Deputy Secretary-General, in Remarks for G20 Leaders’ Summit, Spotlights Vital Role of South-South, Triangular Cooperation to Address Developing Countries’ Challenges

December 13, 2022

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, via Zoom as prepared for delivery, at the Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders’ Summit Side Event:  Enabling Inclusive Development through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, today:

We meet here today at a time of great turmoil:  COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and its impact on rising food and energy costs, increasing climate carnage…

Yet, at a time when international solidarity is needed more than ever, 54 developing countries stand on the brink of debt distress, with dozens about to fall behind them.  This is why the leadership of Indonesia and active engagement of the G20 to strengthen international development cooperation is needed like never before.

Indonesia was the birth cradle of South-South cooperation at the Bandung Africa-Asia Conference of 1955.  Its leadership has been further demonstrated by systematic incorporation of South-South Cooperation in its national development plans, establishing Indonesia AID and an endowment fund, and today, bringing us to this discussion on the sidelines of the G20 Meeting.  We must look to South-South and triangular cooperation as a source of dynamism and innovation to support developing countries through immediate and long-term development challenges.

The Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) outcome document sets the path to advance South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development by responding and adapting to country contexts.  United Nations entities, supported by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, is implementing a systemwide strategy to advance this agenda in a more coherent manner.

Throughout the pandemic, we saw countries of the South supporting each other with vaccines, personal protective equipment as well as digital solutions for education during lockdowns.  We saw developing countries stepping up emergency support for victims of climate-related disasters.  Development banks in the Global South are also increasingly investing in climate financing.  And we saw how technology transfer and the building of digital infrastructure enhanced connectivity within developing regions.

Both financial and non-financial forms of South-South and triangular cooperation continue to evolve. But we cannot stop there.  We must fully transform South-South and triangular cooperation to meet the scale of today’s challenges.

In today’s multipolar world, with its constantly evolving cross-border challenges, it is high time that we listen to, and enable the creation and sharing of solutions, for those most affected — the Global South.  These are solutions that can accelerate just energy transitions; secure food systems; advance gender equality, and strengthen social protection measures.  We need enhanced data and predictability of South-South and triangular cooperation to enable all countries to navigate and benefit from them.

As the Secretary-General has consistently said, there can also be no solution to today’s multiple crises without resolving economic inequality.  He has called for a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stimulus Plan, which would entail a massive increase in public sector commitments, amounting to 2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), to support recovery efforts.  This requires better leveraging lending from development banks, including through increased long-term lending at low-interest rates — while aligning all investments with the SDGs.

Multinational, regional and national development banks of the South have an important role to play:  By enhancing access to targeted and tailored concessional finance and technical cooperation;  Driving innovative and sustainable financing at scale;  And reinforcing solidarity.  Organizations such as the Islamic Development Bank, among others, are creating robust and customized South-South and triangular cooperation engagement frameworks to unlock necessary financial and technical resources.

I urge you to recall that many of our world’s best solutions have come from the Global South.  A wider base of actors makes South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation more inclusive.  We must continue to tap all their expertise and knowledge to bring forward bold and creative solutions.  This is the only way to address the scale and scope of the challenges before us.

The United Nations will continue to champion South-South and triangular cooperation through its revitalized United Nations development system, to support country-led programmes and promote regional efforts that enhance knowledge sharing and collaboration.

At the global level, platforms such as the Development Cooperation Forum, the Global South-South Development Expo and the South-South Galaxy, spotlight opportunities for high-quality and high-impact South-South and triangular cooperation to best respond to country needs, especially for the most vulnerable.

As we call for strengthened South-South and triangular cooperation, we must also call for strengthened multilateralism.  The United Nations stands ready to support all countries in this endeavour, and to ensure those most affected by global crises are not left behind.

I thank you for your kind invitation and wish you fruitful discussions.

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