Wednesday, 24/4/2019 | 5:50 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Collaboration, Solidarity Mindset among Developing Countries Thriving amid Decline in Aid from North, Speakers Say as South-South Cooperation Conference Continues

BUENOS AIRES� Countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are increasingly looking to each other for resources, solidarity and a sense of common agenda when dealing with challenges brought on by the decline in official development assistance (ODA) and the effects of climate change, speakers said this morning at the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation.

Delegates continued their discussions in the Argentine capital for a second day, taking stock of the progress made since the adoption of the original Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries in 1978. They underscored advancements made among countries of the global South, while describing an international architecture that has evolved and changed significantly over the past 40 years.

With the rise of players from the South, the era of one-way assistance from the North has become obsolete, said the representative of Antigua and Barbuda. He recalled the devastating hurricanes of 2017, which destroyed much of the Caribbean and rendered the sister island of Barbuda uninhabitable. For Antigua and Barbuda, that experience brought to light the importance of South-South cooperation. While much of the developed world waited to respond to our immediate needs, it was our neighbouring CARICOM [Caribbean Community] brothers and sisters that were first to respond, he said.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates said that, although the global North has more experience in providing aid, donors from the South have brought new thinking and a sense of empathy to the foreign assistance space, drawing on their own development experiences to relate to partner countries and preserve the dignity of recipient countries.

Speakers representing least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries said aid from the global South was more likely to be free from conditionalities and earmarked influence than funds flowing from the North.

Pakistan's delegate said that the world is witnessing the uberization of the economy, adding that as long as we remain steadfast to our principles, we will convert [these challenges] into opportunities. Cooperation is always more powerful than competition, she added, citing how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor � a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative � will impact one third of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and add value for 65 per cent of the world's population.

Representatives also highlighted how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has offered the global South a framework to expand its cooperation in such areas as science, technology and innovation, education, trade and disaster response.

Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of Thailand, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that intraregional trade is increasing 1.5 per cent annually and is expected to reach $375 billion by 2025. Indeed, ASEAN has a successful story to tell regarding its South-South cooperation, he emphasized, adding that the number of people in the region living in absolute poverty dropped from 138 million to 44 million in just 15 years.

South-South dialogue has never been as important as it is today, the representative of El Salvador said, emphasizing that regional integration has become increasingly imperative for Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past decade, El Salvador has placed priority on strengthening institutions that manage South-South and triangular cooperation and on moving from being a beneficiary of to becoming an active participant in those mechanisms.

The representative of Tunisia said his country sends more than 500 ophthalmologists and medical technicians to countries of sub-Saharan Africa, works to combat maternal and infant mortality on the continent, and hosts training sessions on combating HIV/AIDS. He urged donors and multilateral institutions to provide more resources and assistance to countries that need it most.

Indeed, the world's challenges do not affect all countries the same way, said David Cooney, Special Envoy of the Government of Ireland to the South-South Conference. Our aid is fully untied and we are committed to keeping it that way, he added, stressing that this is how North-South cooperation should be.

Israel's delegate called on its neighbours in the Middle East to intensify development cooperation, warning that the spread of food, water and nutrition insecurity poses a daunting challenge against the backdrop of a booming global population. If we fail to do so, our planet will face an immense humanitarian crisis with unprecedented magnitude, he stressed.

We cannot work in isolation, we must all work together, Panama's delegate said, stressing that, while knowledge is adaptable and can be transferred, it cannot be copy and pasted. The true challenge is connecting the know-how with the resources and decision makers.

Also speaking today were representatives of Portugal, Djibouti, India, Eritrea, Morocco, Jamaica, Japan, Burundi, Kuwait, Algeria, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Albania, Bahrain, Honduras, Libya, Canada, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as the Holy See.

The Conference will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Friday, 22 March, to adopt its outcome document and conclude its work.

Statements

VIJAVAT ISRABRAKDI, Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of Thailand, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that the Association continues to strengthen its regional solidarity. Today, ASEAN's per capita income has expanded over 33 times. The number of people in absolute poverty dropped from 138 million to 44 million in 15 years. Intraregional trade is increasing 1.5 per cent each year, and expected to reach $375 billion by 2025. Indeed, ASEAN has a successful story to tell regarding its South-South cooperation, he added. Comprised of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries, ASEAN members consider the specific and unique realities of every country in the region.

