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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
The Philippines wishes to thank the government and people of Cote d’Ivoire, especially President Laurent Gbagbo for the excellent and generous arrangements for this IFCC XII meeting. Deserving gratitude is also extended to Antigua and Barbuda as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, and the G-77 and China Secretariat for providing the substance and coordination for this meeting.
As a former host of this meeting twice over, we realize the enormity both in scale and in importance that our gathering here in Yamoussoukro signifies. Perhaps at no other point in the Group of 77 and China’s history has there been a confluence of factors to spur us onward as we seek closer cooperation not only on economic issues, but in all other areas of mutual concern.
In this era of declining ODA, economic uncertainty and global crises in food, energy and the environment, the reality and potential of South-South cooperation presents a relatively undeveloped resource that must be tapped. It is ironic that the flow of investment from South to North is now greater than that of aid from North to South. Furthermore, the amount of South-South financial transactions is now recognized to be significant enough for the developed nations to consider this as an excuse perhaps not to prioritize aid commitments. As was eloquently stated yesterday by Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and echoed today by Malaysia and others – South-South cooperation is not a form of aid but the promotion of solidarity and mutual development, and should not be considered as a substitute for North-South cooperation.
Today we are tasked with considering ways and means for strengthening South-South cooperation, as well as, discussing objectives and expectations for next year’s High-Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation - and as outlined above there are compelling reasons for us to seriously consider the areas of convergence to take us forward.
The Philippines participated in the most recent meeting on the Development Platform for the South, and considers this as a useful guide to take us forward – we note the comment of Indonesia and others on the apparent absence of the issue of food security and although it may not appear as one of the main topics, action on it can be found in the section on ‘Proposed Measures’ under Chapter Three on South-South Cooperation. Furthermore, the Philippines believes that we should start discussing this document as soon as possible and if we are able to accomplish even one-third of the contained proposals at this meeting, it will have been time well spent.
We would like to support in particular, the proposals to strengthen the institutional capacity of the G-77 Secretariat, as well as, the Special Unit on South-South Cooperation. The other proposals contained in the Development Platform should also provide enough work for us to take into the High-Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation scheduled next year.
Another area of discussion that may be well worth exploring in the near future is the issue of migration. We already have the biennial Resolution on Migration and Development under the UNGA Second Committee, but it is realized that this remains a sensitive issue. The Philippines believes that in due time and with a broader understanding and ventilation of issues, this is another area where both North-South and South-South dimensions can also be explored. For this reason, allow me to invite all G-77 and China members to attend the 2 nd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) to be held in Manila in the last week of October this year. Arrangements have been made to fund most, if not all, representatives from this group.
With such a large membership, we definitely run the risk of having divergent views on various issues. Thus far, the Group of 77 and China has achieved its most tangible successes in negotiating Resolutions in the United Nations; the challenge is to try to find common ground on practical cooperation projects, and expand this realm of understanding and mutual benefit. There may be a certain sense that increased South-South trade and cooperation has been succeeding more due to regional and sub-regional arrangements such as the ASEAN, MERCOSUR, SAARC, and the new UNASUR and IBSA Initiative, rather than to a conscious implementation of our G-77 agenda. We must try to avoid the so-called ‘spaghetti bowl’ of regional arrangements that can hamper rather than efficiently coordinate South synergies and complementarities, and the G-77 and China is the only vehicle that encompasses most if not all of these smaller initiatives.
Please be assured that the Philippines will continue to fully support all efforts in support of a strengthened and more empowered Group of 77 and China. We shall speak further on the activities of the Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines during the appropriate section of the Agenda.
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