We, the participants at the High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 16 to 19 December 2003, guided by the provisions of the Havana Programme of Action adopted by the First South Summit held in Havana, Cuba, 10 – 14 April 2000, and having reviewed the progress made in South-South Cooperation,

1. Recognize that South-South cooperation is not an option but an imperative to complement North-South cooperation in order to contribute to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. South-South cooperation is about the tremendous force of solidarity, with which we can overcome even the biggest challenges. While we continue to recognize North-South cooperation as fundamental for our development and expect solidarity, understanding, cooperation and real partnership from the North, express the conviction that development remains our primary responsibility.

2. Reaffirm our commitment to South-South cooperation and undertake to further strengthen it in different areas, including information and communication technology, trade, investment, finance, debt management, food, agriculture, water, energy, health and education and transit transport as well as in related North-South issues. We undertake to enhance and expand exchange of resources, experiences and know-how in these areas to make South-South cooperation contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.

3. Express the conviction that the South-South cooperation is more needed today than ever. No single country, even the most advanced among developing countries, has much hope of reaching individually expected growth and development and influencing outcomes of international agenda. But, collectively, our countries can play a more effective role in achieving development objectives and in shaping international relations.

4. Agree to work towards ensuring necessary interface between the modalities for North-South and South-South cooperation, which should converge in the search for the same development objectives, including the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, we undertake to make South-South cooperation an efficient tool to contribute to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.

5. Recognize that the experience of developing countries has varied widely. Some developing countries have demonstrated strong achievements in various domains of development, while on others setbacks have also been registered in different spheres of economic and social fields.

6. Recognize that South-South cooperation has experienced successes and failures which are linked, in a broad sense, to the external international environment which influenced development policies and strategies. In the fifties and sixties, South-South cooperation has evolved and been developed in the context of the common struggle of developing countries to reach development and growth. The institutions for South-South cooperation were developed in this period, including G77 and NAM. These and other multilateral organizations, including UNCTAD, UNDP and other institutions of the UN system, helped formulate and articulate southern needs and concerns, and provided a framework for fruitful North-South dialogue and mutually beneficial relationships. In this context, we reiterate the importance of more direct cooperation between the Group of 77 and NAM in order to promote South-South cooperation through concrete initiatives and projects in all fields of interest to the countries of the South.

7. Reaffirm the importance of strengthening South-South cooperation and, in this regard, welcome the recent initiative taken by the Asian-African Sub-regional Organizations Conference (AASROC) in Bandung, Indonesia, from 29-30 July 2003 to establish a New Strategic Partnership for promoting South-South cooperation, which is to be launched during the Asian-African Summit in Indonesia in 2005, through, inter alia, strengthening consultations among the secretariats of sub-regional organizations.

8. Stress that the economic growth in several developing countries and the strengthening of their domestic capabilities can have strong impacts on the scope and effectiveness of South-South cooperation. Several developing countries have now diversified economies and rely on well-trained human resources. Current trends in international trade and investment liberalization as well as the increasing regional and economic integration offer new opportunities and challenges for South-South cooperation. Several developing countries play and active role in the transfer of knowledge and experience as well as in the creative expansion of technologies aimed at increasing productivity and competitiveness.

9. Aware that the South has both the desire and potential to move South-South cooperation within and beyond regional and subregional boundaries. Market proximity, similarity in products and processes and business cultures affinity that can offer investors from developing country greater opportunities for a new wave of South-to-South trade and investment are added advantages.

10. Note with satisfaction that international community has recognized the importance of South-South cooperation in various United Nations Conferences and Summits and underscore the need for strengthening the support by the United Nations system for such cooperation. Recently, the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey in March 2002 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in August 2002, encouraged South-South cooperation, including through triangular cooperation. In this regard, we support UNDP’s mandate in the implementation of technical cooperation and capacity building activities to achieve sustainable development.