Our cooperation has intensified and expanded to several sectors, including trade; investment; connectivity; science, technology and innovation; humanitarian, resilience-building and response to disasters; health; and youth, he said. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has provided ASEAN the framework to deepen its cooperation. He noted the complementarities between the 2030 Agenda and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, as well as the benefits of triangular cooperation. In addition to intraregional cooperation, collaboration between regions is crucial and beneficial for promoting lessons learned and sharing successes.

Speaking in his national capacity, he said that, ever since the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries in 1978, South-South cooperation has become an essential modality supporting partnership and collaboration. South-South efforts can only be achieved when it puts people at the centre and provides space for both inclusive and flexible development. South-South cooperation allows developing countries to learn and adapt from one another, he stressed. For Thailand, platforms of dialogue and engagement remain an important tool for strengthening South-South partnerships. In February, Thailand and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a South-South cooperation initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Despite enormous progress made, South-South cooperation is admittedly not without its flaws. It still requires a strong global partnership at all levels, he stressed.

TERESA RIBEIRO, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, said that triangular cooperation should be used in a more strategic manner, as it promotes partnerships more valuable than the sum of their individual parts, lasting beyond the projects and spilling over to other areas of interest. The growing role of South-South cooperation and its increased complexity should be matched with stronger institutional arrangements at the national, regional and global levels. The United Nations also has a role to play, by tracking and learning from South-South and triangular cooperation through a voluntary reporting system. More harmonization and stronger conceptual frameworks will be needed in order to consolidate this aid modality in the context of new multilateralism. She stressed the need to promote global awareness of the benefits of South-South and triangular cooperation. In recent years, the scope of such collaboration has expanded, having already exceeded the threshold of simple technical cooperation or the exchange of knowledge, to include cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and infrastructure.

DAVID COONEY, Special Envoy of the Government of Ireland to the South-South Conference, said the world's challenges do not affect all countries equally. The countries in which Ireland operates value us as a trusted and long-term partner, he said, also stressing: Our aid is fully untied and we are committed to keeping it that way. That is how North-South cooperation should be. The evolving global context, marked by conflict, the threat of climate change, extreme violence against women and girls, and growing inequality, requires transformative and integrated approaches. Ireland will increase its support to small island developing States, which are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Working closely with its own neighbours has allowed Ireland to strengthen its independence, self-confidence and security. We have a phrase in our native language which translates as 'we live in each other's shelter, not in each other's shadow', he said. The Conference is the embodiment of that shelter � coming together of the global community to reassert shared responsibility to each other.

GIL HASKEL (Israel) said countries of the South � well positioned to share their home-grown experience and practical knowledge � have successfully addressed their own development challenges and are eager to share their successes with the world. Since 1948, Israel has transformed from a developing country to a high-tech advanced economy and from a recipient to a donor. Its Agency for International Development Cooperation, MASHAV, makes solutions available to other nations around the world. Calling upon neighbours in the Middle East to intensify development cooperation in the region, he warned that the spread of food, water and nutrition insecurity poses a daunting challenge against the backdrop of a fast-growing global population. A fully integrated, global approach to tackling those challenges, based on the widest possible array of innovative and affordable solutions, will require financial and technical assistance alike. If we fail to do so, our planet will face an immense humanitarian crisis with unprecedented magnitude, he stressed, urging participants to embrace a paradigm shift in which all countries take full responsibility for their challenges, gaps and problems.

NASSER OUSBO (Djibouti) said the Conference provides a chance to align South-South cooperation efforts with national development strategies and the Sustainable Development Goals. Outlining many of his country's infrastructure, poverty-reduction and job-creation programmes, some of which are pursued in partnership with China and other countries, he said Djibouti is also expanding its diplomatic efforts and seeking to diversify economic and technological cooperation. This Conference will no doubt define the trajectory for years to come, he said, stressing that the political will clearly exists among States to strengthen both South-South and triangular cooperation. He also welcomed the tireless efforts of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, which assists countries in finding partnerships to expedite their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

HICHEN BAYOUDH (Tunisia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, renewed his country's commitments to South-South and triangular cooperation for the purpose of implementing the 2030 Agenda. Tunisia has enacted a public policy on South-South cooperation, he said, adding that its agency for technical cooperation is presently implementing a wide range of relevant projects and programmes. Listing some of those, he said Tunisia sends more than 500 ophthalmologists and medical technicians to countries of sub-Saharan Africa, works to combat maternal and infant mortality on the continent, hosts training sessions on combating HIV/AIDS and assists nations in areas such as infrastructure and agriculture. As a result of such efforts, Tunisia received the United Nations Award for South-South Cooperation in 2008. Concluding, he called upon donors and multilateral institutions to increase their provision of resources and technical cooperation in the context of South-South and triangular cooperation.

SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said the cardinal principle underpinning South South cooperation is that sharing knowledge among developing countries can catalyse development. Such initiatives do not substitute, but rather supplement, North South cooperation. Given its large, complex and diverse setting, India has vast experience in nation-building, with an approach to development cooperation marked by a willingness to share with others. Noting that formats for fostering solidarity have broadened to include grant assistance, credit lines and disaster relief, he said that, in the last decade, India has extended $25 billion in credit lines to more than 60 countries of the South. All projects follow universally recognized norms and do not create unsustainable debt burdens. Projects cover traditional sectors such as agriculture and education, and new frontiers, including the blue and digital economies. The India-United Nations Development Partnership Fund, established in 2018, helps developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. South-South cooperation retains its distinct nature, defying easy categorization. In that context, he said the trajectory of global growth and the declining share of official development assistance (ODA) over the last decade has involved attempts to subsume South-South cooperation into the international aid architecture. Such efforts are not helpful, he said. They do no justice to either its historical heritage or its future potential.

EMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea), associating himself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that South-South cooperation is characterized by national ownership, which is an important driver of partnerships and solidarity within developing countries. It provides political space and offers a very strategic approach to overcoming overarching structural challenges. However, myriad challenges still continue to hamper development. Given the scope of the 2030 Agenda and the importance of South-South cooperation in leveraging wider partnerships, all available means of collaboration should be marshalled to effectively work towards ending poverty and inequality. The recent positive developments in the Horn of Africa have renewed the spirit of regional cooperation, putting behind two decades of conflict and mistrust. The countries of the region have stepped up their cooperation by working very closely to make up for lost opportunities, he added.

LA�ON KALENGA BADIKEBELE, observer for the Holy See, said mutual assistance is at the core of South-South cooperation and therefore cannot be conditional nor limited to the exchange of goods and services. Instead, cooperation must be integral and directed to the true good of the whole person. Men and women must be active protagonists of their own advancement, he said, adding that to treat them as objects in some scheme or plan would be to stifle their capacity for freedom and their fundamental responsibilities. For those reasons, Pope Francis regularly gives voice to the critical concepts of land, housing and employment, which are central to the survival of humankind.

MOHCINE JAZOULI (Morocco) said participants have gathered in Buenos Aires once again to share their experiences and the spectacular progress achieved in the last 40 years. However, we can and must do more, as over 600 million people still live in extreme poverty around the world. Calling for fair, balanced and integrated approaches to addressing development challenges, he said Morocco has made cooperation a key pillar of its development and diplomatic policies, thereby establishing an ecosystem of committed national actors, including Government agencies, the private sector and civil society. Among other things, Morocco works to fight environmental degradation, desertification and unemployment, some of the factors contributing to youth radicalization. It will also host the African Observatory for Migration, aimed at helping to better manage migration on the continent, and works to build cooperation on the crucial issue of renewable energy. However, he stressed that all such South-South efforts must be a complement to, not a replacement for, North-South and triangular cooperation.

SELINA BAA�OS (Panama) said her country has drawn up a national cooperation plan focused on making structural changes in the Government. It has also become more involved in regional partnerships with the aim of achieving the 2030 Agenda. South-South cooperation makes it possible to achieve economic well-being, she added. Panama continues to explore ways it can secure rapid progress without leaving anyone behind. This is the perfect space to discuss that, she added. Knowledge is adaptable; it can be transferred but it cannot be copy and pasted. The true challenge is connecting the know-how with the resources, needs, decision makers and those who devise public policy. For its part, Panama has created a regional logistical centre to coordinate responses to natural disasters. Creating networks of knowledge will make it possible for the world to make progress. We cannot work in isolation, we must all work together, she stressed.

SHARON MILLER (Jamaica), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that South-South cooperation has withstood the test of time. While Jamaica has made commendable strides in the country's implementation of the 2030 Agenda, it is still faced with significant challenges. We are frequently adversely impacted by extreme weather events, which severely retard our development prospects, she said. Jamaica is also constrained by the country's upper middle-income classification, which has made it increasingly difficult to secure aid and concessional financing for development programmes. Over the past 25 years, it has also experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of floods, tropical storms and hurricanes. Concerned by the inadequate access to high-quality data, she stressed the importance of building capacity to support the strengthening of data systems and production of high-quality disaggregated data.

