STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR ALY DIANE, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE 20TH SESSION OF THE HIGH-LEVEL COMMITTEE ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION (New York, 1 June 2021)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China at the opening ceremony of the 20th Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation.
2. At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, Madam President, as well as the other members of the Bureau for your election to lead this High-level Committee. I also would like to express the support of the Group of 77 and China, in the work that comes ahead, and we look forward to working closely, actively and constructively with you and members of your Bureau.
3. The Group reaffirms its view of South-South Cooperation as a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
4. And in this regard, as mentioned in the Nairobi Outcome document, and reiterated in the BAPA+40 outcome document, South-South Cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South and 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. At the same time, we reiterate that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation and that 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 and cooperation.
5. It has been almost 5 years since the High-level Committee (HLC), which is a key policy making body of the South-South cooperation in the UN system, held its last meeting. This session will be the first HLC following the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) held in Buenos Aires in March 2019. The High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation is held this year in a special conjuncture. Not only it is the first session after the adoption of the landmark outcome document of BAPA+40 but also it is held as the global community is facing a global crisis due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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.
7. South-South and triangular Cooperation continue to contribute significantly to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieving the overarching goal of eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Yet, the gains of our collective efforts in the Global South are now compromised. 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.
8. The discussions of the HLC during this week will be an opportunity not only to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the BABA+40 outcome document but also an opportunity to highlight the importance of South-South and triangular Cooperation in the recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and to raise the awareness of the international community on its continued relevance.
9. 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. The Group seizes this opportunity to reiterate its commitment for the implementation of BAPA+40 outcome document, especially in the context of the COVID-19 that requires unwavering solidarity and international cooperation more than ever.
10. 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.
11. The Group also 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. We reaffirm the importance of learning and sharing of best practices including through North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
12. Furthermore, we recognize the important role of the South Centre as a think tank of the countries of the South and emphasized its importance in enhancing South-South Cooperation through promoting solidarity and mutual understanding among the countries and peoples of the South, as well as providing the intellectual and policy support required by developing countries for collective and individual action in the international arena.
13. 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. 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 (WTO), and are determined to work together to further strengthen the WTO and fight all forms of protectionism.
15. The increasing importance given to South-South cooperation globally, shows that it is increasingly imperative that the United Nations Development System contributes actively and tangibly to the agenda and purposes of South -South Cooperation. The Group of G77 and China, would like to express its appreciation to the UNOSSC as the articulator for South-South cooperation in the UN System and its leadership for being an all-around and responsive partner with the Group, and for playing a critical role in creating advancing in the construction of a much-needed multilateral South-South support architecture. The Group also 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.
16. 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.
17. We are confident that under your leadership, the 20th Session of the High-level Committee will be a success and hope that the views and concerns of the G77 & China would be duly incorporated in its deliberations.
I thank you, Madam President.