UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday praised the developing countries’ contribution to global growth as the UN prepared for a major conference on South-South cooperation.
In his opening remarks at the Global South-South Development Expo 2018, Guterres said the Southern countries have contributed to more than half of all global growth in recent years, reports Xinhua news agency.
The UN chief noted intra-South trade accounts for more than one quarter of all world trade, and that foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows from the South represent one third of global FDI flows.
Remittances from migrant workers to low- and middle-income countries reached $466 billion last year, helping to lift millions of families out of poverty, he said.
“Innovative forms of Southern-led knowledge-sharing, technology transfer, emergency response and livelihood recovery are transforming lives,” he said, adding that “new financial institutions have helped generate infrastructure and sustainable development projects around the world”.
At the same time, the secretary-general noted that development gains have been uneven and incomplete, citing over 700 million people still unable to meet basic needs.
To address the problem, Guterres said the expo is about “harnessing the power and potential of the South for the common good” and “sharing homegrown Southern solutions for sustainable development”.
Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, for her part, said: “We are at an optimal moment of South-South relationship that is shown by the economic development of Southern countries in the last few years.”
She pointed to the rapid trade growth of the developing world, saying South-South exports have grown at an annual rate of 13 percent between 1995 and 2016, which exceeded world exports by 8 percent.
“The value of South-South trade increased seven times. It went from $0.6 billion in 1995 to $4 billion in 2016,” she added.
Espinosa stressed that South-South cooperation is a model for world alliances to reach the sustainable development goals and that she is certain of the immense potential it offers.
Organised by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in collaboration with UN agencies and other partners, the annual expo runs till Friday at the UN Headquarters.
The expo is a step in the run-up to the Second High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation to be held in March 2019 in Argentina, where the Buenos Aires Plan of Action was adopted 40 years ago to declare that incorporating South-South cooperation is a mandate for the UN system.