Secretary General; Excellencies; Distinguished Guests and Representatives; Ladies and Gentlemen,

In my capacity as Chair of the ACP Committee on Development Finance Cooperation, and on behalf of the members of the Sub-Committee, I wish to warmly welcome you all to the 2nd ACP Symposium on South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

This Symposium is being held at a time marked by demographic shifts and a predictable increase in the global population in the years to come, from about 7 billion today to 9.3 billion by 2050, nearly all of which is forecasted to take place in the developing South. These trends will pose considerable challenges for poverty reduction across all segments of the population, and create unprecedented demand for and important pressures on natural and financial resources, including food, water and energy.

At the same time, most western countries, which include the ACP’s traditional partners in Europe, are themselves hurting, struggling with recession, unemployment and austerity. This has led to a lack of predictability with regard to development assistance, a shift in emphasis, in some instances, from grant to loan modalities and a general focus on the most pressing and persistent of humanitarian conflicts and crises. The ACP must take ownership of its future and actively pursue strategic and diversified partnerships that will build upon, explore and enrich the complementarities and synergies between traditional North-South cooperation, South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation.

The EU itself is supportive of this approach. In the conclusions dated 17th March 2014 of the European Council on the EU common position for the First High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, to be held next month in Mexico, the EU States acknowledged that “Southern providers of development cooperation have unique experiences and knowledge of their own transition and development processes to share, as well as increasingly significant financial contributions.”

The EU States acknowledged that “triangular cooperation has the potential to deliver mutual benefits through innovative partnerships when used in the appropriate circumstances, drawing on the comparative advantages of all partners”.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the international level, we are all aware that the global context is evolving at an accelerated rate.

In fact, the globalisation process has created a new context, not only through economic and trade globalisation which have changed the structure of interdependencies, but also through the emergence of new actors in development cooperation.

To take advantage of the new opportunities being offered, we need to forge and maintain relationships based on objective solidarity and to put more deliberate and calculated development policies in place to avoid a trend towards marginalisation of the ACP Group.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a concrete outcome of this Symposium, we must continue the process of identifying the factors which could better promote the added value of the ACP Group on the international stage, by developing an effective capacity to adapt to the present changes, particularly with regard to South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

To this end, we must first acknowledge the significant development cooperation gains that the ACP Group has derived from the ACP-EU Partnership and assess its role, added value and capacities as they relate to its positioning on the international scene, which is becoming increasingly asymmetric.

With the assistance of EU financing and intra-ACP programme frameworks, we have long been engaging in South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the areas of trade, culture and higher education, to name a few. As we prepare for the ACP Summit later this year and further deliberate on our future beyond 2020, we must harness this already rich experience to facilitate SSC and TrC according to our own distinctive set of rules and priorities.

I trust that this Symposium will provide a useful platform for open and constructive debate on this central question and will promote the sharing of our diverse experiences.

When reviewing the conclusions of the 1st Symposium, I noted that it had focused specifically on three major objectives, namely:

  • building awareness of the critical issues surrounding international development assistance from the point of view of traditional and emerging donors;

  • exploring the possibilities for effective participation by the ACP Group in South-South Cooperation programmes; and

  • outlining a process that would allow the ACP Group to help establish deep-rooted partnerships in the context of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

In the conclusions, guidelines were given for strengthening South-South Cooperation with ACP countries as it undoubtedly provides opportunities for emerging countries. Furthermore, despite the progress of South-South Cooperation, traditional donors remain and have, for a long time, been the principal aid-providers to ACP countries and their main trading partners.

As a result, South-South Cooperation should be viewed, not as a substitute for cooperation with traditional partners of the North, but as a complementary process which could be combined with the more conventional cooperation and evolve into Triangular Cooperation that would be beneficial to all concerned.

I would like to remind you of the recommendations made by the ACP National and Regional Authorising Officers during their 9th meeting held in Brussels on 13 and 14 April 2011. These were:

I. encouraging and defining intra-ACP cooperation policies;

II. building the capacities of ACP States and their institutions and through peer to peer learning and the sharing of knowledge and experiences;

III. ensuring visibility and South-South cooperation;

IV. developing autonomous intra-ACP strategies and programmes;

V. building the capacities of regional institutions;

VI. drawing up a list of best practices and experiences;

VII. creating a programme for South-South cooperation and define a method for data collection;

VIII. ensuring follow-up to the activities of the United Nations Office on South-South cooperation.

Today’s agenda items will allow you, based on the useful working paper provided, to share the experiences of your respective countries, and also to be informed of the policies and experiences of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Commission.

We will be provided with practical examples that will instruct and guide us to take concrete action to promote South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wanted to share these preliminary ideas with you, in the hope of contributing positively to your deliberations. You should know that the Committee of Ambassadors is keenly awaiting the outcome of this Symposium, as it will enable the Ambassadors to continue its reflection on this issue and safeguard the interests of the ACP Group.

I thank you.

H.E Mrs Margaret Allison King-Rousseau
Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago
Chair of the Sub-Committee on Development Finance Cooperation

25 March 2015