NORITERU FUKUSHIMA (Japan) stressed the need to implement traditional ODA alongside South-South and triangular cooperation. Through triangular cooperation, Japan remains committed to sharing its expertise and knowledge, and extending dialogue and collaboration among developing and emerging countries. It is also dedicated to advocating mutual learning and efforts towards self-sustaining development. In Argentina, Japan started a project called Kaizen TANGO, which aims to improve manufacturing productivity with the collaboration of Japanese automobile companies. Knowledge-sharing and learning are the bases to improve South-South and triangular cooperation efforts, he said. It is notable that monitoring, evaluation and reporting in South-South and triangular cooperation provide a solid basis for strengthening mutual learning, while honouring the principles of transparency and accountability. In order to achieve the 2030 Agenda, collaboration with various actors is essential to improve the effectiveness of development cooperation.

BERNARD NTAHIRAJA (Burundi) said that in many countries economic inequality continues to worsen. In the last four decades, South-South cooperation has played an essential role in eradicating poverty in all of its forms. South-South cooperation must remain an expression of solidarity among countries and be guided by the principles of national sovereignty, political independence and equality. It must also be without unilateral sanctions and conditionalities. We ask for technical assistance and capacity-building, he said of Burundi, also noting the importance of triangular cooperation in assisting developing countries. Burundi recently adopted a national development plan. With new and emerging challenges, it continues to require international support. In that context, implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action must clearly respond to the needs of developing countries.

EDGAR HUEZO (El Salvador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said that regional integration has become increasingly imperative for Latin America and the Caribbean. South-South dialogue has never been as important as it is today, he stressed. Concrete steps have been taken towards development with the assistance of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and other regional mechanisms. El Salvador has good bilateral relations with countries in the region, guided by the principles of sovereignty and equality. Over the past decade, El Salvador has placed priority on strengthening institutions that manage South-South and triangular cooperation and on moving from being a beneficiary to becoming an active participant in those mechanisms. We believe this [Conference] is a historic opportunity and will give us a road map to structure our cooperation in a more horizontal and equal way, he said.

ABDULLAH AL-YAHYA (Kuwait), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the 1978 Buenos Aires Plan of Action was the first brick in the groundwork of a system of South-South cooperation that helped many countries transform. Expressing hope that South-South cooperation will keep pace with the changes witnessed throughout the world, he urged participants to commit to doing more. Meanwhile, developed States must play a leading role in sharing knowledge, technological advances and resources in order to combat the obstacles still faced by developing nations. Kuwait � considered a high-income developing country � provides much support to countries in its region and beyond, including through the Kuwaiti Fund for Arabic Development. It has also hosted a range of conferences in an effort to identify solutions to crucial global challenges and remains prepared to confront humanitarian and other disasters around the globe.

HEM BAALI (Algeria) said the Conference is taking place in a context that has little in common with that of the first Buenos Aires meeting four decades ago. Indeed, many countries of the South have reaped the benefits of development. However, he said, some challenges persist and are exacerbated by emerging global threats. From Buenos Aires to Algiers to Nairobi and beyond, the recent crisis that shook the world economy demonstrated the need to move away from a dependence on the North. Developing the South is our own responsibility, he stressed, adding that South-South cooperation can to some extent help correct historic distortions and gaps in global trade and economy. Algeria is part of both the African and Arab free trade zones, and pays special attention to its neighbours. In that vein, he said Algeria has helped to create the Trans-Sahara highway, built a more than 4,000-km-long gas pipeline, laid significant amounts of fibre optic cable and cancelled debt of 16 developing countries.

DMITRY FEOKTISTOV (Russian Federation) welcomed improvements in quality of life for millions of people as a result of decades of South-South cooperation. Expressing support for United Nations efforts to build up its thematic focus on that instrument, he also voiced support for the traditional principles of South-South cooperation � first enshrined 40 years ago in Buenos Aires � including respect for sovereignty, independence and non-conditionality. Spotlighting the Russian Federation's efforts to strengthen ties with its Central Asian neighbours, he cited its provision of technological support to Armenia and Uzbekistan, as well as the establishment of the Eurasian Development Bank for infrastructure investment. In other regions, the Russian Federation works to train firefighters in Cuba and opened a joint research centre for epidemiology in Guinea. In addition, it supports World Bank initiatives aimed at accelerating South-South and triangular cooperation and works to find ways to better incorporate multilateral institutions and the private sector in such projects.

