High-level Dialogue on BAPA+40 Follow Up

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The first post BAPA+40 interactive dialogue took place on the sidelines of the High-level segment of the 74thSession of the UN General Assembly on 26 September. The dialogue was hosted by the Government of Argentina and UNOSSC, and focused on strengthening of the United Nations High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation and follow up to the main elements agreed upon in BAPA+40.

H.E. Mr. Jorge Faurie, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Argentine Republic, emphasized that “the consensus reached through the final document is an unquestionable example of what we are able to achieve when we trust and bet on multilateralism.” In that sense, he offered congratulations for having agreed after months of negotiations “a programmatic document whose wealth lies in the convergence of diverse visions and interests that, when complemented, allow us to have a clearer horizon on the challenges and opportunities present in the field of international cooperation.”

Minister Faurie emphasized that South-South and triangular cooperation are some of the most efficient ways to collaborate. He said that as the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation is a monitoring committee, we have to work on methodologies on how to implement South-South cooperation and how to collect data.

Mr. Luis Felipe López-Calva, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, delivered a statement on behalf of Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. He said that the BAPA+40 Conference, hosted by the Government of Argentina, recognized that the world had undergone a deep change. The responsibility is now on us to transform the commitments of BAPA+40 into reality, he said, noting that UNDP’s strategic plan recognized that South-South cooperation is an essential driver of the progress toward sustainable development. South-South and triangular cooperation are at the heart of UNDP operations at global, regional and country levels, he said. He also highlighted that UNDP is fully engaged in the development of the UN System-wide strategy on South-South and triangular cooperation being coordinated by UNOSSC.

Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation said that UNOSSC is looking forward to suggestions, based on Member States experiences, on how to make the High-level Committee more effective so that the BAPA+40 agenda can become reality.

H.E. Mr. Riyad al-Maliki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the South-South roadmap was never as important as it is today. The Group noted with appreciation expansion of intraregional and interregional South-South cooperation initiatives and summits, that have set strategies and agendas, enhanced coordination and launched joint ventures that strengthened South-South trade, investments, infrastructure development, and capacity development.

The Group of 77 reiterated its support to UNOSSC, stressing that the Office provides important support to South-South cooperation in the UN System and beyond. They highlighted that South-South cooperation must be a complement to, and not a substitute for traditional North-South cooperation, which remains the main channel for development cooperation. They also stressed that South-South cooperation and its agenda must be set by the countries of the South and should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership, and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference, and mutual benefits. The Group stressed that South-South cooperation can not be measured or assessed in the same way as ODA, as its value goes beyond direct and indirect costs. In his concluding remarks, Group of 77 and China invited the UN system to continue their support to UNOSSC at the request and with the ownership and leadership of the developing countries.

The H.E. Mr. Henry Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, took the opportunity of the meeting to announce that Uganda will host the “Third South-South Summit” in 2020 in with an aim of strengthening South-South cooperation. He emphasized that strengthening the High-level Committee is vital for the full implementation of BAPA+40. This strengthening, he said, should focus on ensuring that the HLC’s regular sessions contribute to concrete action and support the full implementation of the agenda for sustainable development of developing countries. He reiterated the importance of supporting UNOSSC with financial and human resources toward strengthening the capacity of the Office to fulfill its mandate.

H.E. Mr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, highlighted the importance of revitalizing the work of High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation in order to implement BAPA+40. He outlined the following steps toward addressing current challenges facing South-South cooperation:

  1. The HLC needs to follow up to ensure that all intergovernmental processes include SSC.
  2. The UN system should be in a better position to support the work of HLC in implementing BAPA+40 mandates. Specifically, UNOSSC must be strengthened.
  3. The HLC, in implementing the BAPA +40 outcome, should work with all UN entities to fully integrate South-South and triangular cooperation in their work.
  4. The UN Development System has now been repositioned at the country level. When the UNDAF is prepared, SSC needs to be included in the priority areas.
  5. The link between HLC and the regional and inter-regional mechanisms must be revised.
  6. Finally, political will is essential for fostering the spirit of SSC. In this regard, Ambassador Momen proposed the creation of a forum of relevant Ministers [Finance/ Foreign/ Development Ministers] of the South to dialogue, discuss and explore potentials and critical issues of the South.

H.E. Mr. Aksel Jakobsen, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, said that Norway is ready to take part in the implementation of the BAPA+40 outcome document. Norway is currently stepping up its efforts in the field of tax and domestic resource mobilization. He noted two key Norwegian institutions that specifically promote SSTrC: first is a knowledge bank that strengthens the competence and capacity of the public administrations; and second is the National Center of Excellence for Exchange Cooperation (NOREC) which offers training, guidance, and follow-up.

Mr. Miguel A. Moir, Secretary of Planning and Programming of Presidency of Guatemala, said that Guatemala highly values South-South and triangular cooperation, and as such is trying to leverage the modalities to align public policy with the 2030 priorities.

Support for South-South and triangular cooperation was also expressed by the representatives of Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay, and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).