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Libyan Newswire

Gina Casar: Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Global South-South Development Expo, Organization of American States

17 Nov 2014

Washington D.C., USA

Your Excellency Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen, President of the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN;

Your Excellency Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo,

Chair-elect of the Group of 77 and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN;

Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General of Secretaría General Iberoamericana;

Mr. José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States;

Mr. Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Europe;

Mr. Jon Lomøy, Director of OECD-DAC;

Mr. Yiping Zhou, Envoy of the UN Secretary-General and Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation;


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the 2014 Global South-South Development Expo.

Allow me to first warmly thank the Organization of American States and Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza for generously hosting the Expo in Washington DC.

Let me also congratulate the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation – proudly hosted by UNDP – for organizing the Expo and for being a champion of co-operation and partnership across the global South.

The theme of this year’s Expo, ‘Scaling up South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development’, is particularly timely.

Next year, in 2015, world leaders will meet in Addis Ababa at the Financing for Development Conference, in New York for the UN Summit to adopt the new post-2015 agenda, and in Paris for the UN Climate Conference. The convergence of these and other important fora make it a decisive year. The decisions made will put the world on a trajectory to greater sustainability, equity, and prosperity – or move it further away. South-South and triangular cooperation already does – and can increasingly help us to get on track.

UNDP takes a proactive approach to supporting and facilitating South-South and triangular Cooperation because we are convinced – it is a necessary piece of the sustainable development puzzle. Without more and more effective cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships – including across and between countries in the Global South – the world is likely to fall short of addressing its shared and pressing challenges, and miss out on the opportunity to improve the lives of people everywhere. With so much on the line, this is a risk we all cannot afford to take.

South-South cooperation is a central part of the rise of the South and the good news is that South-South cooperation is already embedded in the way countries in the Global South do business.

Let me give you some quick facts. From 2008 to 2009, developing countries exported more to one another than they did to developed countries. Since 2011, developing countries have traded products and services worth more than $4 trillion dollars.

Investment flows to developing economies, much of it originating from the South, reached a new high in 2013, accounting for 52 per cent of total global foreign direct investment. In 2011, the value of South-South development assistance was estimated to have reached between $16.1 billion and $19 billion. By some accounts, the real value is higher.

The result has transformed the world economy and altered international relations forever. Hundreds of millions have been lifted from poverty – joining the ranks of the growing global middle class.

However, such achievements are undoubtedly uneven – within and between countries in the South. Rapid environmental degradation, extreme weather events, social instability, and violence have also left much of the new middle class feeling vulnerable – while threatening the livelihoods and lives of those confined to poor communities.

No one is safe from climate change, deforestation, water pollution and increasingly extreme natural disasters.

Without clean water, healthy air, or safe climate – no one can profit or prosper. A balance between economic growth and measures that improve people’s lives will raise the prospect of our societies and protect the one planet on which we depend.

The Global South has the biggest stake in ensuring that growth and prosperity is sustained, inclusive, and extends across the South. Through South-South Cooperation, countries in the Global South are acknowledging that their fates are intertwined, and that they must spare no effort to ensure that the jump in human progress is sustained. There are many encouraging examples:

• The Sister Cities International Sino-African Initiative is a trilateral partnership among the cities of Nairobi in Kenya, Denver in the USA, and Kunming in China. This initiative aims to ensure development and poverty alleviation projects address community needs, and promote transparent business practices and government accountability. As a result, access to safe water and toilet facilities to schools are successfully expanding in Nairobi.

• India IMPEX’s SUNLITE Off-grid Solar Lighting Initiative has developed a simple lantern that works for approximately 8 to 9 hours on a single day’s charge. UNHCR has procured these innovative solar lanterns for refugee camps in Kenya, Liberia, Sudan and Uganda, among others.

• Thus far, this South-South initiative has planted millions of hectares of biomass for ethanol and biodiesel production; 100,000 jobs have already been created in the first phase; youth have received leadership and management training; dependence on fossil fuel has been reduced by 10 per cent of total consumption; electricity has been distributed to remote communities; and the beneficiary population is currently about 1 million people.

• In Africa – Angola, Namibia and the Republic of South Africa have formed the Benguela Current Commission by which the three countries work together to protect an ecosystem that is highly rich in fish and other marine natural resources, across their shared coastal waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

These global examples are a testament that solutions often emerge from where the challenges are. We know that at UNDP and we are more committed than ever, and uniquely prepared, to support development partners in their efforts.

• We have placed South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation at the core of UNDP’s Strategic Plan for the period 2014-2017.

• Facilitating South-South and triangular cooperation, is central to UNDP’s ability to obtain development results. Through our presence on the ground in 177 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective, local insight, capacity and skills to link countries and communities to knowledge, best practice, and lessons learned.

• We have established global policy centres in Brazil, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Turkey to facilitate South-South policy coordination and other interactions. We are also supporting initiatives under seven strategic partnership agreements that we have signed with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey.

• UNDP has also declared its commitment to become a knowledge broker, through initiatives to identify, share, and adapt scalable and tested solutions from the South.

I am very pleased that UNDP is joining so many other UN organizations here, along with a high level representation from Member States, to showcase successful South-South and triangular partnership solutions.

The challenge we face now is to find ways that would enable us to effectively scale up proven solutions widely, and sustainably, together.

South-South and triangular cooperation offer a path to balancing growth and equity in the context of a new collaborative Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, where all stakeholders stand shoulder to shoulder in their political, economic, social, and environmental development efforts.

The spirit of solidarity that inspires South-South and triangular cooperation creates the space for developing countries to share lessons on policy choices, business models, and technological innovations that have been effective in lifting millions out of poverty.

Yet despite this impressive progress, one child in five still goes to bed hungry, 1.3 billion people still live in extreme poverty, 2.5 billion people still lack access to decent sanitation facilities, women and girls continue to face gender discrimination and violence, and climate change and greenhouse gas emissions still pose a major threat to populations and ecosystems.

South-South cooperation holds the promise to make a difference in the lives of millions.

As we approach the 2015 MDG target date, it is clear that strengthened efforts are needed to accelerate progress. And critical to success are broad-based global partnerships for sustainable development.

All development partners are here this week. And together, we can achieve much, much more than we can even imagine on our own.

I wish you all a very productive and rewarding Expo.

Thank you!