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

Special Event on Promoting South-South Cooperation on Climate Change
and Launch of the Southern Climate Partnership Incubator to support the SDGS

H.E. Minister Xie, Special Representative on Climate Change of China,
Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor on the 2030 Agenda and Climate Change,
Mr. Jorge Chediek, Secretary-General’s Envoy on South-South Cooperation, Director United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation,

Excellencies,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to speak at this important event on South-South cooperation on climate change. I wish to thank the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation for bringing us together for the launch of this partnership initiative to support the SDGs.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for a global partnership among all nations and peoples.

While North-South cooperation remains the main channel for international development cooperation, South-South and triangular cooperation are evolving rapidly and will also be critical for ending poverty and achieving sustainable development.

Moreover, South-South Cooperation is an important element of international cooperation as a complement to North-South cooperation, not a substitute for it.

Developing countries have much to offer to one another and to the world at large. South-South cooperation, with its distinct and distinguished characteristics, supports the transition to sustainable development in unique ways. Allow me to highlight just a few.

First, by localizing the global agendas: While there is certainly no one-size-fits- all solution, developing countries have vast experience in integrating global development objectives into national development strategies, including on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Sharing knowledge and experience increases countries’ choices and can help them to more effectively adapt the SDGs and the Paris Agreement to local contexts.

Second, through sharing environment-friendly technology, including for sustainable energy: Developing countries have considerable experience with sustainable energy. Their experiences should be shared, including through the newly established Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

Third, through technical and institutional capacity building: Southern partners offer highly relevant expertise to implement the capacity development strategies for long-term sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. The success of South-South cooperation can offer important lessons for all development actors on strengthening the distinctive role of development cooperation in addressing climate change.

Fourth, by developing global norms and standards: The 2030 Agenda, the Addis Agenda 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.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite its important contributions, South-South cooperation has yet to reach its full potential. South-South cooperation must evolve further with the times.

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 specific to South-South cooperation.

Allow me to share with you some insights from my Department’s contributions to further South-South cooperation.

Since the 2013 Delhi Conference of Southern Providers of Development Cooperation, UNDESA has supported five policy dialogues among Southern partners and helped to improve their shared understanding on issues of common concern and interest.

The context for South-South cooperation has changed significantly over the decades. The high demand for Southern Partners to understand each other’s policies, priorities and intentions has remained prominent throughout.

The ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), with its mandate to review trends and progress in international development cooperation, will further advance its work on South-South cooperation, including on issues of climate change. The Forum offers a unique space for Southern partners to engage among themselves and with other development actors to strengthen policy exchange and mutual learning.

At the DCF Belgium High-level Symposium just two weeks ago, I witnessed how stakeholders of the Development Cooperation Forum endorsed recent initiatives to increase the overall volume of climate-related South-South cooperation. They strongly encouraged Southern partners to help other developing countries address climate change and challenged all actors towards more horizontal and more multilateral forms of development cooperation in the SDG era.

These messages dovetail with what we are hearing from Member States in the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN development system. Stronger South-South and triangular cooperation is critical to ensure that countries can meet their development goals.

For all these reasons, UNDESA welcomes this timely initiative and stands ready to help promote South-South cooperation including on climate change in every way we can.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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