ANTHONY LIVERPOOL (Antigua and Barbuda), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that, with the rise of global players from the South, the epoch of one-way cooperation from the North has become obsolete. The countries of the South are engaging in collaborative development, shared models of innovation, cost-efficient financing solutions and transfer of technology. Our diversity and commitment to each other offers a common agenda, he added. As one of the smallest countries in the United Nations system and the global South, Antigua and Barbuda cannot overemphasize the importance of South-South cooperation. As some traditional donors restrict their development aid, Antigua and Barbuda has turned to countries of the South for assistance free from conditionalities and earmarked influence. The devastating hurricanes of 2017 that destroyed much of the Caribbean and rendered the sister island of Barbuda uninhabitable brought to light the critical role of solidarity among countries of the South. While much of the developed world waited to respond to our immediate needs, partly because of our designation as a middle-income country that can no longer receive development aid, it was our neighbouring CARICOM [Caribbean Community] brothers and sisters that were first to respond, he added.

LIM KI-MO (Republic of Korea) agreed with many other speakers throughout the Conference that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a valuable complement to, North-South cooperation. The Republic of Korea actively supports the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, a useful platform for the enhancement of development effectiveness, and recognizes the important role of the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation. Calling for the formulation of an organization-wide strategy to optimize South-South cooperation across the United Nations system, he emphasized the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and strengthened data collection capability. Meanwhile, cooperation with the private sector is crucial. Sharing some of the Republic of Korea's experiences, he said the country ceased being a recipient of assistance in 1999, and then established its own dedicated donor agency. It is indeed inspiring that many more countries are becoming so-called 'dual countries' by establishing donor agencies to expand South-South cooperation, he said, pledging to continue to share his country's own lessons learned.

BESIANA KADERE (Albania) said that no country can alone meet the challenges in achieving the 2030 Agenda. In a globalized world, our vision and action need to be inclusive, she said. Albania has begun to implement the Sustainable Development Goals at the national, regional and global levels, and has undertaken a series of reforms designated as priorities. The Parliament has unanimously approved a resolution confirming Albania's commitment to the 2030 Agenda. At the regional level, the European Union accession process for the Western Balkans has proven to be a major accelerator for deepening cooperation among the Governments of the region. Albania, Croatia and Montenegro have signed agreements to work together to improve waste management and make their common coastline cleaner. Albania has also embarked on a project with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and neighbouring countries to manage a river basin more effectively. A rules-based international order is a safeguard for everyone, she added.

JAMAL ALROWAIEI (Bahrain) emphasized the importance of empowering women and girls. Bahrain has been working with the United Nations country team to implement national initiatives with the private sector, including to spread awareness about the importance of the 2030 Agenda. We have had a successful partnership with the United Nations, he stressed, noting the signing of a strategic initiative with the Organization aimed at providing technical expertise and knowledge. Bahrain also played an important role in the negotiations leading up to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. It participated in intergovernmental negotiations and hosted a forum that produced an outcome document of recommendations on how to address the most pressing challenges facing the Middle East. Bahrain is committed to sharing its best practices and lessons learnt with other countries in the region and beyond.

SAEED RASHED AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the global South understands its own needs best. This is the basic premise of South-South cooperation, he said, noting that, although the global North has more experience in providing aid, bilateral donors from the South have brought new thinking to the foreign assistance space, as well as empathy. The fact that most donors from the South also remember their own development experience gives them a unique advantage in relating to partner countries, maximizing the effectiveness of development assistance and preserving the dignity of recipient countries. Noting that the United Arab Emirates is a top ODA provider as a percentage of gross national income, he drew attention to the $50 million Pacific Partnership Fund, which leverages public funds and technical expertise from his country to spur renewable energy development, and the Renewable Energy Fund, which offers $50 million in grants, representing one of the largest single investments in the region's clean energy sector. The United Arab Emirates also hosted the 2016 Global South-South Development Expo, and looks forward to embedding South-South cooperation into the 2020 World Expo, to be held in Dubai.

