Havana, 21 March 2005  


Madam Chairman,
Distinguished Ministers and delegates,

I have the honor to present this report on behalf of Minister K.D. Knight who had to depart earlier this afternoon for urgent business in Jamaica.

1. The interactive dialogue was held in the plenary session on item 3 of the Agenda of IFCC XI entitled… “Means and Ways of Strengthening South-South Cooperation,” Heads of Delegations participated in the interactive dialogue in a, frank and wide ranging debate that touched on almost every aspect of south-south cooperation. They recalled the long history and struggle and the contribution developing countries to promote the south-south cooperation as an important dimension in their development strategy.

2. All delegations agreed that the Havana programme of action and the declaration adopted by the first South Summit in 2000 held here in Havana provided them with a solid foundation, with a vision, roadmap, and a strategy for promoting and strengthening South-South cooperation.

3. They reiterated the necessity for South-South cooperation in the face of the harsh international economic realities of today. Many delegations felt that the opportunity was right for imparting great dynamism and political will for South-South cooperation, as the south elaborates a new Development agenda.

4. Several delegations pointed out that while South-South cooperation was a responsibility of the countries of the South, triangular cooperation was beneficial and that South-South cooperation was complementary and not a substitute for North-South cooperation. Some delegations were less than optimistic on the future of South-South cooperation in the light of an inclement international economic environment and the absence of an effective development agenda in the multilateral fora. Other delegations expressed a more optimistic view of the future, pointing out, that the share of developing countries in global trade and investment has been rising. However, they also stressed that success in pursuing cooperation would depend largely on the unity of the Group of 77 and focusing on concrete action for the implementation of outstanding commitments.

5. The debate also highlighted the changing perceptions in pursuing South-South cooperation. While previous logic of South-South cooperation was based largely on the need to widen markets on regional and sub-regional basis, the current emphasis was focused on enhancing the productive capacity of developing and their integration in the global economy. As a consequence the development agenda for South-South cooperation should be widened to include, in addition to trade and investment, the issues “ inter alia” of debt, transfer of technology, health, knowledge sharing, commodity management and food security, affordable medicines, poverty eradication, education and literacy, human capacity building and disaster mitigation.

6. Delegations who intervened on the area of trade and investment noted the progress in trade among developing countries, and called for the strengthening of the GSTP and greater participation in the launching of the third round. They noted the significant increase in trade amongst developing countries in the past five years, with the changing quality of trade from raw materials to manufactures and the increase in volume and value. This trend was seen as encouraging and a source of optimism. They also noted that the increase in South-South investment by leading developing countries in other regions creating favorable conditions to market access.

7. They also warned against complacency in the face of a global system that lacks fairness and which is susceptible to political pressures and the imposition of unilateral extraterritorial coercive economic measures.

8. The decrease in ODA was noted and while emphasizing that South-South cooperation was not a substitute for North-South cooperation, it was appreciated that a number of countries have created funds for South-South cooperation and some major developing countries have cancelled some debts of highly indebted countries in Africa which was a step in the right direction.

9. Delegations also noted the existence of appropriate and adaptable technology in some developing countries that are amenable to transfer and that South-South collaboration between scientists resulted in major break throughs. However some speakers expressed disappointment that while platforms to share knowledge existed, developing countries did not necessary take advantage of facilities for that purpose.

10. South-South cooperation in the area of health was given high prominence and concern was expressed particularly with regard to the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS. A number of countries volunteered to provide assistance in this regard, through provision of medical personal and affordable drugs. Delegations called for collaboration among pharmaceutical companies of developing countries, to fight the scourge of disease, and provide affordable medicines.

11. The issue of the vulnerability of developing counties particularly island countries to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and storm surge, was a concern that deserved collective response. They called for cooperative action for early warning systems, awareness and mitigation measures to be adopted.

12. Several delegations and international organizations made a comparison in the situation between IFCC X and IFCC XI, and felt that a good number of South-South activities have performed well, with the support of the office of the Chairman of G77, relevant UN institutions and member states that some centers of excellence in some regions had contributed to a positive trend in South-South cooperation. It was noted also that while the African region overall had been the least prosperous region in the South, it had made progress in efforts toward integration among sub-regional economic communities and that regional economic frameworks such as NEPAD had emerged and provided potential opportunities for cooperation.

13. In the debate many proposals were made for the promotion of South-South cooperation, through a more focused action oriented agenda for development, combined with systematic follow-up mechanisms and multi-stake holder partnerships. The role of UN institutions and organizations of the South was obviously appreciated; particular mention was made of the contribution of the South Centre, the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and the work of UNCTAD. It was urged that the G77 should take an action interest in the appointment of the leadership to international bodies of special importance to developing countries.

14. In looking ahead delegations made a number of proposals for concrete action and initiatives that would strengthen South-South cooperation, ranging from consolidation and implementation of existing programs and plans of action to formulation of imaginative initiatives and suggestions for funding, for human resource development, and for collaboration and coordination among institutions of the South and the strengthening of institutional capacity. Such initiatives were presented to the two working groups that were established at the opening of the meeting of the IFCC XI.

15. All delegations who spoke referred to the forthcoming second summit of the Group of 77 in Doha, and the importance that Summit will play in the future of the Group of 77 and developing countries. They welcomed with high expectations the generous offer of Qatar to host the Second Summit, emphasizing that the summit will be a unique opportunity also to prepare the group for the Sept. 2005 UN Summit and that the Doha Summit would be able to set out the position of developing counties on development objectives, including the measures for the elimination of systematic inequities and for the elaboration of a set of “quick win” actions, for achievements of MDGs.

16. The institutional arrangements for South-South cooperation received major attention in the statements made by delegations. The strengthening of the institutions of the South, the networking of these institutions, and the capacity for exchange of information and experience and best practices was deemed as a vital component of South-South cooperation. Delegations also repeatedly emphasized the necessity to strengthen and support the office of the Chairman of G77 to enable it to fulfill its mandate, including monitoring and coordinating the process of implementation of South-South cooperation and called for fulfillment of the financial obligations as decided to by the Heads of States at the first Summit in 2000.

Finally all delegations expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the people and Government and heroic people of Cuba for having generously hosted IFCC XI and the excellent facilities made available. Expressions of appreciation were also made to the delegation of Jamaica for its leadership of the Group of 77.

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