Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
It is a pleasure to welcome you for today’s commemoration of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation. We are delighted to be joined by the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation as the co-hosts of this year’s Global South-South Development Expo.
Today marks the 44th anniversary of the adoption of the “Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries.” This plan provided a blueprint for transforming the approaches to development assistance and placed an increased emphasis on national and collective self-reliance among developing countries as foundations for a new international economic order.
South-South cooperation is a reflection of the solidarity among countries. It has been driving cooperation among developing countries to advance sustainable development and to respond to global threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and geopolitical conflicts.
South-South cooperation is crucial, because a new multilateralism is taking shape worldwide but particularly in our Asia-Pacific region — reflecting a shift in the world’s centre of economic gravity. We are now the world’s largest trading region, the heart of global value chains and international investment, and at the forefront of technological innovation. Countries in our region have valuable expertise to share, with their neighbours and with the global South. Expertise deployed judiciously can improve competitiveness, reduce inequality and make globalization fairer and more sustainable.
We must ensure South-South cooperation becomes an integral part of this new multilateralism, complementing — but not replacing — traditional North-South development assistance. It can support trade, especially for least developed countries, strengthen climate action, and improve countries’ ability to raise their tax-take to finance sustainable development.
As a regional commission, South-South cooperation has always been at the heart of our work and a key approach in our partnerships. It is instrumental in overcoming all our regional challenges, especially those that are transboundary and of common concern to our members, such as sustainable connectivity, environmental and ecosystem challenges, and disaster risk reduction and management.
In the lead up to the BAPA+40 Conference, ESCAP, together with the Government of Thailand and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, organized the first Asia-Pacific Directors-General Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in June 2018. Tomorrow, we will be convening the fourth Asia-Pacific DG Forum under the theme “Mapping Multilateral Support via South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific: Getting back on track to realize the 2030 Agenda.”
We look forward to discussing concrete solutions for supporting emerging technical assistance providers and mapping needs and resources for South-South cooperation in the region.
More than ever, we need collective political determination, solidarity and cooperation to build back better from the pandemic, and address pressing development challenges such as climate change and increasing inequality.
Thank you very much