Ambassador María del Carmen Squeff, President of the High-Level Committee on SouthSouth Cooperation,
Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Lithuania,
Madam Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina J. Mohammed,
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamu Alaikum, and a very good afternoon to you all.
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to deliver a keynote speech at this important thematic discussion on how South-South and Triangular Cooperation can contribute to the attainment of SDGs during this trying time of COVID-19 pandemic. Let me also take the opportunity to thank the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation for its great efforts in convening
2. As requested, I will be pleased to share Bangladesh’s experiences on graduation from the group of Least Developed Countries (LDC) and highlight how countries in the South can advance cooperation among themselves, share knowledge, experiences and best practices to
address the challenges of COVID-19 and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for common prosperity.
3. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact all over the world. The challenges brought by the pandemic have given rise to new forms and expressions of solidarity. Hence, the importance of South-South Cooperation as an effective form of development cooperation
has been growing. As such, more countries both in the North and the South are partnering toeffectively use political, technical, and financial resources for development projects through triangular cooperation activities. However, sadly in critical areas, there are disturbing stories. Co-operation is short of expectation. For example, although we know, if all are not safe, no one is safe in this pandemic yet, as per President of the UN General Assembly the developing countries received only 0.3% of this Covid vaccines although overwhelming majority people live in developing countries and rest are with Development partners.
4. The North-South cooperation model remains important, but it has gradually been losing its edge because of reluctance of cooperation by few countries at times. But South-South Cooperation steadily has been receiving more profile with creative solutions as it is done
through a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South. Although only 6 developed countries till date have fulfilled their commitment of providing 0.7 per cent of their GNI as ODA, development assistance and collaboration in the South is on the rise. South-South countries now account for more than half of the world’s economic output, for almost half of the global trade, and their oval consumption by 2025 was estimated to exceed 30 trillion dollars. Of course, the COVID19 pandemic has changed our forecasts in all areas of the economy and the society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
5. You would agree that graduation of a country is a result of its long-term socio-economic progress, and under the visionary leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, we made this achievement. This moment came at a time when we are celebrating the birth centenary of the
Father of the Nation this year and the ‘Golden Jubilee’ of our independence in 2021. We have invested heavily on our people to lift them out of poverty and to make them empowered to carry out the development journey of the country. We took initiatives to build a human-centred inclusive modern democracy as envisioned by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Our government’s Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 are two key instruments that have contributed to the commendable progress over the past decade.
6. We are conscious that in the post-LDC graduation environment, along with new opportunities, there will be challenges towards sustainable transition. Bangladesh also is an extremely climate vulnerable country. On top of that, we are now hosting 1.1 million
Rohingyas displaced from their homeland in Myanmar. However, as we embark on that journey, we believe that a robust South-South and Triangular Cooperation would address our huge development needs and challenges.
7. Over the years, Bangladesh has been part of the global efforts to strengthen South-South Cooperation through knowledge-sharing. South-South and Triangular Cooperation played an important role in the remarkable development journey of Bangladesh. We have included SouthSouth Cooperation in our National Policy for Development Cooperation. Under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we have adopted various development solutions while at the same time we have been sharing ideas and lessons learned that have been well received and utilized by other countries.
8. The Access to Information (A2I) programme of Bangladesh is currently leading three platforms following the South-South Cooperation approaches to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices and find innovative solutions. The UN Global
Publication on Best Practices has incorporated 5 innovative development solutions of Bangladesh which are Union Digital Centre, SDG Tracker, Empathy Training, Service Innovation Fund, and Time Cost Visit Model of public service delivery.
9. The developed countries must take steps for accelerated technology transfer to the South. However, the developing countries also require stronger collaboration among themselves to close the technology gap existing within the South. There needs be a more central
role for the South in the international economic decision-making.
10. Triangular support should promote Northern support for South-South Cooperation endeavours. It should aim at capacity building of the South for its economic and social advancement and environmental sustainability. Similarly, the reformed United Nations
Development System should undertake more activities to support South-South and Triangular Cooperation taking into account national ownership, leadership, and country-specific needs.
11. Many of you may kindly remember that during my participation in the Second UN High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) in Buenos Aires in 2019, I proposed to establish a forum of Development, Finance, Economic and Foreign Ministers of
the South to discuss, to engage in dialogue, and to explore the potentials as well as the critical issues of the South in the context of achieving the SDGs. I also proposed to establish a “SouthSouth Centre on Knowledge and Innovation” in Dhaka, Bangladesh to provide a venue for interaction, and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders of the developing countries in order to promote scientific cooperation, innovation and capacity-building. The Centre on Knowledge and Innovation which will leverage the existing systems, resources and expertise in the area of knowledge and innovation particularly in the wake of 4IR.
12. It is my firm conviction that this kind of cooperation, as an accelerator and multiplier, can be the game changer for the Global South toward their achievement of SDGs. As a bold, innovative, and timely means to strengthen cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community should work together for people, planet and prosperity.
13. Before I conclude, I would like to suggest the followings in the area of South-South
and Triangular Cooperation:
1. Enhanced exchanges of experiences, knowledge and development solutions among Southern countries’ institutions, professionals, civil society, academia and private sector organizations.
2. Emphasised focus on areas where the South needs to look forward for joint investment.
3. Building a mechanism to generate a solid financial strength to support partnership where required, a common bank.
4. Creating stronger triangular cooperation initiatives where countries from the South will invest or share best practices with other countries from the South, with financial and technical support by the countries from the North.
5. Maximise efforts to gain global visibility and international recognition for the hard work done by the South.
6. Enhanced funding for more independent operation of the UNOSSC and helping countries from the South with seed money for different SSC projects.
7. And most importantly, establish a forum of South- South counties’ Finance,
Development and Foreign Ministers to discuss, decide, explore their critical issues,strengths and weaknesses and at least meet once annually preferably during the High level event of UN General Assembly. The UNOSSC should immediately take proactive initiatives in this regard to make it a reality.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Joy Bangla! Joy Bangabandhu!