IVONNE BONILLA (Honduras) said the Conference is a historic opportunity to evaluate the progress of developing countries in the context of 40 years of South-South cooperation. Calling for new measures for sustainable development, she said economic growth alone is not a sufficiently accurate indicator. Indeed, nations � including middle-income countries � face such challenges as debt, environmental degradation and inequality. Demanding that South-South cooperation always be provided in line with the principles of mutual respect and non-conditionality, she said her country's many development projects are listed in a compendium known as Sharing Honduras. Calling for efforts to make triangular cooperation more dynamic, she urged participants to foster balanced, horizontal relationships that can render South-South cooperation more effective in supporting the 2030 Agenda's implementation.

ANDLEEB ABBAS (Pakistan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the world is witnessing the Uberization of the economy. Despite such shifts, she said, as long as we remain steadfast to our principles, we will face these challenges and convert them into opportunities. In that regard, she reiterated support for the core principles underpinning South-South cooperation, including respect for national ownership and mutual benefit for win-win results. Citing the example of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor � a flagship project of One Belt One Road � she said the programme will impact one third of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and add value for 65 per cent of the world's population. Other core principles of South-South cooperation include solidarity, generosity, support for those in need and bridging technology gaps. Cooperation is always more powerful than competition, she said, stressing that that is particularly true in the context of climate change � one of the world's biggest common problems today.

BASHIR ELAKRARI (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed that South-South cooperation should complement and never substitute North-South cooperation. Developed countries and institutions must continue to provide assistance to the global South, both in technical and financial aid. Collaboration among countries of the South could be an effective way to achieve food security and create jobs. He underscored that illicit financial flows impede development in both developing and developed countries. In that regard, all countries must share best practices and knowledge on fighting corruption. No one should serve as a safe haven of stolen assets, he stressed.

MARC-ANDRA� BLANCHARD (Canada) said his country's feminist international assistance policy guides its international efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals from the belief that advancing gender equality and women's empowerment is not only the right thing to do, but also the most effective way to end poverty. South-South and triangular cooperation have evolved, creating new partnerships, disseminating knowledge and maximizing the strengths of all partners to move forward together. At its best, triangular cooperation builds on the complementary strengths of various actors to find cost-effective, flexible and context-specific solutions to various challenges, creating coalitions around shared development goals. Noting that Canada is part of the Core Group of the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Cooperation, he said such efforts recognize the contemporary development landscape as a multi-stakeholder one with important new development actors. Canada is working to advance global discussions on financing sustainable development to help narrow the funding gap, partnering with multilateral development banks and the private sector on economic and social infrastructure and blended financing mechanisms. It also used its 2018 presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) to raise the profile of Sustainable Development Goal financing, he added.

DER KOGDA (Burkina Faso) said the international community is currently confronted by such challenges as terrorism, climate change and transnational crime, none of which can be addressed by a single nation alone. Burkina Faso intends to work with other developing countries to make South-South cooperation a central part of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Outlining some of his country's cooperation with neighbouring States, he cited a new railway that fosters trade among countries of the region and support for programmes that provide vocational training for young people. In addition, it contributes to the Group of Five for the Sahel (G-5 Sahel) Joint Force, he said, calling for enhanced cooperation for other initiatives in the area of peace and security.

ORLANDO GOMEZ (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, called on participants to make the most of the Conference and recommit themselves to the Buenos Aires Plan of Action. Describing South-South cooperation as a collective effort representing solidarity among developing countries, he said the diversity of views in its application is in fact one of its advantages. Noting that South-South cooperation is no substitute for North-South and triangular cooperation, he said States still require ODA, which should not be reduced. Expressing concern about the imposition of unilateral coercive measures that pose obstacles to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, he said cuts in assistance from the North have forced developing countries to revamp their support to each other. In that regard, he called for efforts to establish a true global alliance based on the solidarity of the peoples of the South.

JUAN JOSE VALERO (Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that, in a multipolar world, South-South cooperation should not be subject to the whims of developed countries, nor be viewed as a substitute for their support. In addition, unilateral coercive measures, including those currently imposed against Venezuela, are unacceptable and run counter to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Describing the unprecedented attack against his country's oil and mining sector � which has resulted in a theft of some $20 billion from the Venezuelan people � he said Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Syria, Iran, Libya and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea are among the many countries who have suffered the same kind of economic assaults. Even against that backdrop, Venezuela is working to implement the 2030 Agenda, he said, emphasizing that South-South cooperation is essential in that regard.

Source: United Nations

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