Rebeca Grynspan: Message on the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

Sep 12, 2013

12 September 2013

Delivered by Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator
of the UN Development Programme

This year’s observance of the United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation comes amid intensifying international efforts to accelerate progress on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015, the internationally agreed deadline. Concurrently, the South has assumed a greater role in the global development landscape.  In many developing countries incomes are up, poverty is declining and hope is rising.  The goal of reducing extreme poverty by half has been achieved. Equity in primary education -- attendance by girls and boys -- has been reached. Infant mortality has seen tremendous decreases, with five of nine developing regions reducing the under-five mortality rate by half. More than 2 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water. These and other economic achievements of the global South have given rise to a rapidly expanding middle class adding a strong voice to demands for more liberties, equity, decent jobs and a wide range of goods and services that are critical to genuine human progress.

Despite these positive trends, 1.2 billion people are still trapped in conditions of extreme poverty. Wide-ranging global discussions are under way to define a Post-2015 development agenda that will galvanize development efforts at all levels in the years and decades ahead.  As that agenda takes shape, the international community is already united around the idea that South-South cooperation should remain an integral part of the global partnership for development.

Developing countries are turning to each other for lessons on innovative policies and schemes to address pressing development challenges. The Brazilian Bolsa Familia Programme, a cash transfer model, has helped improve childhood nutrition and education in Brazil, and the system has been successfully transplanted to Africa. India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme entitles each rural Indian household by law to one hundred days of unskilled work per year on public works programmes. China’s emphasis on infrastructure development in other developing countries has resulted in improvements in electricity supply, an increase in railway connections and reduced prices for telecommunications services. More solutions are available across the global South which, if adequately harnessed, could make meaningful contributions across a range of urgent concerns, from hunger and health to education and sustainable energy.  

South-South cooperation offers real, concrete solutions to common development challenges. Sharing best practices, funding pilot projects in far-flung locales, providing the capital to scale-up successful projects, supplying regional public goods, developing and adapting appropriate technologies —these are the opportunities that the international community needs to better leverage.  On this United Nations Day for South-South cooperation, I call on all partners to redouble their efforts to harness the wealth of knowledge, expertise and development thinking in the Global South.


On behalf of UNDP

This is the end of the message of the SG so now allow me to say a few words as the Associate Administrator of UNDP starting by saying that I am honoured to have this opportunity to celebrate with you the numerous achievements of the Global South and I congratulate you for your dedicated efforts in advancing development through South-South cooperation.

Facilitating South-South and triangular cooperation, has become central to UNDP's ability to obtain development results. Through our universal presence, we have the capacity and skills to link countries and communities to knowledge, best practice, and lessons learned.

This is also a good opportunity to recognizes the very important role of UN intergovernmental processes in the promotion of South-South and triangular cooperation. Here, the work and guidance of the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation is of course critical, and we are committed to strengthening even further our good relationship with the committee. We are fully seized with the follow-up to the General Assembly’s resolution on the QCPR, which includes important guidance on South-South and triangular cooperation.

As a part of the preparations of our UNDP’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2017 we consulted extensively with our Board Members on how to reflect the growing significance of these relationships in the Plan.

Consequently, the importance of South-South cooperation for development is strongly reflected in the Strategic Plan, which will hopefully be endorsed by our Executive Board this week.

It establishes South-South and triangular cooperation as core ways of working for UNDP, based on the South South guiding principles, and, as has been reiterated many times, without substituting other forms of cooperation or partnership options. The SP recognizes that South-South cooperation takes many different forms and reaffirms our commitment in being a loyal partner in facilitating such relationships. In this regard, we see our strategic roles as being:

•    A convener for deepened engagement and voices of the South in global and regional policy dialogues, including the post-2015 processes;

•    A knowledge broker to help identify, analyse and share scalable Southern solutions for sustainable human development and poverty eradication;

•    A supporter for capacity development to enhance the capacity of developing countries better manage and undertake South-South and triangular cooperation; and

•    A facilitator for start-up and scaling-up of South-South exchanges of development solutions.

We are also changing our project modalities to facilitate UNDP’s support to cooperation between countries and institutions in the global south, or between the global south and the global north.

Critical to UNDP’s promotion and support of South-South cooperation is the work of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, led by Mr. Yiping Zhou, of which UNDP is a proud host. I congratulate the Office for organizing this event and for its tireless efforts in championing the causes of the global South and for fostering innovative partnerships like the IBSA fund that will be the subject of the next session.

Allow me to conclude by emphasising that with the 2015 target date for the MDGs fast approaching, accelerated efforts are needed, and South-South cooperation has an important role to play.

On this UN Day for South-South Cooperation, let us therefore recommit to help realizing the full potential of South-South and triangular cooperation for development. I strongly believe that together we can help bring about major breakthroughs in development, and you can be assured that UNDP is committed to do its part.

Now, before I finish, I would like to end by extending UNDP’s, and my personal, gratitude to Ambassador John W. Ashe as  the President of the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation and to acknowledge his skilful and dedicated stewardship of the Committee. I am certain in your upcoming role as the President of the General Assembly, you will remain dedicated to the promotion of South-South cooperation and we look forward to continue our fruitful cooperation.

Thank you.

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