Driven by Spirit of Solidarity, South-South Cooperation Offers Solutions to Shared Development Challenges, Secretary-General Says on International Day

SG/SM/19733-ENV/DEV/1977-OBV/1912
12 September 2019

Driven by Spirit of Solidarity, South-South Cooperation Offers Solutions to Shared Development Challenges, Secretary-General Says on International Day

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks on the International Day for South-South Cooperation, observed today:

The past decades have demonstrated the power of South-South cooperation to advance sustainable development.  Driven by a spirit of solidarity, respect for national sovereignty and equal partnership, South-South cooperation has offered concrete solutions to shared development challenges.

Across the developing world, more children attend school, child and maternal mortality rates have been cut by nearly half, and extreme poverty has been sharply reduced.  Today, foreign direct investment outflows from the South represent nearly one third of all such investment.  More than one quarter of world trade is among developing countries.  New financial institutions of the South have helped generate infrastructure and promote sustainable development around the globe.

But despite the strong performance of many developing countries, large pockets of poverty remain in the Global South, even in fast-growing economies.  Extreme poverty rates are falling but not fast enough to meet our 2030 goals.  The climate crisis threatens decades of progress.  About 2.4 billion people, the majority of whom live in the South, do not have adequate sanitation.  Some 840 million people are living without electricity, and 785 million people lack access to clean water.

These are stark reminders that even as countries reap higher economic gains, we must work to ensure that prosperity is more broadly shared.  South-South cooperation offers a unique pathway to accelerate progress that leaves no one behind.  Indeed, many countries of the South have become sources of support and inspiration for innovative development solutions available to many other countries.

At the same time, we know that South-South cooperation can never be a substitute for official development assistance or replace the responsibilities of the global North set out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Earlier this year, I was honoured to take part in the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation — BAPA+40.  That gathering underscored the immense potential of South-South and triangular cooperation to help the world achieve the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development].

To leverage that potential, we must coordinate South-South efforts and establish sustainable strategies for scaling up impact.  Triangular cooperation, involving countries of the North and other partners, builds trust and allows for the combining of diverse resources and capacities.

I am pleased that United Nations entities, coordinated by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, are developing a system-wide strategy on South-South and triangular cooperation.  I welcome the formal launch today of the South-South Galaxy, a global knowledge sharing and partnership brokering platform.  It is aimed to more effectively support Southern countries in connecting, learning and collaborating with partners digitally.

I also welcome another product that is being formally launched today — the new Independent Report on South-South and Triangular Cooperation “Cooperation Beyond Convention” — which reviews the history and transformation of South-South and triangular cooperation.

We have a great task before us.  With the ambitious BAPA+40 outcome as our shared road map, let us demonstrate our solidarity towards poverty eradication.  Let us draw from the lessons of the South and share them widely through enhanced South-South and triangular cooperation.  And let us reaffirm our commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda — moving our world forward and leaving no one behind.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.