Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today celebrated the increasing role of South-South cooperation in furthering equality between countries while also encouraging emerging economies “to step up their engagement and become greater providers.”
In a message marking the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation, which is celebrated today, Mr. Ban affirmed that South-South cooperation “can help us meet the shared challenge of creating a more equal and sustainable world” and pointed out it was a critical development tool to advancing equality among countries and addressing the problem of hunger.
According to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), nearly one billion women, men and children living in rural areas of the developing world go to bed hungry every night. Around 95 per cent of those considered food insecure live in South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.
“South-South cooperation can achieve results on the ground in ways that traditional development assistance may not because of countries’ geographical proximity, cultural and historical ties, or similar development paths,” he stated, further noting that this year’s commemoration followed a “dramatic” 2011 marked by popular protests against “inequality, indignity, and oppression.”
In the past, the bulk of South-South cooperation involved the sharing of technical developments, including the improvement of livestock breeds, health, food processing and efficient water use. Today’s cooperation has added government policy coordination to the list in what is seen as crucial progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In one instance of successful South-South cooperation in Madagascar, Chinese experts helped establish a hybrid rice development and demonstration centre where 34 strains of Chinese hybrid rice were grown. The average yield per hectare was two to three times higher than the average output of local rice.
“When countries, multilateral agencies and other partners work together throughout the South to pool know-how, exchange ideas and coordinate policies, they unleash a creative force that furthers our development efforts and helps us build the future we want,” the Secretary-General added.