11. Recognize the value of triangular cooperation as a useful arrangement in international cooperation. Such arrangements should be encouraged so that the expertise of developing countries, with the financial support of developed countries, can be used to assist other developing countries, especially the LDCs, the LLDCs and SIDS bearing in mind their different levels of development. Recognize also the importance of the triangular cooperation modalities involving international organizations which contribute in a positive manner to the development needs of developing countries.

12. Recognize that NGOs, business community, foundations, universities and other development actors are emerging as key partners and have contributed significantly to meet development challenges and objectives in both developed and developing countries. This implies the emergence of new system of relations with and among international cooperation actors, which undoubtedly will influence international cooperation policies and modalities in both North and South countries. Therefore, we decide to take into consideration these important developments in designing strategies and procedures for international cooperation, including South-South cooperation.

13. Reaffirm the importance of building bridges across the South, which has always been our objective since the inception of South-South cooperation. Stress therefore that our aim today must be to further strengthen and widen those bridges to reach our development objectives and to be able to integrate into the world economy and influence the processes that shape the new international economic relations of the 21st century. In this context, the South needs to conduct its own analysis and design and implement its own policies to address the challenges of the world economy. We reiterate our determination to take the necessary measures, including the identification of resources and design appropriate follow up mechanisms to make full use of South-South cooperation.

14. Underline that with the rapid integration of markets, mobility of capital and significant increases in investment flows around the world and overall process of globalization have opened new challenges and opportunities. But the benefit and costs of globalization are unevenly distributed with developing countries facing economic and social difficulties in meeting this challenge. Furthermore, there is a growing recognition that economic liberalization does not lead automatically and universally to social and economic benefits.

15. Recognize that the asymmetries of the emerging international economic order, the governance of international affairs, the current situation of the world economic and other global issues have unfavorable effects on developing countries, giving rise to economic and social instability. We encourage efforts to increase the participation of developing countries in global economic governance, thus allowing those countries to benefit from globalization and better cope with its unfavorable effects.

16. Mindful of the slow pace of global economic recovery and absence of a global coordinated approach to address the negative consequences of cyclical financial crises, we call for concerted efforts to enhance the coherence of global economic systems and their effectiveness in supporting development.

17. Note with concern that many commitments made at the UN conferences and summits in the economic and social fields have not yet been fully implemented. In this context, we also express concern that international economic environment, markedly characterized by cyclical financial crises, external debt problems, insufficient levels of ODA, instability in commodity markets, the current uncertainty of the evolution of the multilateral trading system and disparities in foreign direct investment flows and income distribution worldwide, are not conducive to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

18. Remain concerned that despite several initiatives undertaken over the past decade, the debt crisis persists as a major impediment the development of our countries. We reiterate the urgent need for the international community, particularly donor countries and international institutions to adopt effective, comprehensive and equitable solutions to the debt crisis in a time-bound fashion. In this regard, we call for the speedy, effective and full implementation of the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

19. The WTO Ministerial Conference held in Cancun from 09 to 14 September 2003, though a setback in the implementation of the Doha development agenda, demonstrated the urgent need for a better representation of the developing country’s interests in the international trading system and great solidarity amongst our countries to achieve this goal. In this regard, we undertake to display the highest degree of unity and solidarity in global issues towards a greater articulation of our concerns and interests.

20. Reaffirm that South-South trade should be enhanced and further market access from developing countries must continue to stimulate South-South trade, including through the launching of new round of negotiations within the Global System of Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP) which could take place on the occasion of UNCTAD-XI in Sao Paulo in June 2004.

21. Stress our support to UNCTAD as the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, we welcome the decision of the General Assembly in its resolution 57/270B to make UNCTAD key player in the follow-up mechanism of the Monterrey Consensus. We commit ourselves to working together to make UNCTAD XI (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 14-18 June 2004) a successful global endeavor involving all actors and stakeholders in development. UNCTAD-XI will provide a major opportunity to address the asymmetries and inequalities in the international marketplace, the structural limitations, inadequate supply capacities and vulnerabilities of developing countries to the external economic financial environment and help to put in place a development oriented multilateral trading system. We count on UNCTAD support in particular in the area of trade and development.

