Developing nations call for south-south cooperation to achieve MDGs

Experts from developing countries in Beijing Tuesday August 3, 2010;   called for stronger south-south cooperation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Almost 100 representatives from developing countries and international organizations attended a seminar on the global economy, held by the South Center, a think tank composed of members from developing countries, and China’s Foreign Ministry.

The MDGs, endorsed by United Nations (UN) members in 2000, set out eight targets ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, member of the South Center Board and professor at Columbia University, believed that there were “positive links” between the world economic recovery and the realization of the MDGs, saying economic growth was very important to achieve the goals.

South Center Board member Li Zhaoxing suggested developing nations actively explore development modes according to their own national situations.

They were expected to open markets to each other and strengthen economic and trade exchanges to upgrade south-south cooperation, said Li.
South-south cooperation offered tremendous opportunities for increasing trade and productive investment, said Ann Herbert, director of the office for China and Mongolia of the International Labor Office.

Developing countries could also learn from each other’s success in developing strategies that could lead to to good results, said Herbert.

The impact of the the economic crisis was unlikely to threaten the MDG target of poverty reduction, she added.

The representatives also urged the developed countries to earnestly fulfill their commitments under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) and provide more funds and technology support to developing countries.

The ODA is the commitment of the rich countries to earmark 0.7 percent of their gross national product (GNP) to help poor countries in their development efforts.

First pledged in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution, the 0.7-percent target has been reaffirmed in many international agreements over the years. However, few Western countries have honored their pledges.

An MDG summit, which aims to generate momentum towards achieving the UN’s eight anti-poverty targets by the 2015 deadline, is scheduled to be held in New York in September.

Developing countries should take the opportunity of the summit to enhance coordination to achieve the MDGs, Li said.

The South Center is an intergovernmental organization of developing countries established in 1994 with its headquarters in Geneva. It works to provide policy research and advice to governments of developing countries and promote the south-south cooperation.