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On United Nations Day, Deputy Secretary-General Hails Four Decades of South-South Cooperation, Saying Developing Countries Drive Innovation

Following are UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s remarks on United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, in New York today:

Forty years ago, on this day, countries of the Global South envisioned a world where the knowledge and expertise that they held could be used to promote technical cooperation with each other.  They also agreed to ask the United Nations System to collaborate in this endeavour.

Gathering in Argentina, they distilled this vision into the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries — or “BAPA” for short.

The Buenos Aires Plan of Action marked the beginning of a new phase of cooperation.  Driven by a spirit of solidarity, respect for national sovereignty and equal partnership, the Buenos Aires Plan embodied the developing world’s desire to promote the sharing of homegrown solutions as a complement to North-South cooperation in fostering international cooperation for development.

Since that landmark agreement, we have seen a surge in South-South and triangular cooperation.  Developing countries have become key actors in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The diversity and richness of their practices and experiences, the lessons they offer for building common agendas at the global and regional levels, and the leadership they promote, particularly at the local level, have played a major part in global transformation.

The increase in world trade during the last decade was largely driven by the rise of trade between developing countries.  By 2014, the value of South–South trade had reached almost $5.5 trillion, a magnitude close to that of trade between developed countries.

New multilateral institutions have been established devoted to South-South cooperation—and especially the financing of these activities—such as the recently established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank.  These trends are powerful reminders of the opportunity and capacity that exist within the South.

Together, we must identify and encourage the areas where South-South cooperation can be most effective.  Today, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation—in collaboration with Member States, United Nations agencies and other development partners—is launching a compilation of “Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development”.  It features more than 100 Southern best practices that are relevant to the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The compilation demonstrates how South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation are supporting countries to overcome shared challenges and to accelerate progress well beyond sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

The examples showcase some remarkable advances.  Six Small Island developing states in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans worked jointly to implement an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to the management of freshwater resources.

A training programme on fish culture development supported by Japan and Egypt facilitated capacity-building among extension workers from more than 21 African countries.  This increased both fish yields and income.  The Union of South American Nations developed an initiative that is strengthening the bargaining power of Governments to obtain better prices for medicines.

These are just a few concrete examples of how developing countries are drivers of innovation in information and communications technologies, renewable technologies, infrastructure development and social welfare.

Southern-led mediation mechanisms for conflict prevention continue to prove effective in reducing violent conflicts.  Technical cooperation in agriculture is also greatly improving agricultural output.  The transfer of technologies and vast interregional infrastructure investments are facilitating access to international markets for medium- and small-scale enterprises.

However, we are all keenly aware that there is more to be done to fully leverage the potential of South-South collaboration and partnership.  In a few months, Member States will again meet in Buenos Aires for the second High-level Conference on South-South Cooperation, “BAPA+40”.

The conference is a chance to review trends of the past four decades, and to launch an inclusive South-South and triangular strategy for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through enhanced engagement of the United Nations.  I encourage us all to actively participate in the Second High-level Conference preparatory process.  And I invite you to participate in the Global South-South Development Expo here in New York from 28 to 30 November.

On this United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, let us reaffirm our commitment to this invaluable means of achieving sustainable development and improving the lives of billions of people in the Global South and beyond.  Thank you for asking me to this special event.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.