Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

International Conference on South-South Cooperation

Ms. Sujata Mehta,
Ambassador Devare,
Distinguished speakers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor to address this important Conference on South-South cooperation. I wish to thank the Government of India and RIS (Research and Information System for Developing Countries) for this timely initiative.

Three years ago, the Government of India and UNDESA co-organized a successful Conference of Southern Partners here in Delhi. The Delhi Conference renewed the momentum to further the agenda of South-South cooperation. It had some pioneering ideas for bringing South-South cooperation in line with the new realities.

Since then, the context for South-South cooperation has changed further.

Last year, Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

For the first time in human history, 193 governments have agreed on a universal development agenda. The message of the 2030 Agenda is loud and clear. We must shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path that leaves no one behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 2030 Agenda calls for a global partnership among all nations and peoples. North-South cooperation remains the main channel of international development cooperation. South-South cooperation is also critical for the achievement of SDGs. But it is complimentary in nature.

South-South cooperation supports the transition to sustainable development in unique ways. Allow me to highlight just a few.

First, localizing the 2030 Agenda. Developing countries have vast experience in integrating global development agenda in national development strategies. Sharing experience in this regard can help developing countries more effectively adapt the 2030 Agenda to local contexts.

Second, supporting sustained and sustainable growth. There is strong economic complementarity among developing countries. Through finance, market access and transfer of expertise and environment-friendly technology, South-South cooperation offers important means for developing countries to pursue sustainable growth. Capacity building through South-South cooperation also helps the South acquire and sustain the capacity for long-term development.

Third, promoting regional cooperation. South-South cooperation has been a vital catalyst for regional development. It can further drive sustainable development at regional level by building regional infrastructure, strengthening regional economic linkages and improving regional macroeconomic policy coordination.

Fourth, developing global norms and standards. The 2030 Agenda, the AAAA and Paris Agreement acknowledged the need to increase the representation of developing countries in global policy making. South-South cooperation can help those lacking capacity to engage on global policies, norms and standards and benefit developing countries as a whole.

Fifth, improving international development cooperation. International development cooperation has to adapt to the SDGs. The success of South-South cooperation can offer important lessons for all development actors to rethink and improve development cooperation in the new era.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite its important contribution, South-South cooperation has not yet reached its full potential. South-South cooperation must evolve with times.

South-South cooperation needs its own narratives. What makes South-South cooperation unique is not only its principles and history, but also how it is initiated, implemented, managed and accounted in practical terms. These aspects need to be framed in terms that are specific to South-South cooperation.

The story of South-South cooperation can be better told. South-South cooperation is misunderstood in many ways.

For example, there is a perception that follow-up, monitoring and evaluation is lacking in South-South cooperation. But, there are ample examples of strong follow-up, including the India-Africa Forum Summit and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The mechanism that makes South-South cooperation successful should be systematically analyzed and communicated.

Southern partners can pioneer new institutions towards sustainable development. The establishment of the New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a step in that direction. The new ways of working tested by these emerging institutions can also help existing institutions to improve their governance and operations.

Policy exchange among Southern partners can be improved. Sharing among Southern partners should go beyond operational aspects. Strengthening policy exchange will help Southern partners better communicate their policy intentions and facilitate mutual learning.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the 2013 Delhi Conference, UNDESA has supported five policy dialogues among Southern partners and improved their shared understanding on issues of common concern and interest.

The Development Cooperation Forum offers a space for Southern partners to engage among themselves and with other development actors.

I believe this Conference will inject new energy in South-South cooperation. UNDESA stands ready to support the follow-up to this Conference with the support of the Government of India and other Southern partners.

I wish this Conference a great success.

Thank you.

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