His Excellency Mr. Raymond Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica
at the 15th Session of the High-Level Committee
on South-South Cooperation
New York, May 29, 2007
My delegation joins in congratulating you on your election as President of the 15th session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. Qatar has an outstanding reputation of support and commitment to South-South Cooperation and so we are pleased that you will be presiding over the work of this very important Committee. Please be assured of the support of the Government of Jamaica to you and your bureau during your tenure as President.
I also wish to acknowledge the sterling contribution of the outgoing bureau of the 14th session of the High-level Committee, ably led by H.E. Mr. Eladio Loizaga, Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the United Nations.
We also thank the Secretariat for the Reports before us and express our deep appreciation to the Administrator of the UNDP and the Director of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, for their tireless efforts in advancing South-South cooperation.
Let me from the outset also align my delegation with the statement made by Pakistan, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Jamaica is committed to supporting and promoting South-South cooperation. We see it as an important vehicle for forging deeper ties among the countries of the South. It is a mutually beneficial exercise in which developing countries, on their own volition, have been actively engaged. As evidenced by the reports before us, the level and volume of South-South cooperation has not only intensified but has expanded to cover several sectors of cooperation. Indeed, since the 14th session of the High-level Committee, there has been an upsurge in South-South cooperation - both qualitatively and quantitatively – and especially with the successful convening of the Second South Summit in Doha in 2005. Positive and encouraging steps have also been made towards the achievement of the objectives of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action that was adopted almost 30 years ago. We are particularly pleased with efforts to broaden cooperation in such key areas as disaster risk management, energy and infrastructural development. We expect to see such efforts being enhanced in the years to come and support continued focus in this regard, in keeping with the need to ensure that developing countries are able to effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with globalization.
While South-South cooperation initiatives are to be lauded and encouraged, they should not be regarded as a substitute for the traditional North-South dimension of international cooperation for development. Those traditional obligations and commitments of our developed partners must be fully respected and fulfilled. South-South cooperation must be considered on its merit and without prejudice to the principles and objectives governing international cooperation for development. The support of the international community is vital to creating an enabling environment for development and tackling common problems. Accordingly, we still expect developed partners to actively pursue efforts aimed at ensuring that the pervasive systemic inequities in the areas of trade, finance, money and technology are removed in favour of policies that promote development. Such inequities are contrary to meaningful cooperation in this era of globalisation and liberalisation. Similarly, we expect developed partners to fully implement agreed commitments, especially through the fulfillment of the 0.7 per cent of GNI for ODA. While we acknowledge the support that has been extended in recent past, the actual pattern of cooperation has not been commensurate with the commitments for South-South and triangular cooperation. Increased aid effectiveness and delivery is critical and we welcome efforts to advance these objectives.
We believe that the UN system is well poised to further promote and strengthen South-South cooperation, including triangular cooperation, in order to positively contribute to the overall development of developing countries. For this reason, we welcome the theme of our discussions, “The role of the UN in strengthening South-South and triangular cooperation” and underscore the importance of ensuring that greater focus be given to development outcomes within the framework of South-South and triangular cooperation. This should be pursued with due regard to the fact that there is no single sustainable model for development as developing countries face a diverse range of economic conditions, constraints and opportunities. Development plans and policies therefore have to be determined through internal processes based on national ownership and priorities. Nonetheless, discussions amongst the countries of the South, including on a possible Development Platform, could elaborate the broad principles that could inform the development agenda. We are prepared to work with other delegations of the South in this regard.
The UN system must respond to demands for South-South cooperation. To this end, there should be a more objective attempt at promoting South-South cooperation in the operational activities of UN funds, programmes and agencies, with objective criteria to effectively measure the extent to which this is in fact taking place. The inclusion of South-South cooperation among the drivers of development effectiveness in the 2004-2007 Multi-Year Funding Framework of the UNDP provides a useful example for other parts of the UN system. We are pleased to note from the Secretary-General’s Reports that increasingly more UN agencies and organizations are working towards mainstreaming South-South cooperation throughout the system. We applaud such efforts but emphasize that they should be undertaken in a coherent manner. With respect to the UNDP, we would urge that the proposed Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 further builds on the lessons learned during the MYFF for 2004-2007.
As part of the overall strategy, we would also like to recommend continued close cooperation and collaboration between the Special Unit, as the UN focal point for South-South cooperation, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions in the South. Like other delegations, we firmly believe that there is scope to deepen this relationship and fully engage government officials as well as the private sector and civil society through South-South cooperation. We think that the rich experiences of the South are sometimes wasted due to a lack of awareness about the opportunities that exist for South-South and triangular cooperation. Accordingly, we are pleased that efforts are being made to expand the network of South-South focal points, update and upgrade the Web of Information for Development (WIDE) network as well as to expand the South Report, among others.
In keeping with the importance of ensuring that capacity-building remains a central objective, in accordance with the specific concerns of developing countries, we also urge greater use of available expertise in developing countries in the operational activities of the United Nations system and anticipate specific feedback in future reports on progress in this regard.
While we welcome reports that the financing of multilateral initiatives for South-South cooperation have been increasing, we are conscious of the fact that real progress in advancing, promoting and enhancing economic and technical cooperation among developing countries is constrained by a lack of resources. We believe that there is scope for broad-based partnerships with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, to facilitate the mobilization of resources. This is indeed worthy of consideration. At the same time, such efforts should not take away from the importance of ensuring that contributions to the core resources of UNDP are significantly increased in order to increase the resources available to the Special Unit for South-South cooperation. Stronger support for and increased contribution of resources to the Voluntary Trust Fund and the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among developing countries is also necessary for the promotion of South-South cooperation. Attempts at identifying new and innovate financing mechanisms for South-South cooperation should not diminish or take away from these wider obligations.
Finally Mr. President,
The many challenges facing developing countries, especially the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and Africa in general, demonstrate that international cooperation for development remains an imperative. We expect that the work of this Committee will enhance prospects for such cooperation in order to address the new and complex challenges of the 21st century.