Southern partners agree to engage in more regular dialogue on development cooperation issues

A DESA-supported conference held in New Delhi on 15-16 April paved the way to strengthen dialogue on issues of common concern and interest among “Southern partners” – developing countries that provide development cooperation to other developing countries

UN Photo/Jawad Jalali

DESA and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, with the support of the Government of India, co-organized the first South-supported dialogue in recent years on South-South development cooperation, entitled “Conference of Southern Partners: Issues and Emerging Challenges”. 

Jointly opened by Mr. Wu Hongbo, DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and Mr. Ranjan Mathai, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India, the Conference brought together 11 governments including main emerging economies as well as lead southern think tanks with a view to identifying and addressing common challenges in promoting stronger impact of South-South development cooperation both on the ground and on global agenda setting. 

There was strong consensus that the growth in South-South development cooperation should not weaken the commitments and responsibilities of developed countries in global development cooperation, especially the continued important role of ODA. 

Good practices of South-South development cooperation discussed at the meeting revealed the scale of innovative practices and specific comparative advantages of this type of assistance, often inspired by a clear sense of priority for areas where partners have unique expertise to share and by the needs of beneficiary countries.

Global bodies were called on to take into consideration such practices in norm-setting activities. Referring to the principle of accountability and transparency, some Southern partners also made it clear that this principle should be tailored to their business models and applied at their own pace, rather than conceptually imposed by other actors. 

The event mirrored a growing appetite of Southern partners to get together in an informal setting to form common ground in major global development-related processes. The need to take a proactive approach in engaging in such global processes was recognized. Southern partners agreed to continue and deepen the self-driven and supported dialogue on South-South development cooperation with a view of concrete results. The United Nations was seen as the impartial actor that can facilitate such dialogue. 

DESA will continue to support the efforts of the Southern partner countries in strengthening their dialogue and cooperation in this area. As a follow-up to the Delhi Conference, DESA, in cooperation with the UN Office for South-South cooperation is organizing a meeting of Directors-General responsible for development cooperation in Southern partner countries at the DCF High-level Symposium in Addis Ababa on 7 June. 

For more information:
Conference of Southern Partners: Issues and Emerging Challenges”