South-South co-operation meeting ends

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pretoria-The UN-backed high-level conference aimed at boosting South-South Cooperation ended in Nairobi, Kenya, with senior officials calling for the developing and expansion of the initiative.

Speaking that the conference, Ambassador Baso Sangqu, South Africa's permanent representative to the UN, called for stronger and more innovative cooperation between developing countries, to tackle global challenges such as poverty, hunger and climate change.

"Addressing these challenges individually can be a very daunting task, however, collectively through the multilateral system they are surmountable."

Sangqu said South-South Cooperation is of vital importance to all developing countries, as much can be done amongst themselves as sovereign equals and partners.

"We share a common interest in addressing challenges of poverty and underdevelopment as well as the economic and political marginalization of developing countries from the global system," he told the conference.

The conference also discussed common development challenges affecting developing countries under the UN to help come up with an inclusive partnership to tackle the challenges of Third World nations.

Also speaking that the conference, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro said the world body can play a catalytic role in promoting South-South Cooperation not only in general but also between countries that might not otherwise think of working together.

"The demands of our deeply interconnected world call for practical solutions, reinforced by stronger South-South and North-South partnerships. Indeed, South-South cooperation is not a substitute for North-South cooperation but complementary to it," she said.

The conference was convened on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for promoting and implementing technical cooperation among developing countries.

The cooperation was born out of a meeting in Argentina in 1978 to tackle technical challenges facing developing nations. This was through promoting self-reliance within the nations.

The General Assembly has described the South-South cooperation as an important element of international cooperation for development.

This it said offers viable opportunities for developing countries in their individual and collective pursuits of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

The UN's Secretary General's report of October 2009 confirmed that trade and regional integration between developing countries have grown much faster than global trade.

South-South merchandise trade, for example, rose from 577 million U.S. dollars in 1995 to two trillion dollars in 2006. It now constitutes 20 percent of the world trade.