STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 & CHINA BY H.E AMBASSADOR MOHAMED EDREES, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF EGYPT, CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF OF 77, AT UNITED NATIONS DAY FOR SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION (New York, 12 September 2018)
This year, the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation marks the 40th anniversary of the 1978 adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries. It also precedes the Second High Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 20 to 22 March 2019.
The Buenos Aires Plan of Action was primarily intended to promote Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, in recognition of the growing importance of South-South relations and the increasing demand for equitable and sovereign participation in international relations. The Conference held in Buenos Aires established, for the first time, a framework for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, and included in its practice the basic principles of international relations between sovereign states.
The forthcoming BAPA+40 conference is an opportunity to enhance south-south cooperation and to identify the proper ways to harness it for achieving the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. There are principles that have guided South-South cooperation that remain valid. South-South Cooperation is a collective effort of developing countries. It must remain a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South, building on their needs, experience, capabilities, best practices, diversified culture and many other circumstances. It has been taking place in a wide range of areas, in support of development processes of the developing countries, which contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance and to the achievement of the SDGs
South-South cooperation is a complement to, and not a substitute for, North-South cooperation. It should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit. In this regard, South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion.
While being complement to but not substituting North-South cooperation, South-South Cooperation leads to more diverse opportunities for development, assistance and cooperation. It offers viable opportunities for developing countries in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.
Diversity of approaches in applying South-south Cooperation is one of its advantages. It allows South-South Cooperation to take different and evolving forms that are not limited to one aspect of cooperation. Such forms could include, inter alia, the sharing of knowledge and experiences, training, technology transfer, and in-kind contributions.
Since developing countries face similar development challenges, the proximity of experience is a key catalyst in promoting capacity development in the developing countries, which allows sharing common views on national development strategies and priorities.
The forthcoming BAPA+40 conference will take place against a very particular backdrop. In the last few decades, South-South cooperation has experienced a remarkable expansion at all levels, brought together a great variety of actors and earned important placement in the international cooperation agenda.
BAPA+40 will be an occasion to assess progress, review lessons learned and identify challenges. It will be an opportunity to step up south-south cooperation contribution to the overarching goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, on the basis of the principles mentioned above and taking advantage of the significant achievements by the developing countries.
The establishment of UN Office on South-South Cooperation represents an important, incremental step for supporting South-South Cooperation within the United Nations Development System. The office has done a highly commendable work, especially in networking and making known various forms and instances of South-South Cooperation, within the UN and the UN system, as well as in and among the developing countries. However, a major strategic effort and thinking is called for on how to strengthen the support by the UN and by the international community for this form of development cooperation.
In this context, we call upon the United Nations development system to continue mainstreaming and enhancing its support to South-South and triangular cooperation, at the request and with the ownership and leadership of the developing countries, through a system-wide approach.
Furthermore, in view of the mounting and intractable challenges that developing countries face, more frequent high-level meetings on thematic/sectoral issues, with action-oriented outcomes, are needed. To this end, hosting regular high-level meetings would contribute to maintain the momentum that will be created by PABA+40, and to reflect on how to adapt South-South developments to the needs of the developing countries.