Cooperation between and among developing countries offers a path to balancing growth and equity, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, marking the United Nations Day of South-South cooperation with a call to encourage – and learn from – emerging partners in the global South to promote prosperity for all.
“Let us reaffirm our commitment to pioneering South-South approaches that will ensure shared prosperity, sustainable development and a life of dignity for all,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the Day.
Despite the recent successes in the Millennium Development Goals, Mr. Ban warned that progress across the South has been uneven. He stressed that “extreme poverty, rampant inequality, malnutrition and vulnerability to climate and weather-related shocks persist.”
To mark the importance of South-South Cooperation, the General Assembly decided to observe this Day on 12 September annually, commemorating the adoption in 1978 of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.
Echoing Mr. Ban’s assertion that South-South cooperation as an essential component of international cooperation, John Ashe, President of the General Assembly, said in a statement that “ [it also] offers viable opportunities for countries of the global South to explore new avenues for technical collaboration as a part of North-South and triangular engagement.”
Further spotlighting the advantages of South-South cooperation, Mr. Ashe said: “Countries of the global South can gain additional access to finance, technology and markets.”
“Investments by developed and developing partners in infrastructure can also help diversify economies, lead to further agricultural productivity, and advance overall economic development of the countries of the global South,” he said.
Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy-Director General for Field Operations and Partnerships of the UN International Labour organization (ILO) stressed that the agency has been a key player in presenting good practices and solutions from the global South, as well as from traditional partners, through the triangular cooperation modality, which includes Governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations.
Zeroing in on top priorities of creating decent jobs and reducing inequality, Mr. Houngbo said that “South-South and triangular cooperation is yielding some of the most innovative solutions to eradicate poverty.”
It is also noteworthy, according to Mr. Houngbo, that the ILO Governing Body adopted in 2012 a strategy for South–South Cooperation, galvanizing concrete efforts in engaging partners, while promoting projects in the fields of combating child labour and forced labour, promoting youth employment, environmental sustainability and social protection for all.