17 December 2007

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Cooperation among developing countries central to global anti-poverty efforts,

Says Secretary-General, in international day message


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, observed 19 December:

This year’s United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation coincides with the midpoint of the Millennium Development Goals and the fifth anniversary of the Monterrey Consensus adopted by the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development.  While both are based on a shared partnership between developed and developing countries, South-South cooperation is central to these global efforts to eradicate poverty, stimulate economic growth and promote sustainable development.

Cooperation among developing countries is a vital means of attracting trade and investment flows and achieving sustainable debt financing.  It can also serve to promote increased international financial and technical cooperation for development.  In addition, South-South cooperation helps developing countries learn how best to apply successful policies and practices in a context that reflects their national priorities.

Recent positive trends prove the value of this collaboration.  International financial markets are beginning to respond to the strength and potential reach of sovereign funds in a number of developing countries.  These surpluses have spurred South-South flows of development assistance as an increasing number of emerging economies reach out to assist poorer nations in the South.

But development successes remain uneven across the South, and much more must be done to reach the Millennium Development Goals and live up to the commitments made at Monterrey.  Nearly 1 billion people remain in extreme poverty.  All regions are off track to reach the target for reducing child mortality, and one third of all children in developing countries lack access to improved sanitation.

In the face of this stark reality, the international community must reinvigorate efforts to meet its commitments.  Countries of the South must use their growing surpluses to reach development goals, including by funding public goods, creating and distributing vaccines, supporting agricultural research and development, establishing social insurance systems, enhancing access to credit for the poor, and improving transportation and communications structures.  At the same time, we must stay focused on the effects of climate change, which threaten to undermine much of the progress that has been achieved so far.

Mobilizing resources for development is only part of the solution; it is equally urgent to use them effectively.  United Nations agencies, funds and programmes must better coordinate their activities, particularly in the area of South-South cooperation, to address development challenges that are beyond the capacity of any one country to tackle alone.

I am committed to strengthening and streamlining United Nations support for South-South cooperation.  As we mark this International Day, let us all pledge our best efforts to enable the countries of the South to free their citizens from want.

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For information media • not an official record