Statement delivered by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Mr Luwellyn Landers, at the Second High Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation, on 20 March 2019

Mr President,

It is an honour and privilege for me to attend and participate in the deliberations of this important conference.

I wish to thank the government of Argentina for their generosity and excellent efforts in hosting us.

South Africa aligns itself with the statement that was delivered by the Group of 77 and China.

I would also like to congratulate you on your election as President of this important Conference. My delegation has every confidence in your ability to steer the Conference to a successful outcome.

Mr President,

Growing inequality within and among states threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are essential for the creation of a more inclusive world where no one is left behind. Despite the 2015 commitment by our Leaders on the means of implementation, the sad reality is that there remains serious funding gaps for the implementation of this agenda.

This Conference therefore presents a unique opportunity to review lessons learned from the past four decades and to contemplate the contribution of South-South Cooperation for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Mr President,

South-South Cooperation is one of the foundational pillars of South Africa’s foreign policy. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Continent and the global South therefore continue to occupy a central priority in our foreign policy.

On the role of South-South Cooperation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, we reiterate the importance and relevance of the Nairobi Outcomes Document which asserts that South-South Cooperation and its agenda must be set by countries of the South.  We will continue to resist any attempt to re-define the role, scope and principles of South-South Cooperation, hence our reiteration that North-South Cooperation is still the core for development cooperation. South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation are therefore complementary to North-South cooperation and not a substitute thereof.

Mr President,

The role of multilateral trade in growth and economic development of countries, particularly developing countries cannot be overemphasized. We recognize the significant contribution of regional trade and its ability to promote sustainable development. In this regard, African leaders have agreed to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area that would be one of the largest regional Free Trade Areas (FTAs) in the world.

The private sector continues to provide an enabling environment for job creation and economic development. Investment by South African private companies and state owned entities into Africa continues to grow and South Africa is ranked as one of the largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment into the continent.

In the context of the IBSA Fund, South Africa contributes meaningfully in supporting international efforts to eradicate poverty and end hunger in developing countries and the global South. In this connection, the IBSA Fund received global recognition through the United Nations South-South Partnership Award; the UN MDG Award and the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Champions Award. 

Other initiatives include our cooperation within BRICS and the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB). The Bank provides financing for 30 infrastructure and sustainable development projects. By the end of 2018, the Bank’s total lending volume, stood at approximately 8 billion US Dollars. 

Additionally, our African Renaissance Fund remains an important vehicle for providing support to the continent in peace building; conservation of cultural heritage; agriculture and food security, capacity building and other forms of technical cooperation, as well as humanitarian aid. On the latter, I wish to express our condolence to the Government and people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe that were negatively impacted by the recent cyclone Idai.  We pledge our support to the recovery efforts and call on member states of the United Nations to contribute to the humanitarian efforts in these countries.

Mr President,

To unlock the potential of developing countries, a robust global partnership with developed countries remains key. In recognizing the different levels of development, Official Development Assistance (ODA) remains vital for developing countries, especially in Africa and in the least developed countries (LDCs).

As we improve the industrial capacity and diversity of developing countries, the role of the private sector should therefore complement and not replace ODA as developing countries transition and expand their industrial base and transition from aid to trade.

This necessitates a commitment to promote a universal, transparent, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory, inclusive and equitable multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as its anchor, and the conclusion of the Doha Development Round.

Further, Mr President,

As one of the means of implementation, cooperation in science, technology and innovation requires comprehensive approaches that incorporate capacity building, access to knowledge and financial resources. Such cooperation should acknowledge local absorptive capacity, and must be executed in a manner that does not replace nor undermine efforts to strengthen endogenous technological and innovation potential.

Mr President,

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are a major challenge to development, especially in Africa. There is thus a need for the UN to establish at its Headquarters in New York a dedicated universal body to deal with the scourge of IFFs.  
In conclusion,

We thank the UN system for its efforts to enhance the role and impact of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

We believe however, that more can be done by strengthening the Office with financial, human and budgetary resources.

As we gather here forty years since the historic meeting on South–South Cooperation, we can rightfully be proud of our collective achievement. We dare however, not become complacent. The challenges ahead and the task confronting all of us are huge.

As we collectively reflect on this important task ahead, I am reminded by the words of our former President Thabo Mbeki, wherein he asked “whether, as a collective, our efforts are sufficient to accelerate the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits outcomes that are critical to the development of the lives of billions of people we represent.”

As we reflect on this question, we must agree that more can and should be done in the interest of our collective humanity.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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