H.E. Mr Tijjari Mohammed-Banda, PGA H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, President of ECOSOC Excellencies Ladies and gentlemen,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. At the outset, the Group would like to extend its appreciation to the United Nations Office for South- South Cooperation for organizing this important high-level commemoration of United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation.

3. The current global crisis makes it difficult to be in a celebratory mode. However, it is important to take a moment of our time to commemorate significant milestones and achievements that remind us how far we have come, and where our efforts can take us. The 42nd anniversary of the 1978 adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries is one such milestone.

4. South-South Cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the Global South. While noting that South-South Cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South Cooperation, it is always driven by the demand, experiences, capabilities, best practices and diversified cultures of developing countries and their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

5. Yet, the gains of our collective efforts in the Global South are now compromised.

6. Five years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, decades of development gains have been undermined and, in some cases reversed. The COVID-19 pandemic has now made the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals difficult for many countries. It has threatened multilateralism and the advancement of South-South Cooperation. The impacts of the current pandemic, and the efforts to contain it, jeopardize the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. We are facing exacerbated challenges and new vulnerabilities, prompting the need for urgent actions at all levels and by all stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our countries are comprehensively impacted in the medium and long-term, due to the fragility of our health systems, limited social protection coverage, a widening digital divide and vulnerability to external shocks.

7. This commemoration gives us an opportunity to be reminded of the importance of South-South Cooperation and to raise the awareness of the international community on its continued relevance. Furthermore, this will provide opportunities for countries of the Global South to create spaces for sharing their successful early policy measures and experiences in containing the spread of the pandemic and in mitigating its social and economic fallout.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

8. At the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40), we recognized the important role that South-South Cooperation must play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. South-South Cooperation is an important contributor to poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions as it generates continued inclusive, sustained, and equitable economic growth. It is responsive to the immediate challenges and evolving realities of global development, and the unique needs of developing countries as we pursue our individual and collective goals.

9. The Group calls upon the United Nations development system to continue enhancing its support to South-South and triangular cooperation, at the request and with the ownership and leadership of the developing countries. We acknowledge the significant work by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation in this regard. The office has been crucial in building networks and increasing awareness across the UN system and among developing countries, of the various forms and instances of South-South Cooperation, helping our efforts to grow.

10. As we celebrate South-South Cooperation, we look ahead with anticipation to the upcoming twentieth session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, on a date to be determined, to review the follow-up to BAPA+40. We will focus, among other things, on specific measures undertaken in response to COVID-19, through South-South and triangular cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.

11. We are at the start of the Decade of Action and Delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as celebrating 75 years since the creation of the United Nations. The Group views this as an important opportunity to reflect on the vital role of international solidarity and collaboration to support the delivery of the SDGs, while effectively responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic and recovering better, especially in the Global South.

12. Finally, the Group would like to acknowledge the hard work of Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary General on South-South Cooperation and Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and wish him well in his upcoming retirement on the 16th September 2020.

Thank you.