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International Day for South-South Cooperation

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán

September 12

The Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) adopted 40 years ago was primarily intended to promote technical cooperation among developing countries, in recognition of the growing importance of South-South relations and the increasing demand for equitable and sovereign participation in international relations. The Conference held in Buenos Aires established, for the first time, a framework for this cooperation, and included in its practice the basic principles of international relations between sovereign states: respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and equal rights, among others. It also contained a number of innovative and specific recommendations aimed at building legal frameworks, institutional foundations and financing mechanisms at the national, regional, interregional and international levels.

In an international scenario in which developing countries sought a greater voice and alternative solutions to the prevailing economic and political order, the BAPA aimed to foster interest in technical cooperation, defined as an instrument capable of fostering the exchange of successful experiences between countries that share close historical realities and similar challenges. 

Forty years on from the adoption of the BAPA, the increasing role of developing countries has translated into an increasingly multi-polar, international scenario. The traditional paradigm, based on the unidirectional North-South flow of cooperation, can no longer explain this more complex, heterogeneous and interdependent reality. The agendas, methodologies and actors involved in the international development cooperation system are currently being redefined. The current scenario is characterized, inter alia, by the growing influence of developing countries and actors, including local governments, parliaments, academia, private sector, civil society organizations and philanthropic foundations; and the relevance acquired by South-South and Triangular Cooperation. These and other dynamics have led to a broad debate on how to expand and democratize international cooperation structures and mechanisms in order to integrate all forms of cooperation, recognize the value of increasingly dynamic actors and achieve effective interventions in the field.

The adoption in 2015 of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction reaffirms an ambitious global commitment to promoting sustainable and inclusive social, economic and environmental development, which has a high impact on international cooperation. 

In order for the new Agenda to be comprehensively implemented and not be merely an expression of ambitions, there is a need to further develop institutional capacities and mechanisms, and coordinate policies at all levels. In this context, it is still necessary to develop an analytical framework that articulates and coordinates different forms of international cooperation initiatives, and consolidates the resources needed for implementing the 2030 Agenda. Collective responses that integrate the vision and joint effort of all actors, without exclusions, will be needed to meet this challenge.

The Second United Nations High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, to be held Buenos Aires in 2019, is a historic opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the results achieved in the past decades and to analyze the importance of current BAPA approaches in light of recent developments. The key is to identify the challenges and opportunities of this new stage and build an architecture of international cooperation in which all countries participate based on their potential and competitive advantages, and benefit according to their needs in line with the principle of "leaving no one behind".

The Nairobi Conference on South-South Cooperation (2009) took place almost a decade after the adoption of the MDG. While reaffirming the principles and creating new commitments to promote South-South Cooperation, it has been unfeasible for various reasons to redefine and promote its inclusion in the global development strategy established at the Millennium Summit.

This will not be the case of the BAPA+40 Conference. It will be an opportunity to revalue our countries' contribution to development through South-South Cooperation actions, and set up global support programs, measures and policies that increase their impact, scope and sustainability in the next years. We believe this form of cooperation is an effective means of implementation to achieve the SDG and an exemplary partnership model for sustainable development. 

Just as the BAPA outlined in 1978 a horizon on which the countries worked in the ensuing decades, the Conference in Buenos Aires provides a unique opportunity to identify national, regional, interregional, and global lines of action that should form part of the strategies of governments, regional agencies and the United Nations system.

Fondo argentino de cooperación sur-sur y triangular