Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for South-South Cooperation, observed on 12 September:
Recent decades have demonstrated the power of South-South cooperation to advance sustainable development. Across the developing world, more children attend school, child and maternal mortality rates have been cut by nearly half, and extreme poverty has been sharply reduced. Indeed, driven by a spirit of solidarity, respect for national sovereignty and equal partnership, South-South cooperation has offered concrete solutions to shared challenges, with many countries becoming sources of support and inspiration for innovative development approaches.
However, large pockets of poverty remain in the Global South, even in fast-growing economies. Progress is not fast enough to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and prosperity needs to be more broadly shared. In addition, the climate emergency threatens decades of progress. Indeed, countries in the Global South are already being severely affected by the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.
South-South cooperation can never be a substitute for official development assistance or replace the responsibilities of the Global North set out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement. But South-South cooperation continues to offer a promising pathway to accelerate progress that leaves no one behind. To leverage that potential, we must coordinate these efforts and establish sustainable strategies for scaling up impact.
On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda by drawing from the lessons of the South and sharing them widely through enhanced South-South and triangular cooperation.