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Last updated: 3rd April 2019

Substantive Remarks by H.E. Dr. A K Abdul Momen, MP Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh as the Co-Chair of the 1stInteractive Panel Discussion at BAPA+40 Conference on “Comparative advantages and opportunities of South‐South Cooperation and sharing of experiences, best practices and success stories” Room D Buenos Aires Convention Centre 21 March 2019

South-South Cooperation reflects the pursuit of the developing countries to find solutions to their common development challenges. Forty years after the adoption of the strategic Buenos Aires Plan of Action for promoting Southern cooperation, the international system is undergoing a significant structural transformation. Certain comparative advantages drive the South to cooperate.

First and perhaps most significantly, South-South Cooperation benefits countries by instilling in them a sense of ownership of the activities and projects undertaken.

A second major advantage of South-South cooperation is participants' willingness to share experiences and best practices with neighbours and other countries within the South.

Third, SSC can also be advantageous where developing countries share a common problem. This applies regardless of the relationship between the countries in question.

Fourth, in some areas, notably that of technical assistance, SSC cooperation is unquestionably cost-effective. Even where a developing country has sought technical assistance under a triangular cooperation arrangement, with a third party footing the bill, the costs are still reasonable.

Fifth, SSC has worked particularly well in the area of trade.Proximity and regional integrations open upmore opportunities for business and reduce the cost of doing business. Along with these, elimination of trade barriers in solidarity among the South, investing in infrastructure, providing duty free quota free market access to the LDCs’ products would enhance trade among the developing countries. Consumers worldwide are already benefiting, and will do so increasingly, from the low-cost, high-quality products and services now on offer from the South. The fact that more and more developing countries are becoming competitive participants in global production chains and labor markets is likely to have a net job creating impact in the South.

Sixth, many southern countries are having common vulnerabilities caused by climate change. Several developing countries have gathered unique knowledge and experiences by adopting sustainable, low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development pathways. Collaboration among the Global South will contribute to enhance the capacity of the most vulnerable developing countries to further their climate actions. Indeed, the Southern solutions will benefit these countries significantly to address both climate change and multiple other development challenges.

We need to find better mechanisms to translate the comparative advantages into opportunities to eradicate poverty. There are many areas, such as food security, disaster management, agriculture, trade etc.where SSC will flourish further. For example, Bangladesh is now using ICT to improve its public service delivery. It has also developed many varieties of salinity resistant rice. We are also using ICT for better public service delivery as well as early warning and building resilience against disasters.

However, there is a need for inter-regional and global frameworks to gather and incentivize best practices in South-South Cooperation.Yesterday in the General Debate, I had proposed to set up a forum of finance, foreign or development ministers of the South which would provide a platform to innovate, share and utilize their respective initiatives and best practices. Bangladesh would also set up a South-South Knowledge and Innovation Centre.

I would also stress upon on the efforts of bilateral donors, international financial institutions and UN organizations to support South-South Cooperation in a coordinated manner to avoid overlaps.

Excellencies,

 

Thepresentations of the distinguished Panelists and the ensuing discussions willprovide an opportunity to explore the following questions:

 

  • In what ways can developing countries enhance the conceptual framework of South-South cooperation, bringing to bear South-South cooperation’s plurality of approaches, as well as the experiences of developing countries and other South-South cooperation actors?
  • What are the new frontiers of collaboration among developing countries?
  • How can developing countries continue to exchange policy experiences in a more systematic way as they continue to make significant advances in the economic and social domain?

 

We look forward to an engaging discussion and constructive recommendations for stronger South-South and triangular cooperation.


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