STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. DR. RIAD MALKI, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND EXPATRIATES OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE, CHAIR OF GROUP OF 77, AT THE SECOND UN HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20 March 2019)
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I am deeply honored and privileged to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China in the opening ceremony of the Second United Nations High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation.
2. At the outset, I would like to express our profound thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Argentina for hosting this important conference, and for warmly welcoming us here in Buenos Aires.
3. Forty years ago, we gathered here in this beautiful city, Buenos Aires, and adopted the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA), which was the major landmark for the technical cooperation among developing countries. Today, we are gathering here again to review trends, assess progress, review lessons learned and identify challenges with a view to enhance the current institutional arrangements to effectively support South-South cooperation and promote South-South agenda, and aiming at stepping up South-South cooperation contribution to the ambitious goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, taking advantage of the significant achievements by developing countries.
4. For the past few decades, we have witnessed the expansion of South-South cooperation, evolving at different levels and provided innovative approaches for collective actions and strengthened its contribution to sustainable development in its three dimensions. The Group notes with appreciation the expansion of intra and interregional South-South cooperation initiatives and summits that have set strategies and agendas, enhanced policy coordination and launched joint ventures that have strengthened South-South trade, investment, infrastructure development and capacity development.
5. The Group strongly believes that South-South cooperation offers opportunities, and supports our efforts to strengthen international cooperation to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the main multilateral consensus which reaffirms the global development commitment and calls for complementing national efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
6. In this regard, the Group emphasizes that South-South cooperation is a complement to, and not a substitute for North-South cooperation, which remains the main channel for international development cooperation.
7. We highlight that the principles that have guided South-South Cooperation remain valid, and as reiterated by our ministers, the Group stresses that South-South Cooperation should continue to be guided by the following well-established principles, references and goals:
a. South-South cooperation is a common endeavor of peoples and countries of the South and must be pursued as an expression of South-South solidarity and a strategy for economic independence and self-reliance of the South based on their common objectives and solidarity.
b. South-South cooperation and its agenda must be driven by the countries of the South.
c. South-South cooperation must not be seen as a replacement for North-South cooperation. Strengthening South-South cooperation must not be a measure of coping with the receding interest of the developed world in assisting developing countries.
d. Cooperation between countries of the South must not be analyzed and evaluated using the same standards as those used for North-South relations.
e. Financial contributions from other developing countries should not be seen as Official Development Assistance from these countries to other countries of the South. These are merely expressions of solidarity, borne out of shared experiences and sympathies.
f. South-South cooperation is a development agenda based on premises, conditions and objectives that are specific to the historic and political context of developing countries and to their needs and expectations. South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion.
g. South-South cooperation is based on a strong, genuine, broad-based partnership and solidarity.
h. South-South cooperation is based on complete equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit.
i. South-South cooperation respects national sovereignty in the context of shared responsibility.
j. South-South cooperation strives for strengthened multilateralism in the promotion of an action-oriented approach to development challenges.
k. South-South cooperation promotes the exchange of best practices and support among developing countries in the common pursuit of their broad development objectives encompassing all development-related aspects of international relations and not just in the traditional economic and technical areas.
l. South-South cooperation is based on the collective self-reliance of developing countries.
m. South-South cooperation seeks to enable developing countries to play a more active role in international policy and decision-making processes, in support of their efforts to achieve sustainable development.
n. The modalities and mechanisms for promoting South-South cooperation are based on bilateral, sub-regional, regional and interregional cooperation and integration as well as multilateral cooperation.
8. The Group recognizes that BAPA+40 offers the opportunity to have an honest discussion on the importance of advancing the sharing of knowledge and experiences with a view to showcase its contribution to sustainable development. However, this work must be carried out taking into account the particularities of the South-South Cooperation and in accordance with national capabilities.
9. The Group reiterates that South-South cooperation is built on voluntary and demand-driven nature, lower transaction cost with no conditionality, taking advantage of the similarities and relevant know-how among developing countries, real and proven development expertise valued by the southern countries. Furthermore, South-South Cooperation cannot be measured or assessed in the same way as ODA, as its value goes beyond direct and indirect costs.
10. We also emphasize that the spread of South-South Cooperation shall not reduce the commitment of developed countries to reach 0.7% of their GNIs, as their official developing assistance to developing countries.
11. Furthermore, the Group would like to recall the importance of triangular cooperation, and acknowledges that triangular cooperation is aimed at facilitating, supporting and enhancing South-South initiatives, through the provision of, inter-alia, funding, capacity-building, technology transfer as well as other forms of support, at the request of developing countries, in line with the principles of South-South cooperation, and must be led by the countries of the South.
12. The Group emphasizes the pursuit of "win-win" cooperation for global development on the basis of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world in building a community of shared future for humankind.
13. The Group reaffirms the commitment to promote a universal, transparent, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory, inclusive and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, and are determined to work together to further strengthen the WTO and fight all forms of protectionism. Also, the Group recognizes the significant contribution of South-South cooperation in the area of trade and its ability to promote sustainable development among developing countries and in this regard, we reaffirm the importance of strengthening South-South trade cooperation arrangements, including preferential trade and investment arrangement and the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries. In this connection, the relevant United Nations organizations, including UNCTAD, must continue to support developing countries in deepening and enlarging South-South trade integration, regional, sub-regional and interregional economic integration and cooperation arrangements.
14. We encourage the developed countries members that have not yet done so and developing countries members declaring themselves in a position to do so to provide duty-free and quota-free market access for all products from all LDCs, in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) decisions and the Ministerial Decision on Preferential Rules of Origin for Least Developed Countries agreed at the Ninth and Tenth WTO Ministerial Conferences.
15. The Group remains deeply concerned with the increase in the unilateral and protectionist measures that will not only undermine the multilateral trading system, but also will lead to negative impact on access of the developing countries' exports to the global markets.
16. The Group understands that the 2030 Agenda represents a change of the development paradigm that prevailed in the last decades since it recognizes that development is much more than economic growth. In that sense, the Group recognizes the multidimensional nature of poverty and the social, economic and environmental dimensions of domestic output and structural gaps at all levels, and further recognizes the need for international development cooperation to include a multidimensional perspective that transcends the use of per capita income as the sole indicator to measure development, in order to support all developing countries to achieve sustainable development, while acknowledging the serious and continuous, as well as the new and emerging challenges, that developing countries face.
17. The Group believes that BAPA+40 gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our strong support to the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation and to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). We stress that the Office is the articulator of South-South cooperation in the United Nations system. The Group appreciates the countries of the South who have stepped up their cooperation with UNOSSC which has also enhanced its role and impact by up-scaling it in terms of financial, human and budgetary resources for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
18. In closing, the Group hopes that BAPA+40 will constitute itself in a multilateral consensus that will allow to boost our South-South cooperation initiatives.
I thank you, Mr. President.