[Excerpts from the following speech were delivered as opening remarks by the Secretary General at theHigh-level Plenary Opening Session on the theme 'Toward a long-term vision for South-South cooperation in support of the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda']
May I begin by acknowledging how deeply appreciative the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States is to join with you in strengthening alliances across the Global South and advancing the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals for all humanity.
I am particularly happy and honoured to be in this marvellous city of Macao. It is a most fitting and appropriate place for this event of great significance. An event that demonstrates the substantial strides being made to redesign the dominant paradigm of “development cooperation” and make it more people-centred, a dynamic space for human exchange and ingenuity by which health and prosperity can be shared for the benefit of humankind. That is truly symbolized by Macao.
The ACP as an inter-governmental, group of 79 member states of the ACP participates in an ongoing engagement across the Global South with partner countries, multilateral agencies, civil society organisations and private entities to confront poverty, inequality, global justice and human security.
This enables complementarity of both the achievements and weaknesses of 40 years of the ACP-European Union’s partnership through the joint programming and management of the European Development Fund (EDF) at national, regional and intra-ACP levels, thus providing a rich source of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
From this accumulation of human, organizational and financial capital, we believe the ACP-EU partnership and the Intra-ACP trade and development cooperation possess useful insights and principles, some of which include “good practices”. These can accelerate and place on a higher level endeavours of the Global South in the fight against poverty.
South-South and triangular cooperation as a supplementary cooperation instrument, in our view, opens up development opportunities, both in sectors and across borders. For this reason, in reflections on its future re-positioning, the ACP Group has placed primary emphasis on strengthening sustainable development activities and poverty eradication on the basis of its intra-ACP development policy. In collaboration with the European Union, its major development partner, the Group intends to extend and deepen its relations to other countries and organizations globally, as we craft a programme of strategic policy domains in which “building sustainable, resilient and creative economies” is a centerpiece.
A few examples of recent activities by the ACP Group can illustrate how we can beserve as a facilitator and hub of S-S & Triangular Cooperation. Useful knowledge has been acquired from development programmes, as for example, with UN Habitat on Renewal of Urban slums; with ILO on Prevention of Child Labour and combating fake medicines with WHO.
Also stakeholders’ debates and policy reviews have been provided by Symposia held in collaboration with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) and Commonwealth Secretariat in 2011 and 2013.
These partnerships constitute a tangible reality by creating new development cooperation spaces built on « policy ownership » and principles of “subsidiarity and complementarity". By this means, the scale of operations that are best accomplished at a lower level, regional or national, is not addressed by an “intra-ACP” modality.
Moreover, complementarity allows for systemic factors or constraints that affect an area such as “food and nutrition security” or “technology and innovation capacity” to be addressed in a more holistic manner and can generate a cumulative impact.
A symposium in 2014 provided an information base for improving South-South and Triangular Cooperation policy formulation (SS & TrC) by a study conducted with assistance of the German Development Cooperation Agency (BMZ) for a mapping exercise on 128 cases.. The studyis identified areas in which the ACP Group will be a knowledge hub and platform for research and exchanges as an interface between beneficiaries and providers of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
As a facilitator the ACP’s role shall be to:1) identify prospective benefactors, the pivotal countries and beneficiaries, and 2) harmonize supply and demand by means of a brokerage mechanism.
Given the focus of our activities during this meeting and in view of the urgent and tremendous need to address urban poverty and its complex implications, the tangible contribution some Euro 10 mn to UN Habitat from the Intra-ACP resources of the EDF deserves to be recalled.
Convened by UN Habitat and hosted by the Government of Rwanda, The Second International Tripartite Conference on 'Sustainable Urbanization as Response to Urban Poverty Eradication' in 2013 assessed progress on Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, aimed at improving the lives of slum dwellers and formulated the inclusion of sustainable urbanization in the post-2015 development agenda.
The lessons from the 34 ACP countries participating in the Slum Upgrading Programme can enable countries to revise their national and city strategies and design participatory policies to empower slum dwellers to improve their communities.
The ACP Group is now considering to organise jointly with FAO, OIF and COMSEC a 3rd Symposium on the theme: women’s empowerment and youth Entrepreneurship”, in the near future.
We will examine lessons from SS & TrC’s contribution and its added value to development in food and nutrition programmes of the 10th EDF or from additional sources such as the Pro Savana Project of Mozambique, Brazil and JICA as well as enhancing capacity building by tele-medicine courses undertaken by the World Health Summit.
The Symposium will design a medium-term action plan and Road map for Intra-ACP activities of the 11th EDF and in the post-2015 Development Agenda.
In conclusion, the ACP Group looks forward to deepening partnerships that generates new knowledge and carve out alternative and complementary means of implementing those policy domains or sectors identified as “priorities” by developing countries.
Thank you very much.
Dr. Patrick I. Gomes
ACP Secretary General