Statement by H.E. Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and President of the United Nations High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation at the Opening of the High-level Forum of Directors-General for Development Cooperation Washington D.C., Thursday 20 November 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you today at the High-level Forum of Directors-General for Development Cooperation, organized under the theme “South-South and Triangular Partnerships and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. I would like to thank the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation for co-organizing this annual event. I would also like to thank our host, the Organization of American States for opening its doors for us to enjoy these magnificent premises. I also thank my friend Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under Secretary-General and High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.
- As we are nearing the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and as discussions on the post-2015 development agenda are reaching the final phase, we must focus not only on how to achieve the MDGs and the sustainable development goals after 2015, but also on how to ensure that development cooperation, in all its forms, can deliver concrete results and positively impact the most vulnerable countries. As the sustainable development agenda takes shape, many eminent speakers during the last three days have highlighted that South-South and triangular cooperation must remain an integral part of the global partnership for development. It is important that the international community is united on this issue.
- The role of global partnership, as elaborated in MDG 8, is critical in ensuring success of any South-South as well as North-South Cooperation. Our experience of MDG-8 has not been very successful. Monitoring and accountability was basically absent, and therefore, we must remind ourselves of the not so successful achievement regarding MDG 8; and we must try to do more on the issue of partnership this time for a win-win scenario for all, both developed and developing countries, else our efforts will go in vain. As the economic prospects of the South have risen, so too have the vitality and strength of South-South cooperation. From the time of the Buenos Aires Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries in 1978, the guiding principles of South-South cooperation have been reaffirmed by Member States in various intergovernmental fora, including the United Nations High-Level Conference on South- South Cooperation that produced the Nairobi Outcome Document. Member states have reiterated that South-South Cooperation and its agenda need 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.
- In 1995, the UN High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation for the first time approved the concept of triangular cooperation following which the partners from the North and multilateral institutions stepped in to offer their support to South-South initiatives. Since then, the value of increasing support to South-South cooperation by donor countries has been well recognized. Inclusive South-South and triangular cooperation partnerships offer concrete solutions to common development challenges. However, it is also important to remember that South-South Cooperation is a complement, not a substitute to North-South Cooperation.
- During the past few years, a number of countries in the South that have acquired wealth of knowledge and experience in South-South and triangular cooperation have established national technical cooperation agencies to better manage their South-South and triangular cooperation activities. Directors-General for development cooperation are linchpins of national development efforts and this annual forum offers them invaluable opportunity to share their experience and lessons learnt with each other. This annual meeting is convened as a concrete response to UN Member States’ commitment in the Nairobi conference, the High-level Committee meetings and other intergovernmental fora where UN system organizations are requested to support South-South knowledge sharing, networking, mutual capacity-building, policy analysis, coordination and collaboration among developing countries.
- As I mentioned earlier in my intervention, it is clear that South-South and triangular cooperation are critical to the attainment of the sustainable development goals that we are setting beyond 2015. It is my sincere hope that at the end of this meeting I will be able to return to New York with answers to these important questions:
- How can South-South cooperation help shape the Post-2015 Global Partnership for Sustainable Development?
- How to ensure that the countries of the South will get the flexibilities, advantages and preferences that they rightfully deserve in any development agenda when the final outcome of the post-2015 development agenda will be negotiated and adopted?
- How could South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives be scaled up under the umbrella of post-2015 development agenda, as well as a separate, stand-alone issue?
- Finally, I would like once again to thank everyone involved in organizing this important meeting. We are grateful to all the Directors-Generals and other participants present here, who have travelled here to share their successful experiences in South-South and Triangular cooperation. It is fact that the countries from the South now play a significant role in the world trade and investment scenario. We have to work hard to ensure that the South will equally perform together to ensure inclusive and equitable development for all peoples everywhere, development which is truly pro-people, pro-poor, pro-planet and sustainable. I look forward to very fruitful deliberations at this forum today.