22. Express concern that the ongoing fluctuations in commodity prices and declining terms of trade continue to impede development and growth in many commodity-dependent countries hindering them from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. While underlining the importance of international cooperation, including South-South cooperation to address the concerns of commodity-dependent developing countries, we undertake to strengthen our efforts in the process of commodity diversification to overcome supply constraints.

23. Aware that the new trend towards a greater liberalization of trade has opened up fresh opportunities for trade and investment in developing countries. The countries of the South must therefore work to strengthen Regional Economic Groupings as well as South-South cooperation. Therefore, we undertake to further strengthen Subregional and Regional Economic Groupings as well as interregional arrangements to promote South-South commercial cooperation.

24. Emphasize vigorously the need to promote access to and transfer of knowledge and technology to developing countries, including information and communication technology. We welcome the convening of the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in two stages: Geneva 2003 and Tunisia 2005. We regard this as a unique opportunity to find effective and innovative ways to use the potential of information and communication technologies at the service of the development of the developing countries. We call on all countries to participate actively in the preparatory process of the second stage of the Summit to take place in Tunisia in November 2005 and in the conference itself. We invite all Member States and call on the ITU, with the effective support of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, to maintain and strengthen its commitment to the process, in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions.

25. Commend the dedication of African leaders and people in the implementation of NEPAD, which aims to foster a genuine partnership for the development of Africa; we commit ourselves to support the implementation of NEPAD through South-South cooperation. We strongly support the ongoing efforts by the international community to assist Africa in the implementation of NEPAD and call upon donors, the United Nations System, civil society and the private sector to further contribute effectively to the implementation of NEPAD.

26. Reaffirm the need to address the special concerns of the Least Developed Countries and call for the effective and timely implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Decade 2001-2010. In this regard, taking advantage of economic complementarities among developing countries, we resolve to promote initiatives in favor of LDCs in the context of South-South cooperation, including through, inter alia, triangular mechanisms to better benefit the LDCs. In this context, the LDCs ministerial conference with the Chairman of G-77 held at Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, from 24 to 25 June 2003 has generated a momentum, which needs to be built on.

27. Welcome the Almaty Programme of Action adopted at the United Nations Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and the Donor Community on Transit Transport Cooperation, held in Almaty on 28 and 29 August 2003, which addresses the special needs of landlocked developing countries within a New Global Framework for transit transport cooperation for Landlocked and transit developing countries, and call on all stakeholders to fully and effectively implement the Almaty Programme of Action.

28. While stressing the significant challenges posed by the vulnerabilities of SIDS, we call on the international community, especially the bilateral and multilateral donors to honor and renew their commitments to the Barbados Programme of Action and all efforts being undertaken by SIDS, including through South-South cooperation, to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We also urge their full support and effective participation in the International Meeting to be hosted by the Government of Mauritius in 2004 to comprehensively review the Barbados Programme of Action for SIDS.

29. Reaffirm the importance of South-South solidarity, and in this regard we firmly reject the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other coercive measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, which contribute in impeding their economic growth and development and are inconsistent with the principles of international law, UN Charter and the principles of the multilateral trading system.

30. Reaffirm our commitments to strengthen our efforts to implement the programmes and plans of action for South-South cooperation previously adopted at the South Conferences and Summit, in particular the Havana Programme of Action. In this context, we have identified priorities, for immediate implementation in the areas of regional cooperation, trade and investment, food and agriculture, water, health in particular HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, education and information and communication technology, including through sharing of best practices. We commit ourselves to the implementation of these priorities and initiatives identified at the High-level Conference on South-South cooperation and to expediting the achievement of the time-bound objectives contained therein.

31. Convey our appreciation and gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco and its people for the excellent organization and hosting of the High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation and the warm hospitality which were bestowed on us in the city of Marrakech.