South-South Cooperation: Excerpts from the Ministerial Declaration of the Group of 77

• The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (ECDC/TCDC) and reiterated their conviction that it constitutes an integral and essential part of the efforts of the developing countries to promote economic growth, technological capacities and accelerated development. They also reiterated their conviction that South-South cooperation not only is a means of taking advantage of existing and potential complementarities in the economies of developing countries, but can also contribute to restructuring international economic relations and to strengthening the world economy.

• The Ministers furthermore noted with satisfaction that in the past few years there has been a robust resurgence of interests, willingness and determination among developing countries in South-South cooperation. The new expectations, in turn, have sparked a strong movement to introduce into the South-South cooperation process strategic and innovative approaches and modalities in keeping with changing global circumstances so that South-South cooperation becomes more dynamic and realistic. In this regard, the Ministers supported the Asian-Africa cooperation framework as a mechanism to strengthen South-South Cooperation and particularly welcomed the outcome of the Asia-Africa Forum II held in Bangkok 11-13 June 1997. They also reiterated their conviction that as a mean of enhancing their negotiating power vis-a-vis the developed countries, South-South cooperation was essential to reduce the vulnerability of the developing countries to the effects of adverse international economic environment.

• The Ministers recognized the increased relevance and importance of South-South cooperation in the current international economic climate. They therefore reiterated their support for South-South cooperation both as a strategy in support of the development efforts of the developing countries and as a means of ensuring their equitable participation in the emerging global economic order. They also endorsed the measures identified by the Meeting of Chairmen/Coordinators of the G-77 Chapters held in Geneva in July 1997 aimed at strengthening South-South cooperation as a strategic element in the overall economic development strategy of the Group.

• The Ministers endorsed the decisions of the tenth session of the High-level Committee on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, held in New York from 5-9 May 1997, which called upon the international community to provide the necessary, adequate financial and technical support to enable the developing countries to implement the recommendations contained in the report on New Directions Strategy for TCDC which emphasized the need to focus on high priority issues such as trade and investment, production and employment, poverty eradication, environment and macroeconomic management that are likely to have a major impact on the developing countries. In this regard, they urged the UN system to address effectively and operationalize the implementation of recommendations contained in the New Directions Strategy as well as to expand the utilization of TCDC modality in the operational activities for development of the United Nations system.

• The Ministers emphasized the increasing importance and complementarity of economic and technical cooperation among developing countries as a means of supporting the development efforts of these countries and ensuring their effective participation in the emerging global economic order that is increasingly shaped by the forces of globalization and economic liberalization. They urged the United Nations system to foster closer linkages on policy and operational aspects between TCDC and ECDC. In this regard, they welcomed the adoption of New Directions by the High-level Committee on the Review of TCDC and urged the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to continue to preserve the separate identity of the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries and to increase its resources to enable the Unit to carry out its responsibilities and mandate.

• The Ministers restated the request by the tenth High Level Committee of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries that the Administrator of UNDP in consultations with the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system to submit the recommendations on the guidelines for the review of policies and procedures concerning TCDC to the fifty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly.

• The Ministers recognized the importance of the role and activities of the South Centre and reaffirmed their continued support the Centre. In this regard, they welcomed the fact that 25 countries had acceded to the Agreement to Establish the Centre and invited all members of the Group who had not done so to consider ratifying the Agreement. They also welcomed the valuable contribution of the Centre to the work of the Group of 77 and called on developing countries to support financially the Centre. The Ministers also invited all Members of the Group of 77 to financially support the Centre with the goal of reaching the target for the capital fund entirely with the contributions from the South in order to enable the Centre to fulfill efficiently its mandate.

• The Ministers approved the report of the Twelfth Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF) presented in accordance with the guidelines for the utilization of PGTF, and approved its recommendations. They expressed satisfaction with the results achieved by PGTF and agreed to explore ways and means to expand its resources.

• The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the South-South Conference on Trade, Investment and Finance held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 13 to 15 January 1997 and emphasized the need to ensure an effective follow up of the San Jose Declaration and Plan of Action and other related sectoral meetings, as well as the importance of holding sectoral follow-up meetings as envisaged in the Caracas Programme of Action for Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries. They called on Member States to come forward to offer venues to these meetings as well as other meetings that might arise from the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee on ECDC (IFCC-X) and provide their full support for the implementation of the recommendations of these meetings.

• The Ministers expressed their full support for convening a South Summit at an appropriate date in the near future, as called for in the San Jose Declaration on South-South Cooperation.

Click here for the full text of the Ministerial Declaration.