Message of UNDP Country Director Maurice Dewulf

29 May 2014

Building an Inclusive Post-2015 Development Agenda: Strengthening South-South Cooperation, Manila, Philippines

Thank you, on behalf of UNDP, for inviting me to speak at this important meeting on Strengthening South-South Cooperation. 

As we all know, the past decade has witnessed the fast rise of the Global South and the growing prominence of South-South co-operation for development. 

Developing and emerging economies recorded average growth, significantly greater than that of economies in the North. South-South flows of finance, technology, and trade have also grown significantly. 

These trends clearly contributed to progress on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many countries. Undoubtedly that dynamism of the South will continue to be reflected in strong development outcomes. 

UNDP's 2013 Global Human Development Report, "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World", documented the transformation of a number of developing countries into dynamic economies,  with rising human development and with growing geopolitical influence. 

Acknowledging the fast changing global context,  the Report focused on the rise of the global South, not only in terms of geopolitics and economic power, but also as a source of innovation, of knowledge, and of solutions to development challenges. 

Strategies, policies, skills, and expertise are being exchanged through North-South, South-South, and triangular co-operation. South-South co-operation, understood as a mutually beneficial partnership based on solidarity, equality, and shared development experiences, is growing fast. 

Undoubtedly, since  innovations and experiences from the South are often seen as the most relevant to the challenges faced by other developing countries. 

Multilateral organisations are also increasingly including South-South co-operation within their strategies, policies, programmes, and projects, giving priority to documenting and disseminating best practices in development across the South. 

UNDP fully recognizes the importance of South-South co-operation for development. Facilitating South-South exchanges of experience and knowledge is indeed central to what UNDP does. Through our universal presence, we have the capacity to link countries and communities to knowledge, best practice, and lessons learned. 

Over the course of the past years we have signed new partnership agreements with a number of emerging economies in the South, which do indeed   seek to support the sharing of knowledge and innovation across the South. 

Our policy centres also play an important role in this work, and this links well to the debates on the post-2015 Development Agenda being discussed in your meeting.  

For some years now through the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in Brasilia (a partnership with the Government of Brazil), we have facilitated efforts to make Latin American experiences of cash transfers and social protection known to other regions. 

We have also established the Seoul Policy Center for Global Development Partnerships; participated in the establishment of the International Poverty Reduction Centre in Beijing; and, recently, with the support of the Government of Turkey, established the International Center for Private Sector in Development in Istanbul. 

UNDP is pleased to host the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.  

In its role as a UN system-wide facilitator and coordinator of South-South co-operation, the Special Unit continues to facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practices in South-South co-operation among UN agencies. It works in synergy with UNDP’s broader knowledge management and co-ordination roles across the UN development system at the country level. 

Coming now to the global development agenda, we all agree that the framework provided by the Millennium Development Goals has been particularly useful because it has had specific, time-bound targets;  is easily communicated; and has engaged a wide range of stakeholders to achieve shared development objectives.  As discussions are held on the post-2015 development agenda, it will be important to build on these characteristics of the MDGs which have made them successful. 

There is broad agreement that this new global agenda will be a sustainable development one with poverty eradication at its core. 

The new agenda should thus build on the successes of and lessons learned from the MDGs, while also reflecting the fast changing development landscape. This also means appreciating the growing role of the Global South in development co-operation, and supporting the exchange of knowledge and innovative development solutions across countries, including through South-South experience exchange. 

But there would be no post-2015 development agenda without resources. Resources will need to be mobilized in support of this new agenda.  A new narrative around international co-operation is needed to match the changing development landscape. 

High quality, catalytic, and predictable Official Development Assistance (ODA) will remain important for poverty eradication, especially in Least Developed Countries, and traditional donors should keep the commitments they have made on ODA. 

Financing needs for development, however, are vast, and will need to be met through a mix of public and private finance and other means, including carbon market mechanisms. 

Whereas the MDGs were largely a North-South, ODA-supported agenda, the SDGs will be a universal agenda for which diverse sources of financing are even more important. 

In this context, South-South and triangular co-operation, which are not a substitute for ODA but an important complement to it, can also offer new opportunities. 

A number of emerging economies are already putting in place structures for new development co-operation agencies: these include the Mexican Agency for International Development Co-operation and the South African Development Partnership Agency. Others are already very active in, or are expanding, their existing South-South co-operation, not only in the form of grants and loans, but also through trade and investment. 

To implement an ambitious post-2015 agenda, broad partnerships will indeed be needed to meet the many development challenges which are both cross-cutting and cross-boundary in nature. Global agreement on where we want our world to be in fifteen years needs to be coupled with the necessary commitments to invest adequate resources and share knowledge, technologies, and experiences. 

I hope the discussions at this meeting will help clarify, not only what we will do (i.e. the post-2015 agenda) but also how to achieve "more effective, strengthened, and improved modes of development co-operation" in practice, and give insights into how the fast spread of South-South co-operation can contribute to transformational change for human and sustainable development, and thus for achieving that post-2105 agenda. 

I can assure you of UNDP’s commitment to be your partner in its process. 

Thank you.