Havana, 21 March 2005   


Madam Chairperson,
Honorable Foreign Ministers of Cuba and Jamaica,
Honorable Chairman of the Group of 77 and China,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and Heads of Delegation,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great privilege and honor for me to address this distinguished gathering on the occasion of the 11 th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries.

I have come with the greetings and best wishes of the UNDP Administrator and Chief of Cabinet of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, who is unable to join us today due to other pressing commitments.

This year, the UN will witness a Summit mid-term review on how the world community has addressed the challenges of reducing poverty in its many manifestations since 2000. At that historic event, world leaders agreed on a grand roadmap for halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.

In this context, the timing couldn’t have been better than now for the G-77 and China to review how South-South cooperation has made and can still make even greater contributions to achieving the MDGs. UNDP commends the G-77 and China under the Chairmanship of Ambassador O’Neil of Jamaica for organizing this meeting, and Cuba for hosting it in this beautiful and historic city of Havana where the first South Summit took place.

The fact that so many high powered delegations led by Ministers, Ambassadors, Directors-General and Heads of Development Agencies including Partners in Development from all regions are present, shows how important you all attach to South-South cooperation, and how urgent we must work together to put South-South agenda at the center of bilateral and multilateral relations on a global scale.


Madam Chairperson,
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Delegates,

Since the Millennium Summit, the first South Summit and the IFCC-X in Tehran, we have witnessed an unprecedented progress and dynamism of South-South cooperation in various regions and sectors. In Africa, NEPAD has emerged as the overall framework for national and regional development in Africa, giving SSC a growing salience in economic affairs, political governance and social policy. In Latin America, regional integration was credited with contributing to the recovery from the deep slump suffered by the region’s major economies in 2001-2002. In Asia, intra-regional trade grew to nearly half of the region’s overall trade. Today, over 40% of developing countries’ exports go to other developing countries. Equally some 70% of the South’s exports are manufactured goods (which stand at $1,400 billions up by 20% from $115 billions in 1980). UNCTAD has noted three key interlinked determinants and trends that shaped this “new trade geography”: a) the increasing role and importance of developing countries in driving trade and growth; b) South-South trade and economic cooperation “reaching a critical mass” c) the changing context of North-South interdependence and terms of engagement.

The changing dynamics were also evident in the flow of FDI. Out of the total of $560 billions of FDI flow in 2003, developing countries attracted $172 billions, a 9% increase in one year. A number of developing countries in Asia and Latin America have become important investors in other developing countries. Similar progress has been observed in other fields such as in emergency relief. The South’s quick and unprecedented response to the December 2004 Tsunami in Asia is a good example. Other areas include technology and knowledge transfer.

In the mean time, a number of developing countries have become the World fastest growing economies, ready to scale up their assistance to LDCs especially in Africa, landlocked countries and Small Island Developing States. Some have joined such efforts to improve their aid effectiveness such as the IBSA initiative. Others such as China have started reducing or canceling the debt owned by African countries. South-South cooperation is indeed beginning to redefine the geography of trade, finance, investment, technology transfer and the entire development cooperation landscape. However, the picture of progress by developing countries in the aggregate, hides major differences among regions and countries. And the further scaling up of SSC gains was often hampered by the three fundamental recurring and systemic problems:

First: The need for a consolidated South-South agenda. The existing South-South action plans on trade, finance and investment, science and technology, regional cooperation and many other fields pull the South in too many diverging directions. There is therefore an urgent need to consolidate these numerous aspirations into a manageable agenda of a few well thought-out goals.

Second: The need for a much strengthened and better-coordinated structure and operation mechanism to implement such as a consolidated agenda. Special emphasis should be on building inclusive public-private partnership and triangular cooperation.

Third: The need for a more aggressive and innovative financing strategy for SSC, including private sector funding, in-kind contribution, small grant schemes, remittances and diaspora human resources.

Let’s build or rebuild one village in LDCs at a time; let’s put one school in a remote landlocked country at a time; let’s put one community base SME incubation center in a SIDS country at a time; let’s turn yesterday’s “brain drain” to today’s “brain gain” for development; let’s turn the southern material, cultural, technological, institutional and human resources into limitless sources of power for development.

Madam Chairperson, supporting SSC and the work of the G-77 in this regard, is UNDP’s long-term corporate policy. It is the very “raison d’etre” of my Unit’s existence, as the UN system wide coordinator of SSC. We look forward to and stand ready to support the G-77 leadership in

A new wave of SSC has just arrived and we must ride to make it work better for our shared aspiration for common prosperity in the global south.

I wish the IFCC-XI great success.

Thank you.