Statement to the High Level Committee on South-South Cooperation
UNITED NATIONS 17TH SESSION OF THE HIGH LEVEL COMMITTEE ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION
Statement by H.E. Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of Australia to the United Nations on behalf of Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Madam Vice President
I am honoured today to deliver this statement on behalf of Canada, New Zealand
and my own country, Australia.
I should start by welcoming the new President, Ambassador Ashe, and the new
bureau of the High Level Committee, and by expressing our thanks to the Permanent
Representative of Kenya and the members of the outgoing bureau for their commitment
to advance South-South Cooperation within the United Nations system.
I would also like to convey our appreciation to the President of the General
Assembly, President Al-Nassir and Administrator Helen Clark for their comments
this morning which affirmed the increasing importance of South-South and triangular
South-South is not a new modality in development cooperation, of course. But
today, more than thirty years on from the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, we have
new and expanding opportunities to harness the fantastic potential that developing
countries have to offer. Countries of the South, as we all know, have valuable
experiences, relevant skills and a distinctively unique perspective that can
play a real part in meeting today's development challenges and priorities.
First and foremost, we obviously need a UN system that can play a key role
in supporting and promoting cooperation among developing countries, while recognising,
as the starting point, that every country has the primary responsibility for
its own development. More needs to be done to ensure South-South and triangular
cooperation are adequately mainstreamed in the core work of the UN, including
through improving system-wide institutional arrangements and enhancing coherence
and coordination among and within agencies. The upcoming General Assembly resolution
on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review provides us with a necessary
opportunity to strengthen the UN's work in this area.
The UN has a fundamental role in supporting and facilitating South-South and
triangular cooperation in a range of areas, including food security, humanitarian
assistance and post-conflict settings. In a partnership with the World Food
Programme, for example, Australia funds the transportation, storage and handling
of food items donated by the Government of Brazil in Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras,
El Salvador and Nicaragua. CANZ members are very pleased to be supporting the
UN civilian capacity team to facilitate a greater exchange of expertise and
skills between developing countries with their own experience in transition,
including through the development of a web portal.
I would also highlight the role the UN can play in fostering South-South and
triangular cooperation through regional mechanisms and organisations. As members
of the Pacific Island Forum, Australia and the current chair, New Zealand, have
promoted a process of peer reviews and mutual learning between developing countries
in the region. The peer review process contributes to reinforcing country leadership
in the establishment of national priorities, and enhances the capacity of countries
to guide the use of development resources. We call on the UN to strengthen its
engagement at a regional level, including the Regional Commissions, to foster
South-South learning and expertise.
To ensure greater development effectiveness, CANZ encourages South-South cooperation
that is initiated and driven by the Least Developed Countries and which is focused
on their priorities as outlined in the Istanbul Programme of Action. We also
feel that South-South exchange can make a real difference in ensuring a smooth
transition of those countries graduating from the LDC category, itself such
an important element in the Istanbul Program.
Likewise, South-South and triangular cooperation should focus on initiatives
that facilitate the exchange of successful strategies, practices and experiences,
and should increasingly include accountability and information frameworks in
order to track progress on delivering on commitments and achievements of results.
These frameworks are critical to distill lessons learned that can in turn help
improve future cooperation.
There is a need for better understanding of the potential and impact of South
South cooperation. The generation of more data and knowledge on successful strategies
could further guide development cooperation and enable South-South cooperation
to become an even more powerful factor in development.
Within the G20 Development Working Group, Australia and Canada are supporting
the establishment of a knowledge sharing platform to support South-South exchanges
and learning and capacity development on social protection. The platform will
aim in particular to draw on the experiences of middle income countries for
the benefit of lower income and least developed countries.
Madam Vice President
It's important to remember that it's not just the countries of
the South which have a vital role to play in this area. South-South cooperation
will benefit greatly from the involvement of all members of society such as
the private sector, civil society and academia. Likewise, traditional partners
like our own countries have to embrace this form of development, in the form
of triangular arrangements, to help foster opportunities for knowledge and skills
transfer for the South. This is becoming an increasing focus of all three of
our bilateral aid programs.
In Afghanistan, Australia is working together with Malaysia on a professional
development training program for teachers, which has resulted in the training
of 90 Afghan Master Teacher Trainers, and with a further 90 to be trained by
the end of 2013. The success of this program is due to the cultural relevance
of the training activities provided by Malaysia and the appropriate nature of
their education system as a model for Afghanistan. Likewise, we have drawn on
Indonesia's strong experience with community empowerment to strengthen
service delivery in Afghanistan.
In Haiti, Canada and Argentina are jointly supporting a project that has increased
food security for 13,800 families through small-scale production through a project
called "Pro Huerta" which is based on a successful Argentinian approach.
Canada's efforts in this initiative have helped strengthen the relationship
between the governments of Haiti and Argentina, and encouraged Haitian authorities
to integrate the model in their own national development plans. Similarly, in
Haiti, Australia is working with Cuba in the rehabilitation of the hospital
network, and with Brazil in training people in water management. And we are
developing cooperation with the very impressive Cuban medical assistance in
One final example from the Mekong region, in South-East Asia, where New Zealand
has long been working with the Thai Government to establish and support the
Mekong Institute to provide training to government officials from six Mekong
sub-region countries. Following the success of this model, New Zealand and Thailand
are looking for further opportunities for partnership in the region as well
as in the Pacific.
In closing, Madam Vice President, may I point once again to the opportunity ahead of us in the form of this year's QCPR process and beyond. We must seize on the enormous potential that South-South cooperation offers us as we accelerate efforts to achieve the MDGs – and we must not lose sight of the need to achieve the MDGs – and in the context of sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda. To do this, we need the UN system to provide greater coordination and coherence to support these efforts and to ensure they are as effective as possible. CANZ countries are certainly committed to supporting this.