighting not only the development challenges of the south, but also the wealth of solutions that exist among fellow developing countries. In this context, the theme of this year’s South-South Day, the Role of the Media in Development, is opportune. In all its forms, the media is a very powerful tool, especially in this era of globalisation that can purposefully help in finding answers to the world’s most pressing developing challenges.
In this context, I hope that the media will play an important role in the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) being launched today to provide opportunities for the sharing and transfer of Southern-grown Development Solutions among developing countries. Indeed, for reasons of a shared historical experience, comparable socio-economic conditions and geographical proximity, the best lessons in tackling development challenges often come from other developing countries.
The past few years have already seen an abundance of South-South cooperation, and new innovative methods of financing that defy traditional approaches. The Global South-South Development Expo marks a new era in the history of South-South Cooperation. Through the GSSD Expo — developing countries will be able to reach out to other developing countries for knowledge, resources and technical know-how that generate great mutual benefits.
It is my great hope that this new phase of heightened South-South Cooperation will bring enhanced attention and priority to the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, in the true spirit of South-South Solidarity, for the betterment of all.