Without a partnership between the industrialized and developing countries, otherwise known as the North and the South, the United Nations goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015 will not be reached, “but deeper South-South cooperation is also vital,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on the first Day for South-South Cooperation today.
“Political solidarity within the developing world over the past several decades has helped put development at the heart of the global agenda,” Mr. Annan said in his message.
“Today we need policies and other steps that will give more practical expression to that solidarity, so that people in all countries can benefit from globalization and improve their standards of living.”
In developing countries, which form the majority of the UN membership, “some of the leading challenges of our time – such as poverty, environmental degradation ad the spread of infectious disease – are most acute,” he said.
In preparing next September's UN summit to review global progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty, he called for recognition that “the role of South-South cooperation has never been more critical.”
“And let us all pledge to do our utmost to harness that great power in or shared battle against poverty and insecurity,” he added.
As part of the observance of the Day, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) invited 2004 Nobel peace Laureate Wangari Maathai of Kenya to address UN delegates and staff members on Monday.
As an exemplar of South-South cooperation, Ms. Maathai's 27-year-old, Nairobi-based Greenbelt Movement has helped groups in 15 African countries undertake afforestation projects and offer environmental and sustainable land-ause education.