Tegegnework Gettu: Speech at Opening Ceremony of 2016 Global South-South Development Expo

Oct 31, 2016

Your Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to address this opening of the 2016 Global South-South Development Expo on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme. 

Allow me to begin by expressing my thanks to the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, who, on the behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, co-hosts the Expo with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

Since its inception in 2008, the Global South-South Development Expo has established itself as a powerful platform to promote co-operation and partnerships across the Global South in support of developing countries’ sustainable development aspirations.

This is particularly important now, as Member States embark on the implementation of the ambitious and transformative agendas agreed in 2015 – high among which are the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its associated Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Together these agreements provide a road map towards a fairer, and more equitable and sustainable world for all.

While we rightly celebrate these momentous agreements, we must remember that this is just the beginning of the process: ambition must become action. Transforming our world will take concerted efforts by all stakeholders, working together through all modalities. As highlighted in the 2030 Agenda, South-South cooperation will play an integral part of an inclusive global partnership to realize the ambitions of these global agendas. 

Over the recent decades South-South cooperation has been continuously on the rise.  Some concrete manifestations of this trend include:

•    the emergence of subregional and regional development banks that are supplementing more traditional development finance. In 2014, the loans disbursed by the China Development Bank, the Export and Import Bank of China, and the Brazilian National Development Bank amounted to $1,762 billion, equal to more than five times the amount of loans of $328 billion provided by the World Bank;

•    emerging economies generated a record 36 per cent of global investment outflows in 2014, up from 12 per cent in 2007. Chinese, Indian and United Arab Emirates firms have become notable investors in Africa. In terms of annual flow, Chinese FDI to Africa in 2013-2014 was reportedly 4.4 per cent of the total;

•    Intra-African trade is as well growing, but mostly within sub-regions. From 2010 to 2013, overall export trade between African countries grew by fifty per cent; and

•    south-South co-operation is making important contributions to social policy and access to social services. Key examples are Brazil’s and Mexico’s experiences with cash transfers, which have been shared with many countries in Latin America and other regions.

Overall, experience has shown that all developing countries, regardless of size or level of development, have accumulated capacities and experiences which may be adapted by other developing countries. This Expo provides a unique opportunity to facilitate such exchanges.  

UNDP’s Commitment to South-South and Triangular Cooperation

Promoting South-South and Triangular cooperation is central to UNDP’s work and we have placed it at the heart of our Strategic Plan. Leveraging our programme and operational reach, we have much to offer - as a knowledge broker, capacity development supporter, partnership facilitator, and convener.

Reflecting our commitment, UNDP’s support in this area has grown steadily over the past years: in 2015 close to 700 UNDP projects and programmes – or double that from 2014 - utilized South-South and triangular cooperation as a modality across 132 countries. 

To take these efforts even further, UNDP has prepared a Corporate Strategy on South-South and Triangular co-operation. As a part of the Strategy, we are launching the “SS-Mart for the SDGs” here at the Expo. SS-Mart is an online marketplace, which will facilitate the matching of demand with supply of South-South and triangular development solutions. 

UNDP also proudly hosts the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation on behalf of the UN system, and are committed to continue supporting the Office in system coordination and in facilitating global policy dialogue. 

With UNDP support, the UNDG South-South and Triangular Cooperation Task Team, co-chaired by UNOSSC, recently released a report on South-South and triangular good practices. This report is available here at the Expo - we hope you will find it useful. We are also supporting together the establishment of a Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Co-operation. The goal is to strengthen the capacity of Southern think tanks to advance research and inform policy dialogues on South-South cooperation in the context of the 2030 Agenda.


In conclusion, let me stress that UNDP is fully committed to contribute to the success of this Expo, as we have been ever since its inception in 2008. 

This year we are organizing two Solutions Forums, co-organizing a series of events, and have a number of booths on the exhibition floor. I encourage you to participate in the sessions, take the opportunity to talk to the UNDP team, and explore how we can work together.

I thank you and wish you all a very productive Expo.

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