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Commemorative Event of the UN South-South Cooperation Day

Statement by the Viceminister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Amb. Daniel Raimondi

September 12

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to participate and speak in this United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation. My special thanks go to the Deputy Secretary General Mrs. Amina Mohamed.

My sincere appreciation goes to the Director and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation Mr. Jorge Chediek, all of the hardworking colleagues of UNOSSC. 

I also would like to extend my gratitude to his excellency, the Permanent Representative of Egypt and Chair of the Group of 77, Mr. Mohammad Fathi Ahmed Edrees, and to the   Permanent Representative of Uganda and President of the 19th Session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, for their presence here today. 

Forty years ago, on September 12, delegations from 138 countries gathered in Argentina to adopt the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries, also known as BAPA. On this occasion, our countries tried to find alternative forms of partnership to promote our own development, and strengthen our presence in multilateral forums through coordination and political dialogue.

BAPA reaffirmed that the purpose of what would later become South-South Cooperation was to derive mutual benefits from the sharing of experiences and knowledge, thus making a call to work in an integrated way to face the challenges of development.

The Plan not only called for measures at the global level, but also recommended actions to be taken up at national, sub-regional and regional levels, in order to create a congenial environment for joint development and mutual benefit among partners through South-South Cooperation.

In short, the BAPA charted the course that was followed by countries, regional organizations and United Nations Development System in the ensuing decades.

Since its adoption, South-South Cooperation has continued to expand and evolve, flourishing at different levels and involving a multiplicity of actors. It has gained a greater level of specificity and a rich variety of working modalities, anchored in different histories, economic capabilities, political systems and institutional configurations.

Through the years, it has remained a collective endeavour guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, demand-driven support, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.

The Group of 77 and China has played a significant role in advancing South-South Cooperation on a global scale, by leveraging the position of developing countries in crucial international negotiations, and providing multilateral funding to support cooperation activities through core resources like the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund.

Notwithstanding these significant achievements, countries of the South still face important economic, social and environmental challenges. Subsequently, the exchange of knowledge, experiences and development solutions is critical for countries of the South to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  

In this context, it is of paramount importance to reinforce the institutional set-up of South-South and triangular cooperation at all levels, especially  in  situations  where  South-South  cooperation  is  starting  from  scratch,  and  where  little  or  no  previous ground for such cooperation existed.

Against this backdrop, the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, to be held in Argentina on March 2019, provides a unique opportunity to review lessons learned over the past decades, identify new areas and mechanisms where South-South and triangular cooperation can add value and have more impact, and commit to build an adequate and systematic follow-up within the framework of the United Nations System.

From the very overarching theme of the Conference, Member States decided to explore ways for South-South cooperation to better support our countries development objectives and participation in the global transformation envisaged by the 2030 Agenda.

On this subject, Argentina believes that the new sustainable development framework represents an opportunity to rediscover South-South Cooperation comparative advantages in adapting global commitments to local capacities, and its contribution to the success of national frameworks set up to achieve the SDG’s.

In the lead up to the upcoming BAPA+40, I would like to address some of the relevant and timely discussion topics ahead.

As we move forward with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, due attention has to be given to how we can reflect the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development and the interlinked nature of the SDG’s in our South-South cooperation policies and practices. This is both a demand and an opportunity that all us need to more strongly embrace.

At the same time, knowledge gap on trends, patterns and levels of cooperation, and uneven access to solutions and resources are still major obstacles hindering progress and the full realization of South-South Cooperation potential and its impact on sustainable development.

I would like to emphasize the importance of addressing these gaps, with a view to improving South-South knowledge-sharing, networking, mutual capacity-building, and information and best practices exchanges among developing countries. Discussing the future role of the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, the Regional Commissions, the UNOSSC and the United Nations System as a whole, is extremely relevant for these discussions.

This said, the legacy of the Conference must also include, at its core, a call for intensified efforts in capacity development and technology transfer. In this regard, Argentina seeks to promote work schemes that integrate different actors of international cooperation, profiting from the enormous potential of triangular cooperation and multi-actor partnerships.

The Buenos Aires Conference should also contribute to scale-up regional and interregional platforms. As relevant hubs for horizontal partnerships, depositories of knowledge and brokers of cross-country South-South Cooperation, they can help identify broad-based and inclusive development strategies.

The Ibero-America region is an example. The Ibero-American General Secretariat, together with the Ibero-American Program to Strengthen South-South Cooperation, publishes the only regional report on South-South Cooperation in the world, based on the largest South-South Cooperation database.

The multimodal collation of projects and activities across the region, on a voluntary basis, not only has increased the visibility of our actions, but also made the process of announcements, actual disbursements, operationalization and delivery of the projects a transparent initiative.

Let me conclude by stating that it is up to us, as developing countries, to press for South-South cooperation to assume a central place on the international development agenda, not as a substitute North-South cooperation, but as a relevant complement that needs to be tapped, mobilized and further developed.

Therefore, the  support,  participation,  involvement  and  personal  commitment  of  the  Heads  of  State  or  government,  and  in  general  of  leadership  in  developing countries is thus very important.

We are committed to furthering dialogue on all the issues, pointing out the common ground and highlighting the significant contribution our countries can make to address the persistent development challenges.

In that sense, it is also of utmost importance that knowledge institutions and implementation agencies become active participants in the process, since they can provide both the analytical and practitioner’s perspectives that are much needed to move forward on some of these critical issues.

We strongly believe that South-South Cooperation can contribute to renew multilateralism and drive the realization of the global partnership for sustainable development.

And with that in mind, we would like to promote the establishment of a regular High-Level process to review the trends in South-South and triangular cooperation, their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the progress made by the international community and the United Nations System.

As final words, I would like to acknowledge your continued engagement in charting the road ahead towards the Conference.

Before concluding, I would like to take this excellent opportunity to present the proposed BAPA+40 Logo.  It’s inspired on the 1978 Conference Logo symbolizing a bridge uniting countries and peoples from the Global South. At its center the four parts of the world –West, East, North and South- appear as one worldwide partnership for development. The BAPA+40 Logo synthetize the original one, melting the bridge and world elements into one indivisible whole that is stronger than its parts. The goal of contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is reflected by the 17 colors of the Sustainable Development Goals that are integrated in the drawing, emerging from the center and bringing dynamism and the ideas of expansion and projection to the future.

And I look forward to give all of you a warm welcome when the world meets in Buenos Aires to reinvigorate South-South and triangular cooperation once again, and build a more prosperous, just, and sustainable future for all.

Thank you very much.

Fondo argentino de cooperación sur-sur y triangular