In this issue the greater emphasis is on South-South cooperation. Various aspects and angles on the theme are tackled. It is our conviction that North-South dialogue will be more fruitful if the South is better organised and coordinated. In one sense the focus on such cooperation is intensifying capacity building using technology and experience that is relevant all through. It is not an exaggeration to state that there is greater synergy in the South in terms of social conditions and cultural linkages. But is equally important to state that South-South cooperation is not an exercise in isolation or exclusivity. On the contrary it is an expression and a strategy for collective self-reliance.

The South needs the North and vice versa. The South however, has a lot of catching up to do. In one sense the relationship between the North and the South is one between the haves and the have nots. It is an unequal relationship with built in disadvantages.

In the last three decades more countries of the South have made very significant strides in economic and social fields. The majority of such countries are in Asia. But Latin America is not far behind. Africa is coming on albeit slowly. The sum of all this is that there is a lot of experience within the South to be tapped and exchanged. The San Jose Conference held last January addressed that fact. It is vitally important to continue exploring new avenues of cooperation and intensifying old ones.
One new positive feature of recent years is the growing understanding by some of the developed countries of the efficacy of South-South cooperation and are supporting it in many ways. They are not many. We welcome this development. For development partnership is key to a stable international environment. Indeed there can be no lasting peace and security without the development of the South. To think otherwise is shortsighted and retrogressive.

In stressing development cooperation we are not downplaying the role of ownership. The era of exporting developing is over. The South has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that where it is in total control real development has been registered. We are conscious of the new reality of globalisation and liberalisation. Nonetheless it is a truism that if current developments are left unchecked the South will be left out of the mainstream except the few from the area who have made it. Thus it is important to bear this fact in mind all the time.

We are pushing for South-South cooperation in earnest. For the South has to determine its destiny “while playing a full part in humanity’s development and in enhancing the security of its common heritage - the planet Earth.”