ON THE OCCASION OF THE 4TH UNITED NATIONS DAY FOR SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION
United Nations Headquarters
New York, 19 December 2007
I wish to convey my warm congratulations to the President and members of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation on the 4th annual UN Day for South-South Cooperation and thank you for the kind invitation to participate. I regret that the busy schedule of the General Assembly in the final week of the main part of its 62nd session prevents me from being with you today.
At the beginning of this session, I identified Financing for Development and accelerating implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as two of the key priorities for the 62nd session. I believe that strengthening South-South and triangular partnerships for development offer unique opportunities and are integral to making progress on both these issues. The Leading Group on innovative development financing, comprising 40 developing and developed countries, is an excellent example of this.
There has been significant progress towards the attainment of the MDGs in many countries, even among those, in sub-Saharan Africa for example, that continue to face great challenges. However, many countries remain off-track to attain the goals by 2015. The 2007 MDG report states that: “the results achieved in the more successful cases demonstrate that success is possible in most countries, but that the MDGs will be attained only if concerted additional action is taken immediately and sustained until 2015.” Expanding South-South Cooperation, in the full range of economic and social fields, is just the type of concerted action that is required.
This year, the UN Day for South-South Cooperation has the theme: “Innovative Financing for South-South Development Cooperation.” This theme has particular relevance for the General Assembly in the context of the recent High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development and preparations for the Doha conference at the end of 2008.
It is clear that given that many countries are not on target to attain the MDGs by 2015, it has become imperative for the international community, including all Member States, the UN system and non-Governmental actors to urgently develop innovative sources to address resource gaps. Recent examples of innovative sources of financing for development have emerged including the air ticket solidarity levy, the international finance facility for immunization and the advanced market commitments pilot programme.
The solidarity between developing countries that underpins South-South Cooperation must continue to expand from partnerships and alliances to advance common aspirations in the international arena. This is one step to becoming a more effective catalyst for change and an instrument for development in the South. To this end, the United Nations must continue to play a central role, including through the Special Unit within UNDP that serves as the focal point for South-South Cooperation within the UN system. Continued efforts at system-wide coherence and coordination would contribute towards the UN systems support for South-South Cooperation.
I wish to conclude by commending the President of the High-level Committee and the Special Unit for organizing this event and for their continued efforts to mobilize global support for South-South Cooperation. This auspicious occasion honours your accomplishments while challenging all of us to redouble our efforts to ensure that we attain the goals set by our leaders at the Millennium Summit.