Helen Clark: Speech at the IBSA Fund Side Event on the "IBSA Fund in Partnership with the United Nations: Symbol of South-South Co-operation and Solidarity"

19 May 2014

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Speech at the IBSA Fund Side Event on the
"IBSA Fund in Partnership with the United Nations:
Symbol of South-South Co-operation and Solidarity"
United Nations, New York

It is a pleasure to join you to celebrate the accomplishments of the India, Brazil, and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation - known as the IBSA Fund.

The IBSA Fund is unique in uniting three leaders in South-South Co-operation, thirteen partner countries, and a wide range of UN agencies, funds, and programmes. It is facilitated and supported by the UN Office for South-South Co-operation, hosted by UNDP.

To date, the IBSA Fund has provided US$ 27 million to 21 projects. India, Brazil, and South Africa have been determined to break new ground through this Fund by developing a distinctive approach to South-South Co-operation and the principles to guide it. The UN development system commends the commitment of India, Brazil, and South Africa and shares their goals for the Fund, and is pleased to offer practical support.

Indeed, the IBSA Fund illustrates the role the UN Development System can play as:
•    a  convener of Southern partners;
•    a technical secretariat supporting governing bodies to oversee South-South initiatives;
•    a fund manager facilitating quality assurance; and as
•    an implementer, capitalizing on the expertise of specialized agencies and the lessons learned through UN Country Teams.

UNDP is the implementing partner for 81 per cent of the Fund’s projects; alongside in many cases the FAO, WHO, UNFPA, and non-governmental organizations. As partners, we have listened, learned, and jointly developed the initiatives proposed by IBSA Fund and partner countries.

South-South Co-operation with results  

The Ambassadors of Guinea-Bissau, Palestine, Sierra Leone, and Viet Nam will shortly describe how their countries have partnered with the IBSA Fund. To give a sense of how the IBSA Fund and the UN development system work together within countries, I highlight just two examples of many.

Burundi employed the IBSA Fund to establish and sustain a centre for preventing, testing, and treating HIV. The Centre now provides more than 39,000 people annual consultations which enable them to live longer, healthier lives. UNDP, UNFPA, and the Society of Women against Aids in Africa work with the Government of Burundi to reinforce and deepen the impact of the IBSA Fund, and help to raise awareness and understanding of the life-saving preventive measures and treatment available.

The Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic has capitalized on the IBSA Fund to rehabilitate irrigation systems, thereby increasing the yields and incomes of more than 7,500 farmers. UNDP is helping to ensure that the initiative has lasting impact by working with the Government to enable rural households to diversify and supplement incomes through fish-farming and the sustainable management of watershed resources.

As these and many other examples illustrate, the IBSA Fund is improving the lives of peoples in lasting and tangible ways.

South-South principles and modalities
The Fund has the scope to do even more. This is, in no small part due to the sound principles and modalities laid out by its governing body, led and advised Southern leaders and thinkers.

Its hands-on Board of Directors comprised of the Permanent Representatives of India, Brazil, and South Africa who join us here today, have been pioneers in several respects. They have established an approach which makes full use of the UN development system to advance, reinforce, and implement South-South Co-operation, and which ensures that projects are initiated, owned, and led by partner developing countries.

I reiterate today the UN Development System’s strong commitment to supporting the IBSA Fund, and warmly congratulate all its partners on its success. We look forward to working with you to identify ways to scale up its impact further and to see experience of its innovative approaches widely shared.