Secretary-General urges greater cooperation among developing nations

Secretary-General urges greater cooperation among developing nations

Marking United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on developing countries to work together more to tackle some of their greatest common threats and challenges, from extreme poverty to HIV/AIDS.

“Amid the perils and promise of globalization, South-South cooperation enables developing countries to share their experiences and successes with others,” Mr. Annan said in a message for the Day.

He noted that expanding trade within the South and the emergence of multinational corporations from that region, generating jobs and wealth, is helping to increase the strength and scope of developing country partnerships. The faster-growing nations in the South are also serving as a key source of investment, remittances and development.

Recent gatherings such as this year’s China-Africa Summit in Beijing and last year’s South America-Arab Summit have indicated, he said, “a strong commitment among developing countries to maintain and increase this momentum.”

The Secretary-General added that “by itself, South-South cooperation may not be sufficient to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But as one piece of a larger global partnership for development, it is already making valuable contributions. The international community must not only applaud this trend, it must make every effort to support strengthened ties between developing countries.”

The MDGs are a set of time-bound targets for tackling a host of global ills, from extreme poverty to HIV/AIDS.

In Bangkok, the UN held a gathering of representatives from agencies, Member States, civil society organizations and other groups to mark the Day, which was established in 2003 by the General Assembly.

Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), told participants that the wide diversity between countries in the South offers individual nations the best opportunity to learn from each other and prosper.

Yiping Zhou, Director of the UN Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, said he wished that there were more concrete mechanisms being developed to deliver results on the ground and to mobilize resources, whether financial, institutional or human, to help poor countries develop.

Meanwhile, the UN representative for some of the world’s poorest countries has welcomed the signing of an agreement by 11 countries last Friday promoting security, stability and development in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

Under the pact, a $2 billion fund will be established to finance humanitarian needs, rebuild conflict-affected areas, provide basic services, build infrastructure and promote democracy. Countries that are signatories are mandated to contribute to the new fund, which will be run by the African Development Bank.

The 11 signatories are Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, welcomed the pact’s focus on such goals as eradicating poverty, fostering good governance and developing infrastructure.